Ranjani Shettar’s installation ‘Touch Me Not’ conjures up various ideas simultaneously: paddy fields sweeping in the winds, an invasion of swarming ants, fungus sprouting incessantly, joysticks in various states of being maneuvered, and so on. In a large, bare white room with nothing else but the walls, two of them bear these multitudinous globules. This installation consists of over 12,500 lacquer-coated wooden bulbs on stainless steel sticks poked into the walls in various degrees of depth and in various angles.
This and other installations and woodcut prints are part of Ranjani Shettar’s recent show titled ‘Epiphanies’ being held in New Delhi.
Shettar’s work is known for mimicking the organic patterns of growth, movement and decay. Hardly is this more evident than in ‘Touch Me Not,’ where the oblique units emphasize motion and kinesis and the spatial arrangement of these sticks and beads somehow gives a panoramic eye view. The quirkily titled installation ‘Me, no, not me, buy me, eat me, wear me, have me, no, not me’ on the other hands lacks the instant impact of ‘Touch Me Not’. It consists of five metal structures built up from strips of scrap cut out of old car bodies welded together and smeared with metal paste. The artist has attempted to provide an allegory for consumption and commodification in an industrialized world through the stark and desolate beauty of junk.
The woodcut prints are nowhere as loud or striking as the installations. A calm and comfortable minimalism seems to pervade the prints, as seen in the rather muted colours and the sparseness of the objects on the canvas. Again, what is unmistakable is an eye for capturing the patterns and minor outstanding details of natural objects such as logs of wood.
(Ranjani Shettar’s installations are estimated at approximately Rs1 crore and the woodcut prints are estimated at Rs5-8 lakhs. At Talwar Gallery, New Delhi, till 31 January, 2008 )