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Published on Nov 9, 2013
Yamini Nayar an axe for a wing-bone
Thomas Erben Gallery 526 West 26th Street 4th Floor New York, NY 10001
November 7th - December 21st Opening: November 7th 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM
It is our great pleasure to announce an axe for a wing-bone, Yamini Nayar's second solo exhibition with Thomas Erben Gallery. This new body of work continues Nayar's process-oriented practice, further highlighting her method of construction and destruction, where the finally selected photographic recording might not be an end result but chosen from a state "in between." This is particularly evident in a series of four black-and-white small-scale studies, different iterations of a makeshift room where common elements take on roles that change from image to image. The timeline is unclear, giving a sense of parallel realities, and the improbable constructions disrupt any sense of spatial logic as they veer towards abstraction.
Process and temporality have always been essential to Nayar's work: tabletop and wall-built models are fashioned from raw industrial materials and studio debris, and continuously reworked while being documented by the camera. The works in an axe for a wing-bone seem even more impermanent than earlier examples, unhinging meaning/logic in a classic surrealist clash of visual impulses, where multiple perspectives are contained within the same image. Constructions that previously appeared fractured but stable have been infused with a heightened precariousness, the delicate energy of a place whose very structure is founded on the constant shift of time and movement. There is a presence of body in these spaces, hands building and tearing apart, the physical and personal merging with the space itself as each small event leaves its mark.
One point of departure for Nayar is her research into modernist architecture -- along with the 1920-30s design of constructivists and the Bauhaus movement -- and its monumentality echoes through the work: ambitious structures supported by fragile, skeletal underpinnings. There is a sense of mimicry here, a desire to understand and rework the tectonics of modernism, as if someone from a distant future were trying to make sense of a fragmented architectural past, improvising with any objects at hand. This tension between the monumental and the unstable is mirrored in other, similar dichotomies, as solid surfaces are contrasted with the transparency of glass, and familiar materials like wood and plaster intersect insubstantial fields of vague and gauzy matter. Nayar's new interiors are no less expansive than before, but she seems to increasingly strive towards the vertical, which adds a new dimension of overreaching impermanence. Similarly, a flattening of space has taken place, a shortening of perspective influenced by other ways of rendering depth, such as non-Western pictorial traditions where images are constructed according to a different logic.