b. 1980, India
Manish Nai’s engagement with modernist abstraction began in college, coinciding with a moment when abstraction had fallen out of favour in India. Using material that was both modest and quintessentially Indian, such as jute and newspaper, Nai’s pieces were and are studies in tedious complexities that, once completed, are presented as a tightly organized unit.
The media that Nai uses are usually cheap and ubiquitous, alluding to both hierarchies of artistic media and Indian social structures. Jute is a strong vegetable fiber often woven into a durable fabric similar to burlap that was once used as clothing material for the poor, and is now used more commonly in building construction. Nai hails from a family of jute traders; his intimate understanding of the material comes equally from a cultural and familial relationship to it. His use of newspaper examines the tremendous diversity and contention within Indian society: there are almost 100 newspaper in 19 different languages distributed daily in India. Nai soaks these, stripping them of their words, and compresses them in wooden molds, elevating these items from disposable to the rarified.
Born 1980 in Gujarat, India, Manish Nai attained a Diploma in Drawing and Painting from the L.S. Raheja School of Art in Mumbai. He has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai; Galerie Karsten Greve, Cologne; and Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Berlin, amongst others. In August 2014 a solo exhibition of his work will be presented at Galerie Karsten Greve in St Moritz. Nai’s work has been shown in numerous group shows including Bright Noise curated by Girish Shahane at the Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai (2014); The Indian Parallax or the Doubling of Happiness curated by Shaheen Merali at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata (2012); news – a two-person show with Eberhard Havekost at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2012); and Mumbai City Pavilion at the ninth Shanghai Biennale, curated by Diana Campbell and Susan Hapgood (2012). Manish Nai lives and works in Mumbai.