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“Suspended from the ceiling, the work seems to defy gravity; it casts a series of entrancing shadows, which from a distance evoke the sense of having stumbled on a surreal, hidden oasis. Yet the emphatically material quality of the work disrupts the lyrical illusion of undisturbed, dreamlike tranquility and perfection, quietly suggesting that other kinds of transformations are afoot.”

Shanay Jhaveri

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Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Usually composed of numerous nonrepresentational forms, Ranjani Shettar's immersive environments are inspired by her observations of the now-threatened natural environs of her native India. Shettar combines natural and industrial materials such as beeswax, wood, organic dyes, vegetable pastes, lacquer, steel, and cloth in her large-scale installations.  Each component is individually finished by the artist and has a deliberately roughhewn quality. The imperfect and irregular patinas of these materials draw attention to the artisanal nature of her practice, while also acknowledging the components' lived realities. Although Shettar's abstract sculptures are resonant of more familiar traditions of Western modernist and minimalist sculpture, they are distinctive due to the careful interplay of technique and materials, mostly drawn from local sources.

In Seven ponds and a few raindrops, Shettar has molded pieces of stainless steel into a series of sensual, curved, amoebic, shape-shifting elements that have been covered in muslin.  Her technique of staining the cloth with a natural paste of tamarind is derived from a craft tradition she observed in the small village of Kinnala.  Suspended from the ceiling, the work seems to defy gravity; it casts a series of entrancing shadows, which from a distance evoke the sense of having stumbled on a surreal, hidden oasis.  Yet the emphatically material quality of the work disrupts this lyrical illusion of undisturbed, dreamlike tranquility and perfection, quietly suggesting that other kinds of transformations are afoot. 

Exhibition Views

Exhibition Views Thumbnails

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Stainless steel, dyed muslin, tamarind

229″ x 223″ x 96″

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Stainless steel, dyed muslin, tamarind

229″ x 223″ x 96″

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Seven ponds and a few raindrops, 2017

Alwar Balasubramaniam and Ranjani Shettar
Alwar Balasubramaniam and Ranjani Shettar
Seeing Differently: The Phillips Collects for a New Century March 6 - September 12, 2021

The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, celebrates its centennial with Seeing Differently. The exhibition marks the first major celebration of the museum’s permanent collection in over 10 years and includes works by Paul Klee, Mondrian, Rothko, Pollock, Picasso, de Kooning, Calder, Jacob Lawrence and Ranjani Shettar amongst others...

The New York Times Style Magazine
The New York Times Style Magazine
The South Asian Artists Making Their Mark on the Western Scene December 2018

In Ranjani Shettar’s installation “Seven Ponds and a Few Raindrops,” looping, delicate steel forms covered in tamarind-stained muslin sway ominously in midair, evocative of parched flora or exoskeletons

Elle
Elle
Bengaluru-based artist Ranjani Shettar on her solo exhibition at the Met this year December 10, 2018

Which female artist doesn’t dream of a solo at one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, New York?

Solo Exhibition of the Year: Ranjani Shettar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Won for Seven Ponds and a Few Raindrops, where her shape-shifting stainless steel elements covered in tamarind-stained muslin speak evocatively of the threatened natural environment of rural India, showing both her ethical and aesthetic commitment to the natural universe.

Sculpture Magazine
Sculpture Magazine
New York: Ranjani Shettar October 2018

Though Ranjani Shettar, who turned 40 last year, is a mid-career artist (at least by Western standards), her work remains youthfully lyrical and close to nature in ways that evade her closest American counterpart Sarah Sze, whose work is busier and more mechanical.

The Hindu
The Hindu
Ranjani Shettar: New York, New York September 29, 2018

International museums and galleries are organising retrospectives of Indian artists and acquiring their works for permanent collections. 

Artforum
Artforum
Ranjani Shettar September 2018

The Indian Artist Ranjani Shettar first exhibited in the United States in 2003, just three years after getting her MFA in Bangalore, and has shown here steadily ever since.

The Indian Express
The Indian Express
Bringing Nature Home: Artist Ranjani Shettar on Her Love for Installations August 5, 2018

Artist Ranjani Shettar, 41, on her ongoing exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, her love for installations and why she takes inspiration from nature and tradition

The MET Collection Insights
The MET Collection Insights
Ranjani Shettar and the Poetics of Materials June 19, 2018

The title of Ranjani Shettar's Seven ponds and a few raindrops (2017)—which joined The Met collection as a gift from the Tia Collection, and is on view through August 12—compels audiences to apprehend the sculpture's abstract elements as constitutive of a literal landscape of seven ponds. 

Mint
Mint
How South Asian Art is Speaking to the World June 2, 2018

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has two big shows this season that attempt to caution us against a dystopian future. 

Arts Illustrated
Arts Illustrated
Ranjani Shettar: Seven ponds and a few raindrops June - July 2018

Ranjani Shettar’s sculptures are often described as large. But although many of them stretch across a vast expanse, they tend mostly to float in, rather than occupy space. 

The Hindu
The Hindu
Wood bends in Ranjani Shettar's Hands May 31, 2018

Birds in flight and their chirping, trees with foliage, meandering rivers... the quietude of Ranjani’s work communicates to the onlooker, who experiences a sense of well being and happiness.

Architectural Digest
Architectural Digest
Ranjani Shettar: 'Seven ponds and a few raindrops' at The Met, New York April 10, 2018

The Karnataka-based artist's exhibitions at The Met and the Talwar Gallery, in New York, affirms her ethical and aesthetic commitment to the natural world

Art Asia Pacific
Art Asia Pacific
Seven Ponds and a Few Raindrops April 2018

The local became global with the arrival of Indian artist Ranjani Shettar’s installation Seven Ponds and a Few Raindrops (2017) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which brought a slice of her native country to one of the most international cities in America.

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