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Ocula Magazine

Ranjani Shettar: Cloud songs on the horizon
Barbican Centre, Silk Street
10 September 2023–March 2024

Expect: sculptures made of teakwood and muslin fabric harmonising with palms, ferns, blossoms, and hanging vines inside the mezzanine greenhouse of a Brutalist building.


Suspended across the Barbican's Conservatory, which houses over 1000 plant species in the middle of London, Ranjani Shettar's site-specific commission comprises an installation of five sculptures handmade in the artist's studio in rural Karnataka, India.

Shettar's practice is concerned with the expression of natural adaptations through time, often articulated as abstract, organic forms that combine natural and industrial materials such as beeswax, wood, organic dyes, vegetal pastes, lacquer, steel, and fabric.

The artist works intuitively, informed by a close study of nature and methods in traditional Indian crafts. From this process emerges delicate, abstract forms made of teakwood pillars and bound with handwoven muslin, mirroring the natural adaptations of species within human habitats.

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