The ordinary becomes extraordinary and that’s where the surrealism begins to display its artistic abundance. Nandita Jain has mastered the ways of evoking brilliance out of the seemingly mundane objects and showcasing them in a larger-than-life perspective that gives them a distinctive quality. All this she does through her new sculpture studio called Merraki, in Mehrauli. The name, she tells us, means putting a part of yourself in what you create, and that’s precisely been her motivation. She strolls casually around her art haven glancing over at the sculptures installed. She then begins pointing to the elements where the adroitness in execution are prolific.
There are 50 in total, each starkly different from the other. None are correlated, yet there is a line of commonality that runs through their core. They’re all large-scale models seeking to inspire a second glance at what we consider prosaic. Take for instance, the dice set in a ‘rolled-out’ stance. The exaggeration has brought out its beauty. It has now been elevated to a striking sculptural worth examining, whereas, before this, it was simply a matter-of-fact object thrown around in a board game.
The lime green ice-cream bar shown as ‘melting’ on a patch of verdant grass, has again attempted to show how an unassuming ice-candy can take the journey to become an art. It has the word chill written at the bottom as a comment to the need to take it easy as we trudge along in this journey of life. “My sculptures tend to become conversation pieces.
Larger than life paint tubes, Rubik cube-like squares, the plus sign, large hibiscus flowers are some of the many themes that mark a Merraki piece. A blue dog, a silver apple, a golden chimpanzee…regular things that attain a unique form. One of my favourites is the hibiscus flower sculpture drawn from the flowers I use in my daily prayer offering,” says artist Jain.
The materials used to construct these are fibre, brass, acrylic paint and lacquer. The first step is to create a mould out of the mud and then to chiselled its proportions. Next, the mould is covered in fibre. Once it’s set, the mud is removed to ready the piece for buffing and shaping, following which the first coat of paint is applied. “Each coat needs to dry for a minimum of 12 hours. A total of two or three rounds are applied. The penultimate coat is that of a glossy or matte lacquer which needs more than 24 hours before it is completely ready,” she says.
More pop pieces come in the way of a playful bronze chimpanzee, a herd of sheep, and a dog. “I am very fascinated by animals. Maybe this fascination stems from my inbuilt fear of dogs. I find them adorable — at a distance. My sculptures allow me to explore my fascination in a far less interactive manner.” And in that way, she can draw a relationship with just about everything in her environment. It doesn’t have to be out of the ordinary to be sculpted. The ordinary outshines everything.On view, till October 20, Art Gallery at 1AQ, Mehrauli