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Textures of Silence

An alumnus of the L.S. Raheja School of Art, Nai was adept at representational painting at one point of time - he attributes his shift to abstraction to his teacher Mukund Gawde, who encouraged him to "start from zero". Interestingly, abstraction became an artistic mode linked in his personal history to economic loss and surfeit of material. In 2001, his father lost his wholesale jute business and the excess jute fire became the material with which Nai began his inquiries of horizontals and verticals, surface and depth. His preoccupations with primary forms, tonal subtlety, texture, dimensionality and illusion reveal a rational method, which makes use of technology and finely honed craftsmanship. The notion of 'tabula rasa signifying his shift to abstraction and the analogy of 'poor material in relation to jute, link Nai art-historically to two European post-War movements - ZERO (Germany) and Arte Povera (Italy). While both had radical political positions against figural modes, it would be detrimental to claim an overt political base for Nai's practice. Nai has taken aesthetic risks to articulate a language that is based on perceptual and processual experimentation; hence, analogies may be drawn with the phenomenality of materials and free attitudes to style and history that were basic to these two movements.

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