Manish Nai — Matter as Medium


Drawing, installation, photography, sculpture...

Manish Nai
Matter as Medium

Past: September 10 → October 29, 2016

Galerie Karsten Greve announces Matter as Medium, the first solo exhibition in France of the Indian artist Manish Nai. His composite and multiform work summons a set of references and affinities from both Arte Povera in the use of discarded materials, cardboard, papers and fabrics in particular, and procedural art, in so far as the protocols and systems of artistic creation set up by the artist in themselves define the final art object.

Coming from a family of textile merchants, Manish Nai began right at the beginning of the early 2000s to exploit the opportunities offered by jute, a plant fibre widely used in India, mainly in clothing and in the construction sector. Diverted from its original destination, jute compressed by the artist and agglomerated to recovered cardboard, becomes the raw material of monolithic sculptural ensembles with striking and perfectly straight edges. Contiguous to a wooden structure, Manish Nai’s compressed sculptures fall within the frontier of two and three dimensional planes.

The series of pastels shows a different facet of the artist’s work. By using subtle illusionist methods, he appears to print reliefs, depressions and protrusions on the surface of the paper, whose real formal flatness can only be assessed after careful inspection. The result is a polymorphism of concave and convex appearance variations permitted by a delicate play of shadow and light as well as the use of an extremely limited colour palette.

The Billboards series stem from a sociological exploration of public space in Mumbai. Following the recession that began in the global economy in 2008, a multitude of billboards were left partially vacant, without advertisements. Photographed on the roadside and then combined digitally and arranged by the artist, these compositions represent the concept of serendipity or happy coincidence: “Until the paper is torn, I have no idea what will appear on the wall.” Abstract, geometric shapes and patterns emerge from this creative process, interspersed with disorganized snatches of words and phrases whose original meaning is supplanted by the aesthetic properties of the whole.

More unique, the compressed sculptures made of newspaper along with the assemblage of colourful recycled cloth sticks stem from the reuse and sustainability of objects that generally have an ephemeral life. Intimately linked to the Indian way of life, the country counting nearly a hundred different newspapers, in nineteen languages, the newspaper sculptures are compressed and moulded around a lightweight wooden frame.


Born in 1980 in Gujarat, India, Manish Nai graduated in drawing and painting from the L. S. Raheja School of Art in Mumbai. He is the winner of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation prize (New York, 2004-2005) and of the bursary awarded by ROSL Visual Arts in the UK in 2014. The work of Manish Nai has been shown in numerous group exhibitions including Bright Noise curated by Girish Shahane at the Lalit Kala Akademi, in Chennai (2014); The Indian Parallax or the Doubling of Happiness curated by Shaheen Merali at the Birla Academy of Art & Culture, in Kolkata (2012); the Mumbai City Pavilion at the 9th Shanghai Biennale, curated by Diana Campbell and Susan Hapgood (2012); and the Kochi Muzirus Biennale, in Kochi (2014). Matter as Medium is the second solo exhibition of the artist at the Karsten Greve Gallery, the first having been held in 2014 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Manish Nai lives and works in Mumbai.

  • Opening Saturday, September 10, 2016 6 PM → 8 PM
  • Event Thursday, October 20, 2016 8 PM → 9 PM

    Signature du livre de Manish Mai en présence de l’artiste.

03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

5, rue Debelleyme

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 77 19 37 — F. 01 42 77 05 58

Official website

Filles du Calvaire

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 7 PM

The artist

  • Manish Nai