For all of those who live in New York, or if you made a trip last year, we hope you did not miss Mrinalini Mukherjee’s latest exhibition, Phenomenal Nature at The Met Breuer.

Part of the group of post-independent Indian artists who broke free from figurative traditions into more abstract, non-representational forms, this marks the first retrospective of her work in America.

Mukherjee’s fibrous forms explore the intersection between figuration and abstraction as she takes inspiration from nature to inform her sculptural articulation of form. While also tackling the binaries of abstract and figuration, she also works to redefine the strict dialectical nature of tradition and modernity. Staying true to her roots, Mukherjee consistently used her her knowledge of Indian sculpture, folk art, modern design, and local crafts and textiles to realise her sculptural expression.

Under K. G. Subramanyan, she learnt to engage with the entire spectrum of Indian artistic and craft traditions, while combining them with the use of unconventional materials and techniques. From here, Mukherjee found her love for fibre, using her hands to contort the material into writhing shapes that often are reminiscent of sensual forms such as vulvas and phallic manifestations.

Mukherjee’s unique sculptures challenge the viewer’s imagination to go beyond the merely representational, entering into a world of diverse meaning and interpretation with a persistent reminder of the origin of her work that keeps it firmly located in the rich tradition and nature of India.

If you want to see Mukherjee’s work, you can find some of her sculptures in Room 7 of Materials and Objects at the Tate Modern and at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. Mukherjee is represented by Nature Morte, New Delhi.

Mrinalini Mukherjee – Modern Sculpture and Indian Tradition

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