Prabhavathi Meppayil

b. 1965 in Bangalore, India
Working in Bangalore, India
Showing at Asia Society Museum
On view from March 16, 2021, through June 27, 2021
Prabhavathi Meppayil

Prabhavathi Meppayil, sb/eighteen, 2018. Installation of 875 found objects (iron, copper, and brass) and gesso. Dimensions variable. © Prabhavathi Meppayil, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo: Damian Griffiths, courtesy Pace Gallery

Prabhavathi Meppayil, sb/eighteen (detail), 2018

Prabhavathi Meppayil, sb/eighteen (detail), 2018. Installation of 875 found objects (iron, copper, and brass) and gesso. Dimensions variable. © Prabhavathi Meppayil, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo: Damian Griffiths, courtesy Pace Gallery

Prabhavathi Meppayil, sb/eighteen (detail), 2018

Prabhavathi Meppayil, sb/eighteen (detail), 2018. Installation of 875 found objects (iron, copper, and brass) and gesso. Dimensions variable. © Prabhavathi Meppayil, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo: Damian Griffiths, courtesy Pace Gallery

Prabhavathi Meppayil’s abstract sculptures and installations are informed by the artist’s family history of goldsmithing and her interest in minimalist aesthetics. Her meticulously rendered marks—often made by hand with a thinnam (a traditional jewelry tool used to incise ornamental patterns in bangles) on gesso or through the application of found jewelers’ molds onto a wall to create intricate geometric patterns—inflect chance elements that blur the division between handicraft and mechanical reproduction. The artist received a BA from Bangalore University in 1986 and a Diploma of Fine Arts from the Ken School of Art, Bangalore, in 1992.

nt/twenty is a site-specific installation composed of hundreds of found iron, copper, and brass jewelry molds, uniformly organized in a low-relief tilted-square grid on the wall. Seen from a distance, the particular tools are reduced to their base forms and appear as a field of marks. It is only upon closer inspection that the individual color, shape, and size of each mold emphasize the unique identity of each tool—now mostly obsolete in the age of mass-produced jewelry production—and the time-consuming manual assemblage of the installation.

Supported in-kind by Pace Gallery.