Magazine article Sculpture

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

Magazine article Sculpture

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art

Article excerpt

New Delhi

Himmat Shah

Himmat Shah's recent retrospective formed one third of a three-part showcase at the Kiran Nadar Museum. Like the other two artists featured in "Abstraction in Indian Modern Art 1960s Onwards," Nasreen Mohammedi and Jeram Patel, Shah is associated with the Faculty of Fine Arts Baroda. His show, "Hammer on the Square," considered his prolific output from 1957 to 2015. The title work, Hammer on the Square, consists of an unpretentious cube and a hammer with no hand holding it. This composition capturing gravity at work shows how two forms can exist in suspended isolation.

Over the course of his career, Shah has experimented with numerous materials, from mud and terra cotta to bronze and paper marked with cigarette burns. He consistently demonstrates an ability to transform the mundane into the astounding. Monographs devoted to his work have been innovatively designed so that readers can feel the materials while looking at the photographs.

"Hammer on the Square" featured 300 works-215 from KNMA and the rest on loan from collectors-including Shah's iconic terra-cotta and bronze sculptures, as well as silver paintings. The burnt paper collages are among the most interesting examples of his work, though their origin was itself mundane: while waiting for someone, Shah used the cigarette that he was smoking to burn a sheet of paper. …

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