Sakshi Gallery is pleased to present The Visitor, an exhibition of recent work by Nandini Valli Muthiah. A progression of her earlier suite titled The Definitive Reincarnate, the series revisits the theme of incarnated divinity and explores its complexities through the personification of Vishnu.
The Visitor stages Vishnu against tightly choreographed backdrops, garlanded and ornamented and curiously endowed with a pair of wings. As in Christianity, wings are symbols of angels who are messengers of glad tidings as well as conveyors of bad news. Likewise Muthiah projects her protagonist, Krishna in this case, as the messenger of God bringing to earth both good and bad.
Muthiah also shifts the setting of her frames to a pond as an allusion to the image of Vishnu reclining on the many headed serpent in the milky ocean. The pose, both benevolent and sanguine has her captivated and as a take-off, the figure of Krishna is shot in a reclining pose in the pond.
Once again the whole image is not in view, with the pose being suggested only through fragments such as the torso and the tilted crown. The Visitor - Nandini Valli Muthiah In another twist to the narrative, the lord's soliloquy finds manifestation, as his alter-ego steps into the highlycharged exposures. Here Vishnu is caught in debate and reflection, raising questions about the nature of divinity and the areas of overlap between god and human.
The Visitor has been Muthiah's most ambitious project till date, not only conceptually and in scope but also in terms of its scale. While her earlier endeavors were shot in controlled environments, this series has had elaborate outdoor shoots with a large crew that can be likened to the cinematic productions of celebrated photographer Gregory Crewdson.
About the artist:
Born in 1976 in Chennai, Nandini Valli Muthiah graduated with a BA in photography in 2005 from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth (UK). She has had two successful solo shows thus far and her work has been exhibited in important exhibitions such as 'Generation in Transition: New Art from India', Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warszawa, Poland and Where Three Dreams Cross', Winterthur Museum, Switzerland and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Muthiah lives and works in Chennai and was shortlisted for the prestigious Grange Prize in 2011.