Chennai | Modernism and functionality join hands at this art and design show

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Rambha Sheth and Sripriya Ganesan of Neon Attic with some of the pieces on display

Rambha Sheth and Sripriya Ganesan of Neon Attic with some of the pieces on display | Photo Credit: special arrangement

A slice of midtown Manhattan — more specifically the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) — inspires the contemporary, clean aesthetic at Royapettah’s Folly at Amethyst today. For, across the gallery stand pieces of functional art, each with a story of their own.

A sleek, almost fluid layout introduces each piece – a drink table that is simply a dolphin’s tail, which appears to sprout from the ground, a series of paper cuts on paper canvases enclosed in glass, or a single, standing fan with a bamboo base . There is even a lounge chair, that is almost Surrealist, reminiscent of one of Dali’s molten clocks. Titled Modernism +, the display is a pleasing window into the intersection of art, design and theory. A space where aesthetics marries functionality.

Curated by the design firm Neon Attic helmed by Rambha Sheth and Sripriya Ganesan, the display is a collaboration with designers and artists from across India, with a shared aesthetic. “Through our projects, we started getting into the art world very seriously. We ended up working with a lot of galleries across the country, and some that many might not have heard of. So we thought, why not bring them here.”

The show, which has been in the works for almost six months, has deliciously curated corners. It is centered around Modernism, an art movement that originated in the late 19th and early 20th century and encouraged experimentation, both in form and ideology. It is difficult to bracket the movement into a single, linear aesthetic, and the display is aware of this limitation.

The layout at The Folly, Amethyst

The layout at The Folly, Amethyst | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Simply put, the show encapsulates the ideology of a home that Rambha and Sripriya would share, if they had one. “We had the theme in mind, which was shared with the artists who customized their work according to their narrative,” adds Rambha. They felt that the whole dialogue around design could be a lot more vibrant in Chennai, and this is an attempt at that.

The featured artists are an eclectic mix of new age and season design firms, as well artists from the country : Vahe, Nama Home, Rhizome, Andblack, Length Breadth Height, Eitri, Java Homes, Rutva Joshi Design, Cultivate Art, 079 Stories, Shailesh Rajput, Harshita Jamthank, Arvind Sundar, Pradeep Ahirwar, Upasana Asrani and Rewati Shahani are a few names to note.

The dolphin drink table by Balena

The dolphin drink table by Balena | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Sripriya says, “The designers whose pieces have been featured in the show are truly making an India for the world.” And they work with local Indian artisans to create their pieces, which was a big draw for the curators.

Sripriya and Rambha believe that there is plenty going on in the country, when it comes to a design aesthetic. “As a Nation, I think it is difficult for us to be minimalist. It is definitely contemporary though. Now, people are looking for a clean, sleek and practical aesthetic,” says Sripriya. “And they are also looking for a story,” adds Rambha.

The show will be on display at The Folly, Amethyst on September 28.

Some of the pieces on display

Some of the pieces on display | Photo Credit: special arrangement

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