tw/one, 2016

Basel 2016
Pace Gallery, Esther Schipper, GALLERYSKE
installation of approximately 700 found objects (iron and brass) and found object embedded in gesso cube
Prabhavathi Meppayil’s practice rests in her approach to processes and materials. Coming from a family of goldsmiths, Meppayil adopts artisan techniques and materials and relocates them to forms and ideas associated with postwar art. In tw/one, found iron and brass tools traditionally used by goldsmiths are assembled into a low-relief grid, creating what Benjamin H. D. Buchloh describes as a collision of ‘ordering principles and disordering strategies.’ The virtually obsolete tools are liberated from their intended use when placed in the grid – the anti-narrative leitmotif of Modernism – yet retain traces of their histories, particularly the musicality inherent to the goldsmith’s tinkering process. tw/one resists classification and instead evokes tendencies of different artistic disciplines. This is especially apparent in the gesso cube that, like Meppayil’s gesso panels, consists of a metal object inlaid into a monochrome surface, occupying a neutral space between painting and sculpture, picture and object. Through this dialogue between categories and forms, Meppayil creates ambiguities and contradictions that generate new readings of her work and materials.