Intersections: Ranjani Shettar

Earth Songs for a Night Sky

May 16 - August 25, 2019

Ranjani Shettar (b. 1977, Bangalore, India) is a sculptor and installation artist. Inspired by nature, her immersive environments with organic forms combine hand-carved wood, fabric, steel, beeswax, lacquer, and dye. For her Intersections project, Shettar creates wood sculptures in dialogue with the book Sounds by Wassily Kandinsky in the Phillips’s collection. 

Kandinsky’s only poetry publication, Klänge (Sounds) is accompanied by 56 woodcuts, 12 of them in color. Published around 1912-1913, the book came at a crucial time in Kandinsky’s artistic life: just after he had made the breakthrough into abstraction and published the seminal text Über das Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art). For Shettar, the connection between her work and Kandinsky’s book is more in their spirit than in visual form. As she says, “ I relate to the surrealistic images that his poetry brings about and I saw that element in my own work at a very subtle level. Of course, the element of time is collapsed when you are comparing sculpture against poetry that unfolds with time. I imagine the unfolding of time whenever I am creating sculptures, especially because they encompass in them a kind of a physical tension, sometimes it is calmer while at other times more forceful and almost ready to emerge and break the surface.”

Shettar’s work has been exhibited and collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Guggenheim Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others. The artist lives and works in Karnataka, India.


Intersections is a series of contemporary art projects that explores—as the title suggests—the intriguing intersections between old and new traditions, modern and contemporary art practices, and museum spaces and artistic interventions. Whether engaging with the permanent collection or diverse spaces in the museum, the projects suggest new relationships with their own surprises.

Many of the projects also riff on the nontraditional nature of the museum's galleries, sometimes activating spaces that are not typical exhibition areas with art produced specifically for those locations.

Intersections is presented by