Interconnectivity of Ranjani Shettar’s Just a bit more, 2005-2006
At my first meeting with Shettar’s expansive and delicate hanging sculpture, the art historian in me made the immediate connection to Eva Hesse’s similar hanging pieces created in the 1960’s. But then I thought, let’s move past just a simple theoretical comparative discussion of the two works and examine Just a bit more singularly. What I was surprised to discover was my own train of thought and the significance of my internal connections being made mirrored in the interconnectivity of the delicate coloured beeswax balls linked together by the fine tea-stained thread. As you read this article, you are making your own connections—perhaps also to Hesse’s work since I brought attention to it, or perhaps another artwork, or even the complexity of all the connections of the piece akin to DNA or our network of synaps in the brain. Also, there can be an argument made for the work’s representation of technology and its ability to be a vehicle to connect people around the world; not only in terms of social media and its ability to transmit and spread information quickly, but at a more basic level of pure communication from one to another. As Shettar is from Bangalore, India, an epicentre of technological education and innovation, it is interesting to also view this piece as a representation of the impact of technology on society and our incessant obsession to stay connected to each other.
It is this process of making our own connections and building an infinite train of thought as we experience the piece that I find rather poignant to the work. All of these connections work quite beautifully as our own unique thought processes are visually represented in the work we are pondering and experiencing. What is particularly interesting to note is how the artist leaves it up to the viewer to take away what they will from her piece rather than thrust upon the audience a set meaning or significance of the work. Rather than being concerned about deconstructing the piece by unravelling high level theory or peeling back the layers to get at the essence of the piece, Shettar allows the viewer to simply experience the piece and take what they will from their own unique journey and relation to the work. We can find similar theory in the modern untitled abstracted paintings that leave the viewer to find their own conclusions…but that is just a bit more contemplative connection to continue the train of thought…
You can find more information on Ranjani Shettar here on the MoMA library resources website.