RIMZON, N.N.; Wax temple
Renowned contemporary Indian artist NN Rimzon has participated in numerous international and national exhibitions since the mid 1980s: early shows include, 'Traditions/Tensions' at the Asia Society, New York (1996) and 'India Songs ' at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1993. Rimzon graduated from the College of Fine Art in Kerala in 1982 and two years later studied sculpture at Baroda University and received a Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Arts, London. Rimzon was born in Kakkoor, Kerala, a southern Indian state known for its high level of literacy and radical Marxist government. During his early years of study at the College of Fine Arts in Trivandrum, India was in a State of Emergency: between 1975 and 1977 there was much political activism, which influenced Rimzon and his contemporaries.
Rimzon developed a personal language to deal with his humanistic concerns. His practice is concentrated in two areas, sculpture and drawing. For 'The Second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (1996) Rimzon exhibited House of heavens (Acc. no. 1996.222a-c) and a suite of six drawings. Primarily a conceptual artist, Rimzon makes use of a series of archetypal images, including the house, the egg, the pot and the sword, which embody specific meanings, in both an Indian and a larger human context.
When Rimzon began exhibiting, painting was the dominant media in India, and this marginalisation of sculpture led to a feeling of exile within his own artistic community. In 1986 he exhibited a group of heads at 'The Sixth Triennial India', at a time when installation art was not practised by contemporary Indian artists. His combination of sculpture and drawing is accessible for a public familiar with two-dimensional works. The drawings, though, have a texture of their own, incorporating sand and bright, strong colours: their imagery echoes the sculpture. The sculpture, House of heavens, is the other part of this symbiotic relationship - it is the three-dimensional, muted expression of the drawings.
Art historian Chaitanya Sambrani has said: 'The absence of the human figure from this work is an evocative absence - the effects of a human presence are present: the dwelling, and the egg, which is symbolic of fertility and life, together form a structure which has ramifications of the sacred space as a shelter. The partially concealed sword under the structure however, undermines, denies the possibility of solace, of refuge, of utopia.'(1) Rimzon's personal aesthetic utilises universal symbols, which enable his work to easily cross international boundaries.
1. Chaitanya Sambrani. 'N.N. Rimzon: A house for the self'. The Second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art [exhibition catalogue], Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1996, p.96.
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