Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran's profile continues to rise and his enigmatic and confrontational sculptural works have struck a powerful chord with audiences world wide.
Some of his most ambitious and monumental work to date is currently on display at the National Gallery of Australia and is wowing audiences in the nation's capitol. After exhibiting at the Jakarta Ceramics Biennale and the Adelaide Biennial earlier this year, Nithiyendran is now en route to the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts Taiwan, to be part of the Kuandu Biennale, a major event that is aimed at celebrating artists and artwork from across the Asia Pacific region.
Ten curators from nine countries have been selected to choose one artist with whom they will mount a single major show. The resulting Kuandu Biennale will be composed of solo exhibitions from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Taiwan.
Supported by Asialink Arts, independent Sydney-based curator, writer, and artist, Glenn Barkley, will team with Nithiyendran, a UNSW Art & Design graduate, to present the Australian component of the Biennale.
The theme of the 2016 Kuandu Biennale is 'Slaying the Monster'. Nithiyendran says his works are a literal interpretation of the subject. He calls his creations “monstrous” – melding together human and animal elements and characteristics, and constructed on a larger-than-life-scale. While acknowledging that some find his work overwhelming and fundamentally unnerving, Nithiyendran says he is deliberately invoking the violence and chaos of Creation. He’s interested in art in mythical proportions and the inevitability of life and death. The artworks not only reflect this theme in their appearance and the stories they hold – their fate, explains Nithiyendran, is to be imagined, constructed, viewed, and ultimately recycled or destroyed.
The art in the Kuandu Biennale, says Nithiyendran, is a pure “contribution to artistic discourse… nerve-wracking and exciting”. He plans to start with huge slabs of clay, coiling them, rolling them, and mounting them as high as possible in the exhibition space. From here, he’ll add arms, heads, bodies, nipples, penises, vaginas, breasts – what he describes as “the whole shape of life” and in some ways “a giant self portrait”.
When the exhibition is over the artworks will be consigned to the dustbin, thus suggesting a deeper sense of myth and memory in Nithiyendran’s overall practice.
The Kuandu Biennale is open from 30 September - 11 December, 2016.