Born 1981
Lives and works in Kolkata, India

Year created:
Rathin Barman, Untitled

Rathin Barman. Untitled. 2012. Mixed media. Dimensions variable.

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dimensions variable

mixed media
Courtesy of the Artist, Experimenter Contemporary Art, Kolkata, India, and the Creative India Foundation

No longer on view.

The work of Indian artist Rathin Barman explores the relationship between the rural and the urban with specific attention to the manner in which globalization, technology, and materialism affects the two realms. Among other things, Barman’s work addresses the constant cycle of building-destroying-rebuilding and the intersection of art and architecture; it also raises questions about the life of material and the potential value of detritus.

Barman works primarily with decrepit bricks, metal, and other industrial rubble—materials inherently representative of the building up and breaking down of civilization. Often, Barman’s work juxtaposes rural elements with an urban environment in sculptural forms and site-specific interventions. Barman’s Untitled installation, sited on deCordova Sculpture Park’s main lawn, contrasts the urban with the suburban by bringing the ruins of recently leveled city buildings to deCordova’s pristine campus.

Untitled is formed of a series of walls, each created by stacks of local architectural demolition rubble that are meticulously placed within an open metalwork frame. The dense, jagged wreckage contrasts greatly with the undulating metal frame, which is comparatively delicate in appearance despite its rigidity.  The open weave of the frame simultaneously contains and exposes the rubble, creating a permeable boundary between the dirtied remnants of civilization and the unspoiled park environment. The artist mediates this relationship using metalwork, crafted into stylized botanical forms, created in his native Kolkata. In this way, the work is both site-specific and universal: it encourages viewers to reconsider how they relate to their built surroundings and to meditate on the factors that drive creation and destruction on an international level.

Barman is the first South Asian artist to exhibit in the Sculpture Park and this installation is indicative of deCordova’s mission to present an increasing variety of work by international artists. This project is made possible by a collaboration with the Creative India Foundation. A version of this work, featuring the same metal armature, was first installed at the Sculpture Park at Frieze New York in the spring 2012.

Rathin Barman holds a BVA and MVA from the Faculty of Visual Arts, Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata. Barman’s work has been featured in group exhibitions at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata; Gallery Kolkata; and Frieze Art Fair, New York. His first solo exhibition, And My Eyes Fill with Sand… (2011), was shown at Experimenter, Kolkata. Barman has held residencies with The Why Not Place Residency Program at Religare Arts, New Delhi and Sandarbh Artist Residency at Partapur, Banswara, Rajasthan.  He is represented by Experimenter, Kolkata.