American artist of Indian descent, Aakash Nihalani is opening his first exhibition in Rome, Italy at the beginning of April hosted by the Wunderkammern gallery. The Italian presentation of Nihalani’s work is entitled Vantage and it will consist of a new body of work, in situ installations in the gallery space and diverse urban interventions, some permanent some ephemeral, set around the urban area of Rome. The title of the exhibition evokes its true focus, which is the viewpoint upon which the perspective depends. Therefore, Nihalani’s work is an array of perspective experiments, creating 3D art illusions indoors and in the street, perceivable solely from the exactly precalculated vantage point. The exhibition will be an artistic twist on the optical games of the eyes and the brain.
Romans will be able to enjoy Nihalani’s clever installations from April 5 through May 17, 2014 at the Wunderkammern space.
Inside the gallery space, Nihalani will perform interventions on the architectural setting of the given space, treating it as if it were the structure of the city. By placing blank canvases on walls, Aakash Nihalani creates a second architectural layout with which he is able to engage in interaction. Stripping the site from color, the installation process is sculptural and focused on texture, volume and spatial relations, providing a new quality to the seemingly empty canvases. The empty sections of the installation will be bridged with the use of adhesive tape, giving the piece an added interactive quality.
About his novel approach to canvas use in the structural sense, Aakash Nihalani says: “Most artists use a canvas in order to paint on a limited surface. Like a painter I start with the canvas, but I also explore the ways to sculpt and paint around it, using it as a visual object in and of itself. These paintings, like the majority of my work, are created with a specific point of view – a frontal one – where the illusion exists and the shapes seem to come to life.”
Aakash Nihalani’s Vantage exhibition is a part of a bigger project titled Public & Confidential, involving five highly acclaimed street artists from the global art scene. Other participating figures in the project are Dan Witz, Rero, Agostino Iacurci, and Jed Aerosol, who will close the project after Nihalani’s exhibit.
Aakash Nihalani was born in Queens, New York in 1986. He graduated in 2008 from Steinhardt School of NYU, and completed a residency at Willem de Kooning’s studio in 2012. He has exhibited internationally, and his pieces were features in several respected publications, including The New York Times, The Times of India, Vogue India and others.
His 3D street art installations are produced with the use of colored, often fluorescent duct tape in creation of basic geometric forms, simulating the third dimension, while acting as a deepening agent for the surrounding urban elements creating a spatial illusion. When Nihalani completes the precise production of deceptive setting, the human body placed in it vitalizes the scene, introducing the surprising and surreal visual effect into reality. His installations are in essence interactive, as the participant needs to assume a certain position in order to achieve the full effect, but so does the spectator, in terms of the vantage point.