September 01, 2018


By Nalini S Malaviya

The preciseness of mathematical rules, the natural order in nature and the variants that occur during repetition, lie at the core of Kalyan Rathore’s art making. His sculptural installations derive inspiration from form, structure, space and aesthetics that occur in nature - as an innate incidence. Rathore explores elements of design, formation and spatial arrangement as observed in nature and their underlying patterns of morphology to recreate them in his sculptures.

Rathore has been working as an industrial designer and has conceptualised and created several large scale installations, which have been based on mathematical algorithms, and employ multimedia. Applying principles of progressive distortion, he repeats patterns to create motifs that resemble flora, fauna and naturally occurring elements. The sculptural forms appear to grow organically in a sequential manner, mimicking growth and patterns in nature, yet are reduced to a minimalist form that captures the essentials - the essence of the shape, form and motif in a geometric layout.

The recurrence of the sculptural unit akin to fractals in the universe, constructs forms that build and expand following stringent laws of mathematics in various iterations. These appear to be non-representational and non-specific to natural features due to their reductive property.

Precision and invariance is a prerequisite of mathematical principles and the derivative is assured of repeatability and predictability, whereas in nature, there is an inherent variance that governs the order of atoms and molecules which results in distortion. Essentially, an element of unpredictability and randomness in the design predominates and which ascertains the form and structure of natural elements. Rathore’s current series is a tactile exploration of reality that goes beyond surface observation and necessitates a reductive eye to visualise and perceive the inherent distortion that constructs the form, aesthetics and structure in nature.

‘Bend’ explores the variant that alters the mathematical code at the fundamental level, albeit from an artistic perspective, while applying mathematical rules such as the Fibonacci sequence and other relevant formulae responsible for the progression. For instance, the fractal defines a form created by repetitive application of a mathematical rule, where the form does not have to be homogenous, but it is precise. In the event of an error or variation introduced in the rule, the precision gives way to a slight distortion of the form, while retaining its essence, which is close to what is found in nature.

Interestingly, while the leaves on a stem follow a pattern, which may not be precise, but remain recognizable as a repeated form.  Similarly, the shape of mountain ranges, growth of algae, snowflakes, timing of ocean waves and the DNA structure, they all follow an intrinsic structure and pattern. It is significant that there is a delicate balance between form and distortion, and the object is not distorted beyond recognition.

A geometrical predisposition along with repetition appears to be at the origin of aesthetics in nature. The visual arrangement, a result of an iteration which is beyond perception and explanation, yet inherently, at the molecular or even at a more primary level, is situated a code that governs the progression and the outcome – the shape, size and form which belies rationalization at the observation level, as has been also explored by mathematicians and artists.

In the current suite of works, ‘Bend’ employs stellation to build the polytopes with new figures and forms - the essence of floral and animal figures, and patterns prevailing in nature. The sculptures explore plurality of probable motifs, genesis of natural forms, germination of organic life, and a multitude of possibilities that manifests in nature as an intuitive process.

Bend - The Nature of Change and the Order of Repetition by Kalyan S Rathore, curated by Nalini S Malaviya, is on view from August 10 to September 29, 2018 at Gallery Manora, Indira Nagar, Bangalore.