10 to Watch – Yamini Nayar, Artist

According to the New Yorker, the constructed interiors that form the subject of artist Yamini Nayar’s large-format photographs “look like their architects abandoned them, unfinished, and decided to invite the vandals in.” Philips de Pury’s NOW: Art of the 21st Century, likens them to “interiors in dreams, strangely familiar, even inviting at first, but look around and you’ll see that nothing’s quite right.” According to the artist herself, her imaginary rooms reflect themes of “transition and transformation.” Tellingly, the photographs are all that remain, as the sculptures are discarded as soon as they’ve been shot.

Whatever they represent, her images have made a huge impact everywhere they have been shown, from New York to Miami, London, Paris, Switzerland, Beijing, New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The Detroit-born, Brooklyn-based artist, who obtained her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York (both in Photography and Related Media), has received positive reviews in Art India, Artpulse Magazine, the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Guardian UK, and Vogue India, which named her one of India’s “10 hottest young artists.” Writing for Philips de Pury’s NOW: Art of the 21st Century, photography critic Vince Aletti included her in his feature of “six photographers who reflect NOW.” We couldn’t agree more.

What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever gotten and from whom?
One percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration – my mom.

What do you consider your greatest professional success?

Sharing a wall with the work of others I’ve studied and always respected.

What do you consider your greatest personal failure?

Still unable to do my own laundry. The pile grows…and I imagine it’s invisible.

Favorite all-time…
Biography: Gandhi, Miles Davis or Ramanujan
Novel: Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino
Album: The Secret Life of Plants, Stevie Wonder
Film: Spellbound, Alfred Hitchcock
TV Show: In Treatment
Invention: SMS
Painter: De Chirico
Photographer: László Moholy-Nagy
Clothing Designer: Givenchy
Athlete: Arthur Ashe
Architect: Mies van der Rohe

What is the strangest number you have programmed into your phone?
A dairy farm.

How would you define love?
Through time.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?


Describe your perfect day.
Seeing something extraordinary.  Then having dinner with friends to celebrate.

List three things you cannot live without.
A good night’s sleep. Tea. My partner and family.

What’s your prize possession?
A set of philosophy textbooks written by my great grandfather, an early 20th century Bengali philosopher Umesh Bhattacharya.

What would you most like to accomplish going forward?

What would your last meal be?
Hummus and potato chips. And coconut water.

What’s exciting for you in 2011 – what do we have to look forward to?
In 2011, two upcoming solo exhibitions in New York and Mumbai, as well as publications in Sharjah, Amsterdam and India.

Tell us one thing we don’t know about, but we should.
I love horror films. But I’m such an empath, I physically feel all the horrible things happening…as if they’re happening to me. So I’m usually the loudest screamer in the theater..and sobbing.

Check out our complete “List of 10 to Watch

See Yamini Nayar’s work here and below

If you like what Yamini’s doing, hit the “Like” below to share with your friends.

One of These Days (2009)
Between the Lines (2009)
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