Meppayil has arrived at a form of abstraction via an exploration of a poetics of making rooted in an artisanal practice. The daughter of a goldsmith, she transposes the rudiments of an ancestral savoir-faire as the basis of a contemporary plastic language for critically revisiting the modernist/minimalist crux. The process-oriented dimension of art-making to which she has been increasingly drawn over the last few years accords a primacy to materials and work implements : the markings that are the imprints left on a white surface by a range of goldsmith’s tools, notably thinnam, miniscule indents whose shapes depend on the particular inflection, the angle or bend, of the metal instrument’s tip. So the means deployed couldn’t be more exemplarily minimal : notches, repeated at close intervals on an immaculate gesso panel, that follow the shape of the support. And yet the welter of effects created by these minute dents ! Seen from afar the impression is of a white square or rectangle barely differentiated from the white wall behind it ; in middle distance, however, the object appears to be poised on an optical threshold, the source of a diffuse vibration or flickering ; in close-up, a sensation verging on dizziness, as if speckles the colour of white egg-shell had become visible to the eye without the aid of a microscope, a succession of hundreds of dashes endlessly extended (or so it seems) and only brought to a parenthetical close by the vertical margins of the support. The gold is materially absent but metonymically present, and it is surely a marvel that at a stroke, as it were, she inscribes a local artisanal practice within a nexus of art historical issues – the poetics of the grid, the aesthetics of repetition, the optical atmospherics of the modernist monochrome versus earthbound minimalist objecthood – deemed to have been crucial for the very definition of a certain canonical modernism. At a time when the indigenous is no more than a marker for flaunting cultural difference in a globalized art world avid for ethnic novelty, her work quietly testifies to the ways in which traditional practices, in the hands of an artist fully aware of the historicity of forms, can be a source of genuine enrichment in the interrogation of a medium.
Excerpt from Horizons of Silence : Nasreen Mohamedi and Prabhavathi Meppayil
Deepak Ananth, Paris, March 2013

Born in Bangalore, 1965
Lives and works in Bangalore, India


B.A. Bangalore University
Diploma in Fine Arts, Ken School of Art, Bangalore

Solo Exhibitions:

2010 Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi
2007 Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2001 Forum Schlossplatz, Aarau, Switzerland
1999 Chitra Art Gallery, Bangalore

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2013 abc - art berlin contemporary, Johnen Galerie, Berlin
2013 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni
2012 Everything/Nothing, Gallery Ske, Bangalore
2012 Phantoms of Asia, curated by Mami Kataoka & Allison Harding, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
2011 Shadow Lines - Biennale Jogja XI 2011,curated by Suman Gopinath & Alia Swastika, Indonesia
2010 Orientations: Trajectories in Indian art, curated by Deepak Ananth, Belgium
2009 Chalo! India - A New Era of Indian Art, Essl Museum, Vienna
2009 Chalo! India - A New Era of Indian Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea
2009 Chalo! India - A New Era of Indian Art, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, curated by Akiko Miki, Japan
2008 Kochi Darbar hall, Sakshi Gallery, Kochi
2007 Horn Please, Narratives in Contemporary Indian Art, Kunstmuseum Bern, curated by Bernard Fibicher &
Suman Gopinath, Switzerland
2007 Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai
2007 Soft spoken, curated by Krishnamachari Bose, Bombay Art Gallery, Mumbai
2006 Double-Enders, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Kochi
2006 The Inverted Tree, curated by Marta Jakimowicz, Gallery Threshold, Delhi
2005 Span, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai - 2005
1995 2005 Ten Years Ten Artists, Gasteatelier Krone Aarau , 2005 - Aarau, Switzerland