Wonder Ball | Rina Banerjee


Rina Banerjee
Born 1963, Calcutta
Lives and works in New York

Bearded Eye, 2015
Silk, freshwater pearls, gold wire, glass, plastic, steel, and porcelain
21 × 10 × 12 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
Retail value: $8,000

In Rina Banerjee’s own words, her “art depicts a delicate world that is also aggressive, tangled, manipulated, fragile, and very, very dense.” Born in Calcutta and raised in London and New York, she experienced a multiculturalism that she channeled into her work, imbuing it with a transnational eclecticism vivid with color and sensuality, mundane yet mysterious. In assemblage sculptures such as Bearded Eye (2015), Banerjee mingles luxuries such as freshwater pearls and sequined fabrics with mass-produced trinkets; the profusion of color and texture suggests ritual and an awareness of mystical worlds. Banerjee’s long, lyrical titles extend the psychic and emotional reach of the work. Here, the full title, The Bearded Eye… in a new world with Neotropical evolution remarkable creatures abundant with variability entwine elaborately around buildings and street corners…, fades into an inconclusive ellipse, suggesting that the energetic trajectory of this extravagant, unsettled hybrid creature is unstoppable. 

Rina Banerjee holds a BA in Polymer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, and an MFA from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. She has participated in numerous prestigious exhibitions worldwide, including the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland, Australia (2012–13); Yokohama Triennial (2011); Greater New York, New York (2005); and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2000). Her work is in permanent collections that include the Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and The Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Banerjee was among the artists featured in SJMA’s landmark exhibition Roots in the Air, Branches Below: Modern and Contemporary Art from India (2011).

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