The Fluidity of Horizons

Parvathi Nayar

Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Kochi-Muziris Biennale
Fort Kochi, India

Parvathi Nayar’s works are hyper-real yet abstract portraits of the world. She often deploys ‘objective’ scientific imagery, such as that derived from microscopes or satellite cameras, to create works that defer interpretation with their plays on perspective and scale. Nayar’s ideas are usually realised as intricate black and white imagery that is hand-drawn on wooden surfaces. According to her, “The starting point of these explorations is the dot, the punctum (the point), whose endless iterations, in a cosmic and painterly sense, give rise to the world of the art work.”

The Fluidity of Horizons (2014) is an interconnected suite of drawings and a sound installation that makes references to the history of the Malabar Coast, shaped as it has been by a long history of travel and trade. One of the drawings is inspired by the form of an astrolabe– a device once used by astronomers and navigators to determine time and the position of the Sun and other celestial bodies. Nayar has mapped onto the body of this navigational instrument several interconnected geographies of our life, from ancient imaginings of the world to the minute pathways inside a cell.

Also presented is a triptych that carries echoes of a time when the lure of spices led voyagers from across the world to the coast of Kerala. The attractions the coast held and the contact and confrontation that ensued are captured here by the figure of a giant pepper corn looming over the Arabian Sea, an object simultaneously of danger and intrigue.

Punctuating this pictorial narrative are other elements; among them a mysterious whorled shell and a drawing plotting the path of subatomic particles. Together, these images lead audiences into contemplative, meditative and curious positions of viewing the world.


  • Title: The Fluidity of Horizons
  • Creator: Parvathi Nayar
  • Medium: An installation of drawings on wooden panels, sound
  • Gallery: Aspinwall House, Fort Kochi
  • First Creator: 1964
  • Date of artwork's creation: 2014
  • Creator's practice: Chennai, India
  • Creator's date of birth: Delhi, India.

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