BBC Culture

Geometric art puts humans inside shapes

  • Getting in shape

    New York-based artist Aakash Nihalani (pictured) builds colourful geometric worlds in unlikely locations, from a temple in New Delhi to a brick wall in Brooklyn. For his first Italian solo show – opening on 5 April – Nihalani will be creating installations around Rome. (Photo: Noah Kalina)

  • The fourth wall

    “However briefly, I am trying to offer people a chance to step into a different New York than they are used to seeing, and in turn, momentarily escape from routine schedules and lives,” says Nihalani on his website. With his piece Where the Red Fern Flows, pictured, the 27-year-old created art using weeds on a wall in Brooklyn. (Photo: Aakash Nihalani)

  • Play – and pray

    According to Nihalani: “We all need the opportunity to see the city more playfully, as a world dominated by the interplay of very basic color and shape.” With Indian parents, the artist responded to his heritage with installations in New Delhi, like Temple, pictured here. (Photo: Aakash Nihalani)

  • Double vision

    Using neon tape and card, Nihalani constructs images that appear 3-D, allowing people to interact with them as both spectators and players – as in Overhead, pictured, taken in New Delhi. “People need to understand that how it is isn’t how it has to be,” he says. (Photo: Aakash Nihalani)

  • Depth charge

    The Italian show is called Vantage, and Nihalani explains that his work is “created with a specific point of view – a frontal one – where the illusion exists and the shapes seem to come to life.” This piece was part of a 2012 summer residency at the Willem de Kooning estate in East Hampton.(Photo: Lovis Dengler Ostenrik)

  • The right angle

    Nihalani made several site-specific installations in the studio and on the grounds of the estate – like Magdalena, pictured. “I try to create a new space within the existing space of our everyday world for people to enter freely, and unexpectedly ‘disconnect’ from their reality.” (Photo: Lovis Dengler Ostenrik)

  • Pounding the pavement

    Playing with depth of vision and twisting perspectives, the artist places his fluorescent graphics on streets “to highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself”. He told Designboom that his choice of shapes is inspired by the buildings of New York: “Coming from a suburban neighborhood, I was captivated by the urban architecture of the city when I moved here: big boxes, filled with smaller boxes, an endless network of cubes.” (Photo: Lovis Dengler Ostenrik)

  • Taped crusader

    Nihalani’s spontaneous creations turn everyday surroundings into playful spaces. “My work is created in reaction to what we readily encounter in our lives – sidewalks and doorways, buildings and bricks.” He says he stumbled on his unusual material after attaching screen prints to a wall with painter’s roll; noticing a shadow cast on the floor by a pedestal, he outlined it with the tape.

  • Striking shapes

    Claiming that his work “revels in the temporary”, Nihalani (pictured here next to his Dominos image in Brooklyn) says: “I’m just connecting the dots differently to make my own picture. Others need to see that they can create too, connecting their own dots, in their own places.”