Nek Chand's Outsider Art: The Rock Garden of Chandigarh

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9782080305183: Nek Chand's Outsider Art: The Rock Garden of Chandigarh
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For fourteen years, Nek Chand secretly transported thousands of stones by bicycle from the Himalayan foothills to a secluded, government-owned jungle clearing. There he combined them with urban debris—corroded wires, sheet metal, bicycle parts, tubes, tires, multicolored tissue, glass and feathers—to make statuettes. In 1972, authorities stumbled upon his menagerie of elephants, horses, monkeys, birds, and figures and eventually decided to support his project at what is now the second most-visited site in India after the Taj Mahal. Authorative text, an interview, 140 illustrations, and a detailed site map pay homage to this singular fantasy universe. This book is published for the exhibition at the American Folk Art Museum (April 4-September 24, 2006).

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Synopsis:

Over forty years ago, Nek chand worked as a road inspector for the public works department in the North Indian city of Chandigarh. Each evening, he would mount his bicycle and carry, by the hundreds, stones that he had found in the foothills of the Himalayas. In a small jungle clearing, he built extraordinary sculptures from these stones combined with urban debris: corroded metal wires, used sheet metal, detached bicycle parts, and abandoned tubes and tires. In secret, Nek Chand worked nightly to create a veritable kingdom of gods and goddesses alongside a menagerie of elephants, horses, monkeys, and birds - figures constructed from multicolored tissue, glass, and feathers. This fervor of underground activity continued for fourteen years until, in 1972, authorities stumbled upon Nek Chand's extravagant garden and decided - after considerable debate - to support his project. His whimsical rock garden has since become the second most visited site in India after the Taj Mahal. Authorative text, an interview with the artist, 140 illustrations, and a detailed site map pay homage to this singular fantasy universe.

Nek Chand's Outsider Art is published to coincide several exhibitions across the globe in 2005 and 2006.

About the Author:

Lucienne Peiry, art historian, is director of the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Switzerland and author of Art Brut (Flammarion, 2001). John Maizels is editor of Raw Vision and author of Raw Creation. Philippe Lespinasse, photographer, is curator at the Collection de l'Art Brut. He has directed two documentary films on Nek Chand.

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