Mrinalini Mukherjee (b. 1949)

Mrinalini Mukherjee | Biography | Life | Artworks


The unity between human and plant life is well illustrated in the paintings of Ajanta. The graceful postures of limbs and bodies represented in the figures of Ajanta seem to flow in a natural rhythmic unity which reminds one of the flows of life in the plants. There is a voluptuousness in their forms but no indecency. 

There is a similar rhythmic dignity in the knotted surfaces, concaving and convexing with a natural and easy flow of movement in three dimensions, in the large size and impressive sculptures by Mrinalini Mukherjee. They create an illusion of figures which are at the same time human-like and plant-like. 



This continuous illusion forming process reminds us of Vikramorvashi in which the nymph Urvashi transforms herself into a creeper and the creeper is again transformed into the nymph. 

As she says: My early work was a response to the vegetation and the flora that I loved in the garden towns in which I grew up. 

Gradually biomorphic elements enlivened the plant forms and the interplay of planes grew more complex and acquired body. 

Scale, posture and bearing gradually brought the human, and even the superhuman, into the persona I was building up. 



Mrinalini incorporates the same principles of rhythm and growth in nature in her sculptural forms in hemp and sisal ropes and strings which appear to possess a life of their own. 

These hemp ropes and string constructions have a great variety of texture and form. She uses the traditional technique of macramé or knotting in a fresh creative application. 



She makes clever use of flat knots, half- hitch and picots in several different ways. 

The knotted surfaces which transcribe the volumes and masses, held in place by use of metallic rings to support their weight and keep them in shape, were earlier suspended from the ceiling. 

In her more recent works, she has devised the use of metallic rings and elements of armature in such a manner as to make them free-standing forms (as in her Vanshree or Van-Raja II). 

Mrinalini’s works possess a remarkable quality of fluidity. The formal details are not pieces joined together but grow from each other in unusual colour as if sprouting and finally blossoming into a unified whole. 

They merge into and emerge out of each other in a highly rhythmic relationship. 



Her work is intellectual and a product of international experience. She has created a surreal feeling of stillness, of form, of person, of space. 

The dignified, mute but evocative figures amuse and challenge and bring one face to face with heightened, concrete perception. 

Every form is exteriorised, yet has an inner life and indefinable elegance which express its creative energy and lend it a monumentality. 

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