2008. Stainless steel in six elements. Dimensions, as installed: 30 ½ x 61 ⅝ x 8 ¼" (77.5 x 156.5 x 21 cm) approx. Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York
The Manu is named for the celebrated Indian artist Manu Parekh, whom Benglis met on her first trip to Ahmedabad, India, in 1979, and who worked alongside her during the creation of this artwork in 2008. The title also refers to The Laws of Manu, the authoritative books of the Hindu code in India. Benglis has said she was “lauding [Parekh] and his involvement” with this title, but also pointing to his opinionated nature and the respect he earned in India despite having been born into a lower caste.
These totemic forms were transposed into stainless steel after first being cast from molds made of a beeswax mixture, which was hand-formed by the artist. Benglis has said “these [forms] are all about that-formation, the squeezing, and putting it together, the flow.”