Nature Morte is pleased to present a solo show of new works by the artist Parul Gupta. This is the first time the gallery is working with the artist and will be her largest solo show to date. On view will be a range of works: drawings on paper made from ink, charcoal, oil pastel, gold pigments, alone and in combinations; as well as sculptures of painted aluminium.
Gupta’s visual language is born from Minimalism and all of her works appear deceptively simple at first, but with time their complex programs and internal intensities become apparent. Drawings composed from overlapping parallel lines, in two and three colors, seem to defy perception, oscillating in front of the viewer and possessing a vibratory charge. In both a series of works rendered in charcoal and gold pigment and the sculptures, Gupta seduces the viewer with the illusion of the doppelganger, rife with allusions to paranormal perceptions. Her main subject is the square, yet this most serene of geometric forms is torqued, layered, multiplied, and confounded to create works of heightened tensions.
In an essay on the work of Parul Gupta by Anuj Daga (for a solo project presented by Farah Khan at Red Studio, Mumbai in 2020), the writer illuminates the many references these abstract works can elicit:
“Gupta’s works index and overlap several spatio-temporal graphs that invite closer investigation. Densities of space created in folding, releasing, splitting, dissecting, fading, or strengthening lines within an imagined continuum narrates numerous stories. Are these scores waiting to be sounded into music, or are these barcodes of a number yet to be counted? Are these the unfolded scales of early observatories that were built to map the cartography of the skies; or are these seismographic charts that mark the tectonic shifts to which our everday gets attuned on ground? Are they streams of microwaves within which we are inevitably swimming or the rhythms of a pulsating organ emanating from within the body? As we consider these questions within the artist’s fine drafted lines, encompassing poetry of mathematics begins to emerge.”
3D Walkthrough Link –
The project was a container of four different works – a Site Specific work, collaboration with studio assistants on Drawing Lab, presenting Durational Drawing 2 project and exhibiting works on paper & painted aluminium sculptures.
Site Specific – The work is Gupta’s ongoing enquiry in architectural spaces, where she constructs the work responding to the space. The given conditions of the site guides the work and hence the work becomes part of the space. Here she etched the dilapidated wall in one of the courtyards of the studio where other three walls were based on a grid structure. Responding to the grid structure, she etched the wall in similar twisted form.
The work is produced by team rED Studio
Text by Anuj Daga
While Newton believed that smaller masses in space are fundamentally attracted into the gravitational “pull” of the heavier ones, Einstein suggests that objects essentially experience a spatial “push” that determines their movement and relative position concerning each other. Parul Gupta’s works are tensioned between the above “push” and “pull” of space, characterized in her experiments with the practice of drawing. In her sensitive perception that is intuitively moved by the silent suggestions of shifting lights, shadows, events and perspectives, Gupta essentially morphs space into a dynamic entity. Through her works, one can consider several scientific as well as perceptual registers of space- time at once, that get translated into drawings, sculptures and site-specific interventions. In doing so, Gupta underscores her works not simply as an aesthetic preoccupation, instead as a fertile field of knowledge.
A series of squares set within meticulous grids destabilize our modes of perception. Stable tilts, deviating parallels, unidentical equals and accurate unfits characterize these works. On a deeper gaze, seemingly stable Cartesian space begins to appear warped. Is one cheated into a perceptual labyrinth or has one entered a space of distortion? Gently diverging lines of the substratum and the surface leave one thinking about their interspatial relationships. The solid squares leap out of the paper, the drawings take one deeper into the infinitum of the grid. In this tension, the viewer is challenged on his/her grounds of rationality.
Gupta’s works index and overlap several spatio-temporal graphs that invite closer investigation. Densities of space created in folding, releasing, splitting, dissecting, fading or strengthening lines within an imagined continuum narrates numerous stories. Are these scores waiting to be sounded into music, or are these barcodes of a number yet to be counted? Are these the unfolded scales of early observatories that were built to map the cartography of the skies; or are these seismographic charts that mark the tectonic shifts to which our everyday gets attuned on ground? Are they streams of microwaves within which we are inevitably swimming or the rhythms of a pulsating organ emanating from within the body? As we consider these questions within the artist’s finely drafted lines, encompassing poetry of mathematics begins to emerge.
What does a line want to be? Perhaps in Gupta’s practice, this question is inexhaustive. The lines take multifarious forms creating degrees of opacity and translucency, rigidity and movement. Gupta demonstrates that her lines are continually breathing and have an agency of their own. They fold the viewers within forces of space to guide them into gentle action. Her works are orchestrations of line assemblies that do not limit themselves within the bounds of the frame. Instead, they speak to its edges and even bargain to enter from outside or escape from within them. It is here that her serious constructions assume an emancipatory quality of play and find their planes of engagement with the observer.
“Drawing in space” is a project based on spatial narratives and questions of perception. The spatial exploration could be poised somewhere between installation and abstract line drawing. The work is a response to clear architectural forms/spaces and their illusionary character. It aims at creating a spatial experience of forms and volumes created merely by lines.
Medium: Thread, Nails, Needles, Paint, Permanent Marker
The work is in response to the wilds outside the window. The window panel is a canvas to built a drawing on it with fishnet wire. The horizontal lines stretched from one end to another breaks the outside image and at the same time becomes one with each other.
Medium: Fishnet Wire and Permanent Marker
Abstract “Lets proceed in parts”
Ruben Dario, a Nicaraguan poet, is said to have commenced modernism in Latin American Literature with his most renowned work Azul (Blue) towards the end of nineteenth century.
His poem – “Vamos Por Partes (Let’s proceed in parts)” philosophizes the notions of time, movement and rupture, which artist Parul Gupta has taken as sets of prompts to build the exhibition around.
Gupta’s juxtaposition is also prompted by the prologue on the poet by Octavio Paz from the “Selected Poems by Ruben Dario” (1965), where he described the poet:
“The modernist (Ruben Dario) accomplished more than the job of the restoration. (For him) The world, the universe, is the system of correspondences under the rule of rhythm. Everything connects, everything rhymes. Every form of nature has something to say to other. The poet is not the maker of the rhythm but its transmitter. Analogy is the highest expression of the imagination.”
The exhibition stems from these prompts as a means to create a space accentuating the oscillation of eternal trap of time, which manifests the amalgamation of cosmic diversity.
Let’s proceed in parts was a solo project responding to some of the poems of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario. It was also the title of one of his poems from where the exhibition takes form. The exhibition was a mix of site specific installation, hair-fall video, drawing in space, light installation, site specific kinetic installation and an approximate 100’ long drawing based on movement – together to respond to the poems and taking the exhibition space as the departure point and build the notions of time, movement and rupture. The prompts were not addressed linearly but were overlapping – space & time – linear space & physical space – movement & consciousness – rupture & emptiness – motion & time.
Site specific work – The exhibition space was divided in parts. As one enters the basement level of the building, one encounters installed triangular platforms in two opposite corners of the room, which subtly sloped up from the floor, joining at the meeting points of adjacent walls. The installation was closely matched as the color and materiality of the original floor surface and at once extends and transform the plane of physical space.
Medium: Boards, Paint, Nails
Hairfall Video – Link to hairfall video
Drawing in Space – An immersive installation of thread and light. The installation is an extension of drawing in space from last project (Making Space 2016). Here one could not grasp the static drawing as multiple rotating lights in the centre created equal number of moving shadows.
Medium – White Thread, Cycle Spokes, Nails, Lights, Kinetic Mechanism, Paint, Wooden Board
Light Installation – The video piece is projected on the floor and shows a shadowy image of light passing through a pane-glass window, with a tree fluttering softly in the breeze. The space had no window so the certain impossibility of the light/shadow play was an extension on my enquiry on perception and at the same time a rupture from the perceived understanding.
The work is produced by Rajan Kumar Singh.
Site Specific Kinetic installation – Another work in the space was this self moving column which is a false pillar disguised as belonging to the existing architecture mechanically moves along the axis of the room at an infinitely slow pace.
Medium: Wooden column, wheels, motor & sensors
Notes on Movement Drawing- A single white scroll stretches across 4 walls of unequal length. The scroll is marked with drawing in a slowly mutating linear pattern. It has a frame by frame animated movement within, which is only visible after walking past some frames. Each band within the drawing starts and ends on the same frame which frames it on a self contained loop and has an effect of an optical illusion along with spaces of rests and pauses.
Medium: Graphite on Mylar Paper
Making Space was a time and space based project where within the duration of three months, the space was made anew with different site specific and time specific works. The foremost initiation in the project was division of the physical space into two halves- first half as thinking space and other half as canvas or paper.
The works made during project duration-
1- Line Drawing – The first work was an exercise in understanding the poetics and spatial narrative of the space. That came through by simply highlighting the existing lines – both structural and of elements. The space was transformed into a sketch book page as one sees from a distance and akin to a cardboard model when one enters it.
Medium: Black Paint
2 – Notes on Movement: Performative Drawing – The work is an extension from a previous work with similar title – Notes on Movement: Drawing. Both works uses drawing as a mediator to channelize movement in space.
This work is an act pf performance based on a set of instructions through form and process. The space and its constraint parameters becomes the generator of constraint forms. The body becomes the medium to create and erase the drawing simultaneously. Drawing is based on the set of precise instructions, both clockwise and anticlockwise, creating basic geometric forms (triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon) in a rhythmic pattern.
Clockwise – 3-4-5-6-7-8 (triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon)
Anti Clockwise – 8-7-6-5-4-3 (octagon, heptagon, hexagon, pentagon, square, triangle)
Clockwise – 4-5 (square, pentagon)
Anti Clockwise – 4 (square)
Clockwise – 5-6-7 (pentagon, hexagon, heptagon)
Anti Clockwise – 6-5 (hexagon, pentagon)
Clockwise – 6-7-8 (hexagon, heptagon, octagon)
Anti Clockwise – 7-6-5 (heptagon, hexagon, pentagon)
Clockwise – 6 (hexagon)
Anti Clockwise – 5-4 (pentagon, square)
Clockwise – 5 (pentagon)
Anti Clockwise – 4-3 (square, triangle)
3 – Drawing in Space – Drawing in space was a response to an existing question of “how to physically enter a drawing?” The 3 dimensional drawing on wall and ceiling invited the viewer to move around and engage with the multiple dimensions within the drawing. The drawing is site specific as it was built along with the structural elements like corners, columns etc.
Medium: Cycle Spokes, Nails, Paint, Thread
4 – Collaborative Drawing – With Hemant SK
A three person show with Nurjahan Akhlaq and Yasmin Jahan Nupur.
Curated by – Meenakshi Thirukode
Press Note – Space Phrases, her debut solo show in Mumbai, India, Gupta exhibits her recent drawings, photographs and video. Her enquiry slides from line as a language in itself, to the line becoming the medium to engage with the shifting dynamic of space. The medium of line converses with the space both by recognising its existing architectural alignment, as well as finding newer sites of subtle insertions and realignments from within. Gupta’s enquiry in regards the line started with witnessing her fallen hair, as organic line, and there after building comparisons with straight lines drawn by pen on wall. While the line drawn by hair didn’t find its way further, the straight line went on responding to architectural spaces and other built spatial ambiences. This process led her engagement to travel from the paper and enter into different kind of spaces, through site responsive drawings and installations.
A self initiated intervention at a public space at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts. The site specific work is the line drawing accentuating the outlines of fixed structures installed in the garden. The outline instantly transforms the physical structure into a sketch in real space.
Project Jan-Path is a residential home in Delhi. The three person show was along with Gagan Singh and Rehaan Engineer. The two site specific works made were to activate the space based on the spatial narrative and structural conditions of the site. Both works were guided by horizontal grooves/lines in the brick wall by using it as a grid and shifting the perception of seeing a straight line by an angular composition.
Site specific 1Medium – Striped Cloth and Wooden Frame
Site specific 2Medium – Jute Rope Dyed Black and Nails
Kona is a derelict structure in Jor Bagh, Delhi. Works presented were a mix of site specific, drawings and photographs.
Site specific work was a temporary drawing installation following the structural conditions. Medium – Fishnet Wire, Permanent Marker and Nails
Project Note – Sarai Reader 09 was a site specific project which intend to engage with the poetics of architectural space of Devi Art Foundation without physically occupying any space. The works made were exploration in thinking through drawing in different media focused on line. The engagement starts from line leaving the paper and enters space. Following points were the guides to navigate through different spaces and works made during the period of 3 months-
– Focus area to be existing structures (frames, shadows, existing works), corners, columns.
– Elements in the space to become active participants in the work.
– Understanding the lines of the space, the forms it creates, the illusion of angles and perspectives.
– Breaking the monotony of the straight line in the space.
– Drawing as a spatial exploration poised somewhere between installation and abstract line drawing.
– A line is a point taken for a walk
Following spaces were activated during 3 months project-
Medium – Fishnet Wire and Permanent Marker
Medium – Ink, Glue and human Hair
First Floor Passage
Medium – Insulation Tape on Floor
Ground Floor Gallery
Medium – Transparent Tape on Scaffolding and Wall
I’m waiting to hear your ideas for your next design project.
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