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Unseen Art: Parul Gupta’s endeavour to curve the linearity of the constructed world

Indian artist Parul Gupta aims to dismantle geometrical symmetry through this work that never left her studio.

by Dilpreet BhullarPublished on : Nov 16, 2020

The single straight line connecting the point A to point B is the culmination of calculative facts that could hardly defy the notion of misjudgment. Conveying spatial information, the combination of lines in a format of a two-dimensional drawing may dissuade the viewers as a simplistic style of making an art piece. On both accounts, artist Parul Gupta bends the rules to make her work topple the conventional idea of linear perception. A commerce graduate, Gupta attempts to let the viewers notice an oblique shift within and around the work in an effort to deconstruct the geometrically aligned spatial set-up.

#33 | Parul Gupta | Unseen Art | STIRworld
#33 Image: Parul Gupta

Metaphorically and symbolically, her work for the series Works Never Shown Before, squarely turns the comprehensible spaces upside down. In the hands of the artist, the geometrical shape of a square, like lines of the two-dimensional plane, subverts the coherent perspective. Giving wings to her conceptual thought to fly further ahead, her works having a colour palette of black and white once again disturb the accustomed setting of the constructed world. Speaking with STIR, Gupta further elaborates on the work, which is ‘never shown before’.

#33a | Parul Gupta | Unseen Art | STIRworld
#33a Image: Parul Gupta

1. Please talk about your general practice.

I work around architectural spaces as a generator of perceptual experiences by countering the question of perception - of how a particular space informs the way we see. I am also interested in how spatial interventions change our perception of each individual space as well as our own perception of ourselves in that space.

The site and its structural elements become active participants in my on-site work. The viewer too leads the participatory role to decipher the experiential nature of the work.

My work on paper takes on a similar inquiry about the perception of the inhabited world, by integrating geometrical forms, light and movement.

#33b | Parul Gupta | Unseen Art | STIRworld
#33b Image: Parul Gupta

2. When and in what circumstances did you conceive this work?

The work shared was done in 2018 as part of a series including drawings and sculptures. I finished a project called When is Space? at Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur (JKK) earlier that year and was keen on focusing on studio practice, as I had been continuously engaged with on-site projects for some years then. Also, while working on on-site projects, I was faced by a recurring geometrical form – square - in architectural spaces and otherwise, which was becoming challenging for me to navigate through. And the challenge to produce work around this became my immediate inquiry.

#33c | Parul Gupta | STIRworld
#33c Image: Parul Gupta

3. What is the theme for the work?

Square signifies multiple meanings from an idea of an enclosure to the town square or public square. From as a measuring unit - square-metre or square-yard to square-meal. In many ways, it is a linguistic delight.

My interest in “square” is in its geometrical form - four equal sides and four equal angles, which gives it a perfect symmetry. This symmetry, for me I feel, is not just visually claustrophobic but also rigid as a structure. I found it difficult to navigate through this structure, not just in a physical space but also on a 2D surface. Through this work (and others in the series) I had tried to disrupt this form in a manner where it still retains its structure. Where even after layering, subtracting, shifting and manipulating it, the form has not lost order.

#33d | Parul Gupta | STIRworld
#33d Image: Parul Gupta

4. What process was used to make the work?

My process usually starts with a rough sketch within the set parameters of the idea. In this particular work, there are two squares - each 48 cm x 48 cm - one straight and other tilted on top of each other. This dimension excludes outside frame but includes inside frame. So, while making the structural drawing on the paper, I include the frame dimension as well which is 13 mm width.

I usually work with a straight line as my material but here I have used oil pastel, as this work, in particular, is about subtraction. And to focus on the subtracted part, the remaining form should have the intensity to hold it. The empty space in-between becomes part of the work. It is the implied remaining section of both the squares. Though the work has two squares in it but literally it has none, which also refers to the principle of gestalt theory.

03 mins watch Parul Gupta takes the audience through her ‘never seen before’ work | Parul Gupta | Unseen Srt | STIRworld
Parul Gupta takes the audience through her ‘never seen before’ work Video: Parul Gupta

5. Why do you think it has not been shown yet?

The work is extremely complicated to frame and install. Initially I had framed all the works in the series in white acrylic (which is in the image), and it was a long process, as to get the right dimensions was crucial. Realising that the white acrylic frame is not justifying the works, I got all the works reframed in wood. Wooden framing of these works was done by hand and to get such extreme precision through hand took almost eight to ten months. By the time I got all the works framed, we were hit by the pandemic we are currently in and that’s the reason these works haven't been shown yet.

#36 | Parul Gupta | Unseen Art | STIRworld
#36 Image: Parul Gupta

6. What would be the ideal (most desired) format to display the work if and when given a chance?

I am looking forward to show the work along with the other works in the series as it is important to talk about the concept then the individual work. Since currently, most of the shows are happening online, I would wait to show these works in a physical space. How and where these are exhibited is important to consider the narrative they produce with the space.

  • #36a| Parul Gupta | Unseen Art | STIRworld
    #36a Image: Parul Gupta
  • #36 b| Parul Gupta | Unseen Art | STIRworld
    #36 b Image: Parul Gupta

Unseen Art:
Curated by Rahul Kumar, STIR presents Unseen Art: an original series that features works that have never been shown publicly, created by a selection of multidisciplinary artists from across the globe.

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