ART Puneet Kaushik's installations are premised largely on his personal experiences

Puneet Kaushik, the Delhi-based artist, is showcasing his installations in an exhibition ‘Germination' at Apparao Galleries. Having studied, lived and worked at Berkeley in California, the U.S., for almost a decade, he returned to Delhi with sentiments and nostalgia of sinking roots within his own cultural milieu.

His installations are three-dimensional sculptures that negate normative definition. Installation art is premised on interaction with the spectator, and is an expansive medium that offers versatility. Installation and other forms of three-dimensional art gained momentum in the late 1960s after the crisis of modernism, when painting lost its position at the centre of contemporary art to be replaced by the likes of installations, assemblages, performance and process art. Successful installation art is often driven by a single idea or concept, and there is always an element of exploration.

Puneet's installations integrate his experiences and sensitive response to the vibrancy of his own culture, and use diverse craft traditions to give shape to his concepts. His philosophic leanings provide grist for his creative mill. His ideas initially are configured through drawings, and he shapes them as concrete material forms by adopting craft methodologies, which foreground crochet and weaving. Engaging with contemporary materials as very fine and pure steel wire, he has woven spider webs, hands, and human forms that become metaphors of the cycle of life and death.

The installations that Puneet has created are not arranged on the floor; rather they are hung from the ceiling, creating inter-locking spatiality. In these series of installations, Puneet has focussed on crafting different weaves. Interestingly titled ‘Bricolage', ‘Take it or Leave it', ‘Symbiosis', ‘Tying up the Knots' and ‘Dislocated Rootedness', the criticality is to establish the process of life lived at various levels. His works convey layers of meaning that manifests through the process, method and materials. It is in this respect that his installations as three-dimensional sculptures mark a posture of difference. Hence in ‘Dislocated Roots', the crocheted forms with long lengths of steel wire hang from the ceiling juxtaposed with the intertwining play of shadow from linear light — creating an enigma, the mystery of the ‘self' as it goes through problems when uprooted from its comfort zone. ‘Tying up the Knots', gestures towards casting away of inherent ego or negative traits, indicated as the casting away of the skin, as finely constructed wire mesh that heaps on the floor, while the human form or the ‘real self' shows through from under it. ‘Symbiosis' represents the web of life — a tenaciously constructed web representing the vagaries.

Thoughtfully conceived

Puneet's installations are thoughtfully-conceived and executed, premised largely on his personal experiences and engaging with craft forms he has seen across India. His works have an intensity of purpose, and the process translates as a deliberation of his experiential philosophy with ideas generated from his cultural milieu; integrating with his intuition to forge such a conceptual approach.

The exhibition is on view at Apparao Galleries until February 16.