Exploring the self through art

Having studied, lived and worked at the University of California, Berkeley, USA for almost a decade, Delhi-based artist Puneet Kaushik returned home with nostalgia this year. Intrigued by the feeling he was experiencing within himself for the first time, Puneet decided to give it a virtual image by presenting a collection of his installations at the Vis à Vis Gallery.

Interestingly, the guiding concept behind the majority of the works has been the idea of ‘Identity- the dealing with the self’. The artist tries to explore beauty and the ugliness, the superficial and the deeper self, which is textured and
layered by different circumstances, making it impossible to penetrate into the real self.

To talk about his sentiments, Puneet took the age-old art and craft culture of the country as a medium of his work. His collection presents a unique combination of knitting, crochet and embroidery, as well as, work on steel wires which ensnared him ever since he forayed into art of making installations.

Also in his works, the sense of presence and the body in relation to human experience is investigated.

For instance, in one piece, crocheted forms connected with long lengths of latex rubber hang from the ceiling, expressing the mystery of the ‘self’ as it goes through thorny and problematic conditions when uprooted from its comfort zone and forced to take roots elsewhere.

Many creations of Puneet have emerged through his experiences which he tries to visualise in a holistic manner and recognising them as a process that bridges individuals and the world.

Puneet is also inspired by the French philosopher Merleau-Ponty, who said that the
human body is an expressive space which contributes to the significance of personal actions and is a medium for perception of the world. This sense of expressiveness has been worked upon by Puneet with his materials. Through phenomenology, the sculpted, crocheted form, invites spectators to touch and feel, thereby creating dialogue with it.

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