From designing theatre sets to curating festivals to doing installations and setting up popular fairs — there is nothing that artist Naresh Kapuria hasn’t done in his career spanning a few decades.
‘You are a true artist only when you leave your mark everywhere,’ says Kapuria when Millennium Post caught up with him at the art gallery at Alliance Francaise du Delhi where his recent works of art had been exhibited after a mini world tour.
The exhibition is just back after being showcased at Krakow in Poland and also at the Gdansk Museum in Poland. ‘I am now sharing it with my friends here,’ says the artist. Indeed, his friends kept dropping in and of the 26 wooden reliefs which are priced upwards of a lakh, a couple have already been sold.
This is Kapuria’s first exhibition in the city after three years, and the artist is happy to be back in the city he loves. ‘Roti, kapda aur makan mujhe Dilli ne diya hai [Delhi have me my bread and butter]. I am a Dilliwala and dilwala,’ says the jovial man when asked about the city.
Originally titled Untold Stories, Kapuria’s just-concluded exhibition brings forward the various stories around us which are left untold and unexplained. Each artwork took him about two months to make and he put together all the reliefs in a span of two years. ‘Every human being has a story. It is these
stories that I have tried to bring out,’ he says.
For the reliefs, Kapuria has put together five-six materials. He first carved wood, burnt it, put them in a chemical emulsion, then treated them and used gold, silver and copper foils. ‘Every phase has its own story,’ explains the artist who is famous for his ‘windows’ in mixed media.
The burnt effect in the reliefs comes from a burnt building that Kapuria saw in Russia. ‘I loved it and used it as a theme here,’ he says. Every artwork in this exhibition has a face which narrates its own story. For instance, Chapter No. 3, which shows two dual faces on both sides with one face in the middle, tells the story of how human beings are stuck at times in various times and situations.
Chapter No. 6, which shows six faces, denotes the six senses. ‘It is six people talking to each other, each depicting one sense. The calligraphy around is the story,’ says Kapuria. In fact, calligraphy is a recurring theme in all his works, denoting that everyone has a story to share. Who Am I revokes the confusion that everyone goes through about their existence.
In such a long career, how does Kapuria draw his energy and inspirations? ‘I find my mistakes in what I read. Also, from the suggestions I get from friends,’ he says, humbly. ‘I believe in innovation. I don’t like to keep on doing the same things,’ he adds.
What next for him? While he hasn’t planned anything yet, the artist shares that he might do a new show for Art Junction at a city hotel. ‘Tomorrow is a new day,’ he says optimistically. We agree.