FOR artist Kulpreet Singh, “Contemplation” a solo show featuring his drawings, multi-media works and videos, is a milestone in his artistic journey spanning over 20 years. Filled with numerous challenges and hardships, Patiala-based Singh shares that the only constant in his life has been his love for creating art. Months of research usually precede the actualisation of a work. “The art has to be first worthy in my eyes, only then can I present it to the world. This exhibition is a labour of love, one that showcases diverse thoughts, techniques, treatments and explorations,” says Singh.
He is one of the six artists chosen by the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi from the entries that came in response to an exhibition proposal where the Akademi had set out to choose artists between the age group of 25 and 50 years, to showcase their work in Punjab, India and abroad. Through the initiative, the organisation hopes to recognise excellence in visual art.
In Singh’s works, minimalist forms – including circles, triangles, squares in monochromes and different textures — come together to create visual drama in large wooden frames and glass. Singh reflects on architecture, life in rural areas and the hardships faced by the common people. “The structure and forms of Chandigarh have also been internalised. The works depict my connection with the environment and how our lives are so connected to our spaces, which have become an integral part of our being,” says Singh.
In another work, the artist showcases a number of small drawings in grey, cut into squares, with a torn black cloth forming the centre of the work. This is the cloth Singh used to wipe the drawings to create an even base for the work. “When I opened the cloth after I had completed the base, I realised its life was over. This became a metaphor for me to say what I firmly believe in, that in this constant rush of life, we forget the primary purpose, what we came for. The struggle for the basics in life consumes most of us and before we know it, our life is over, without us understanding its true meaning,” says Singh.
In another work, a red bottle brush has been used to create a large installation. The flowers wither away with time, a symbol of how when we are taken away from our roots, we also head towards decay. Using LED lights behind small drawings, Singh creates shadows, with the interplay creating an illusion of landscapes. In his glass installations, Singh uses varied elements to showcase the ups and downs in life and how we emerge strong with every setback. On the walls, Singh writes, “Ajeeb, Ajeeb, Ajeeb”, and leaves it for the viewers to decipher the meaning. “I have often been asked what your medium is. My medium is not painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, videography or photography. My medium is art, and I use the material as per the demand of my subject. Medium has its own importance but without the subject, the object has no existence. Surprisingly, nondescript surroundings create varied impressions. Some happenings unknowingly became part of my conscious and my work underwent a huge change. My effort is to understand, introspect, imbibe and give expression to all these experiences,” says Singh, pointing to a text on the wall, which reads: “Many stones came in my way, but my steps polished them and transformed them into milestones”.