An unconventional history of a generation 

Gallery Espace’s latest exhibition shows  experiments with a plethora of mediums and weaves histories of a generation that saw it all

Featuring contemporary artist Puneet Kaushik’s recent body of works made during the lockdown, Gallery Espace presents a solo exhibition titled ‘Threads of Time – The Material Memoirs of Puneet Kaushik’. 

This show is a mixed bag consisting of mixed media installations and drawings made with steel wire, sequin dust, beads, thread, resin, nails, watercolour, handmade paper. 

Gleaming with remnants of tangled memories-personal and collective, of clandestine lived encounters, and of sensuous pleasures of the material, Kaushik’s body of work on exhibit is biographical in a sense. 

It weaves collective and personal histories of a generation born into a world of the displaced in urban spaces, mindful excesses, economic inflation, Emergency of 1975-76, increasing rural-urban divide and the ever-separating chasm between the contemporary eyes that see only the surface and the traditional fingers that have worked since time immemorial in layers.

Artist Puneet Kaushik

“The choice of abstract subjects, traditional craft techniques and contemporary treatment of media signal unconventionality in Kaushik’s refusal to be bound by the existing prosaic parameters of art reception and the restrictive notions of contemporary art practice.  To him, doing nothing or merely tweaking the status quo means certain death for the arts. His layered cultural enquiries on paper, wire and fibre strive to bring forth histories that challenge existing notions on gender, sexuality, stereotypes, violence and moral values,” reads the curatorial note.

Kaushik reconstitutes in his studio a plethora of mediums: paper, flower, vegetable matter, canvas, cloth, metal, leather, skin, hair, threads, textiles, marble, glass, and ceramic. Though tact precedes opticability in his creative process, the visual experience of the object nonetheless is intimate and visceral. 

The term “impresses”, like “stitches”, “weaves”, “cuts” and “inserts” hold value in Kaushik’s installations as he “weaves in” material alien into his primary medium, creating a mesh of fibre, stitches, nails, stains, embroidery, and crochets, thus infusing, embedding, and layering the final product with new meaning and form. The final installation disrupts the viewer’s understanding of the linearity of time, history and lived experiences.

“Puneet Kaushik’s practice, inspired by Indian craft traditions, folk culture and design, is a new direction in contemporary art, one that is rooted in its context. Light and shadow are an integral part of Puneet’s body of works in ‘Threads of Time’, his solo exhibition at Gallery Espace after a gap of five years. His handling of different materials here – steel, yarn, paper, nails, etc – is lyrical and the textural surfaces he creates are magical,” says Renu Modi, Director and Founder of Gallery Espace.

The exhibition is on display at Gallery Espace till January 12


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