Even today when I paint or sculpt or make anything, I enjoy the process like a child, I have no preconceived ideas and thoughts and just carry on doing my art…writes Tanya Banon
Spanning nearly four decades of his artistic oeuvre, renowned contemporary artist, Paresh Maity, is holding India’s largest solo exhibition to be ever showcased. Infinite Light, in collaboration with the Art Alive gallery, opens at Bikaner House, Delhi, on the 5th of November, before opening in other galleries and cities.
The artists’ work is going to go on display at a one-of-its-kind curated exhibition spread across Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Bangalore. The exhibition maps Maity’s creations over time, journeys and experiences, aesthetically translated across mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film and installations, as well as via his quiet and lifelong preoccupation with ceramics.
The Padma Shree awardee talks about his vast repertoire of artworks on display that reflect his journeys across India and the world, across changing moods and seasons.
Read Excerpts: This is the largest solo exhibition in the country, how does that feel?
Maity: Yes, touchwood by God’s grace. This was very challenging to put together such a monumental exhibition, but I standing here looking at the scale I’m just so happy to bring all these artworks together under one roof. So, it is very difficult and very challenging, but as I said I’m praying that and we should be alright.
The exhibit spans four decades of your career, so we can expect a mix of sculptures, art works, water colour and ceramics?
Maity: It has my drawings, paintings, sculptures and installation, I also make films, so it has a huge variety from my repertoire of work. I have been conceptualising this for a a long time, many years, it’s finally all happening so I’m hoping everything goes well.
The exhibition is travelling across the country…?
Maity: Yes, it is in four different venues, from Delhi it will travel to Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, and each new venue has to be put together from scratch, so it is all very exciting. Each venue is unique and has its own challenges, like today we have everything from cranes and pulleys coming to put it together.
Light plays a vital role in your art, can share us more details?
Maity: See from my earlier age, I have always wanted and have observed Light very innovatively; for any visual art or any visual thing, light is very important and an essential part of my art. I try to always absorb the colours properly in light like colours in morning light and afternoon light are very different, how evening light affects colour is also very different and that’s why I always paint during the day, never after sunset. In sunlight you can visualize colour very beautifully, if you see even in my drawings the lines, in fact whether its water colours or sculptures, light plays in every form of my art beautifully. That is why that I have titled this exhibition ‘Infinite Light’.
Do ceramics bring out the playful side in you?
Maity: See from my early age I started playing with clay and started making clay toys, so the germination of start of ceramics and sculptures started at the early age of 7, and working with ceramics is always so joyful for me. If you see the germination of ceramics basically its clay a different form, first you mould it, then you paint it, then you fire it and then finally glaze it, so basically even with my sculptures they involve heavy weights and it’s fun to visualise something and see it manifest in reality. But with clay and sculptures both once you cast it then it’s very difficult to change it, so one has to be sure of the idea and the method. Ceramics and sculptures are an integral part of my life since my childhood and now an integral part of my art.
Even today when I paint or sculpt or make anything, I enjoy the process like a child, I have no preconceived ideas and thoughts and just carry on doing my art.
You are one of the few artists who have been able to partake in your lifetime with such huge success and been able to see it unlike many artists, how does that make you feel?
Maity: I’ll tell you my success is to see my own piece art take life, that fills me with joy and happiness, I don’t believe in success or failure, because ultimately what we want to get in our lives is joy and happiness, and to share that joy and happiness with the viewer and the people. I have never thought of success, nor do I ever feel that I am successful, if someone likes my artwork and that brings them joy and makes them feel it’s beautiful then that is my success.
Parents can’t choose a favourite between children, is it like that with your creations or do you have favourites?
Maity: It is really difficult as you have said so yourself, to ask a mother which child is her favourite, it is like that for me to. If you start from a drawing there is a line, drawing is like ABCD, it is as important as water colours, water colours on their own are very challenging because you cannot rectify a mistake. Sculpture are challenging in a very different way and ceramics go into the fire where you don’t know what’s going to happen inside, it might break, it might crack, so each work is a process of germination and creation, one cannot choose, at least I cannot.
What are your views on NFT ?
Maity: I will tell you earlier it was basically all in reels then it became the digital camera, and today it is NFTs. It is a parallel media, may be in time it will make its own place, its own position like a digital camera. One good thing is it helps to reach a segment of people in the society who may not be to convinced with art but they are very involved in digital screen like phones, tablets or laptops, those people who will enjoy such things and create a bigger audience for art.
I was one of the first few in the country to come out with FDT, but still I fell that art is something tangible so that you can and you can feel it and like the feeling you get when you touch a sculpture, or the texture of ceramics, so I am more into tangible things, but it will have its own place in the coming years.
As an artist it is very important to have patrons, how important is it for corporates to support the art world ?
Maity: It’s very important, patrons in earlier days were the king, the state, the priest, the Maharajas and now the time has changed, it is the corporate world, which is very important because they make artworks public for al to enjoy and share in. Like sculptures which are 25 feet, 30 feet with the patronage of corporates these works go into the public domain and that’s how the artists can share their work with everybody.