New Delhi-based artist Mahima Kapoor shares her views, practices and multi-faceted artwork, along with her experience as a participant in the Belgrade Art Studio Online Residency in July 2021 during the pandemic. As an online residency participant, Kapoor took advantage of the opportunity to create, explore, experiment and build community with other participating artists from around the globe.
My work is about my experiences, small and specific, mundane and abstract. The content in the work is perhaps everything that I’m consuming in my daily life. From the most mundane to the most specific feelings, I believe we live in spaces, both inside and outside of our mind and body. This union of the inner and outer self has led to a body of work that is chaotic and complex, but also delicate and meticulous.
In my work I’m constantly trying to articulate feelings that may not reach the viewers otherwise. For instance, the feeling of having a sense of belonging in a creative environment and feeling lost otherwise. The conversation is manifested in how process and materials have their say in what they become and how they communicate with their audience.
The paintings are loaded with layers, physical and metaphysical. There are soft, membrane-like fragile layers depicting emotions that are sensitive and brittle, and then there are bold, solid, contoured, sharp, dark hues that I’ve used to reflect upon experiences that may only exist as a shadow of something strong and overwhelming. These have been defining moments in the journey of my practice. The work is about juxtaposing emotions, the harsh with the soft, dark with the light, soft with the heavy and the awkward with the polite. These are put together in paintings, unique prints, sculptures, drawings, and installation.
I work with multiple centres in an open field and I hope that the viewers engage with the work in ways that does not dismiss it for being too colourful or aesthetically appealing. If you spend enough time, you may realise that the work moves as you move, breathes as you breathe and maybe even talks to you silently.
Virtual Residency Experience – Belgrade Art Studio¹
Being a part of a four-week online artist residency has been a one-of-a-kind experience. Something I truly did not expect. Residencies allow us to move out of our comfort zones to new countries and new studio spaces among artists from all over the world. Through art-making, I was hoping to better understand and connect with the other artists-in-residence.
Doing this online at first sounded redundant, however, the lack of movement that I felt during the past year and a half [of the pandemic] urged me to engage. I requested that the participating artists send me a few movements that were resonating with them at the moment. Taking inspiration from their responses, I created three-dimensional drawings in space, as exemplified through the narratives and images below.
Working remotely was frustrating, but exploring the residency theme ‘Artist on Standby’, became an interesting step in my art practice. I have been resonating with the sense of urgency this idea imposed, as if nothing is completely static, hoping that the task may begin promptly. It reminds me of the calm before the storm or the little vibrations that one may feel before a great idea is about to emerge. This is something I believe is within the subtle movement, swinging between the conscious and the subconscious mind.
¹ Excerpted from 'Art & Words: Belgrade Art Studio – Online Residency' in The Purposeful Mayonnaise Magazine, a literary and art journal and platform; Volume 1, Issue 2, pgs. 42-48; August/September 2021
About The Artist
Kapoor is an artist based in New Delhi, India. She is alumna of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA in the USA and has been a fellow artist at residencies like Salem Art Works in upstate New York, USA; UCROSS Foundation in Wyoming USA; L’Air Arts foundation in Paris, France; and Belgrade Art studios in Serbia. Her work is a hybrid of artistic disciplines like painting, contemporary printmaking, installation and sculpture.