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Kartik Sood: Scripting a new language of art

Painter Kartik Sood is travelling to the eternal beginning

Published: Feb 9, 2015 06:23:12 AM IST
Updated: Feb 9, 2015 12:08:35 PM IST
Kartik Sood: Scripting a new language of art
Image: Katya Raina

Kartik Sood | 27
Painter & installation artist
Category: Art & Culture

The imagery in Kartik Sood’s works could be scenes from a dream. Shadowy outlines shimmer, shrouded figures nestle together, architectural structures that resist the peeping-Tom viewer occupy spaces with mysterious majesty. The scenes that Sood shows in his art are tantalising because there are no obvious narratives that you can piece together and, yet, stories lurk in every layer of these meticulously constructed pieces. Ask Sood about his artistic practice and he answers in the dreamy abstractions that mirror his works. “The divide between what was and what will be within us is an important part of my artistic practice,” says Sood. “Our primal self is clouded by our modern selves and I believe that is where a major problem is. I believe our dreams try to bridge the gap: They are trying to take us back to an eternal beginning. All my imagery tries to take us into that common dream.”

Sood’s own dream of becoming an artist began when he was a child. Reminiscing his days as a small boy, his younger sister remembers Sood as someone who filled his real world with the things he imagined: He doodled, drew butterflies on walls, made kites and sent back letters that were more drawings and less words. “When I was a little boy, I didn’t know what it meant to be an artist,” says Sood. “I just followed what seemed natural to me. Now I am aware of it. Being aware is being an artist.” The demands that he makes of art are immense: “I feel art has this dream-like quality to make everything come back to its natural balance, it can heal.”

Although he’s worked in a variety of media, Sood began as a student of painting and is an alumnus of New Delhi’s College of Art and MSU in Vadodara. From his original training, Sood has settled comfortably into TV-based installations along with paper and photographic works. When asked about which medium resonates with him most at present, he says, “For me, the centrepiece is always a video for it has all other forms of art in it.” Sood describes his process as “very organic” and his inspirations are varied. It could be “a book, a song, a conversation, a child’s laughter”. From that amorphous starting point, he goes on to create his multi-layered photographic works and videos.

The technical complexity of Sood’s work and his eagerness to experiment has impressed critics and curators. In 2013, Sood was awarded Emerging Artist of the Year by The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art. Curators Susan Hapgood and Oliver Kielmayer, who were part of the jury, were particularly struck by how Sood layers different literary and painterly influences in a piece as well as his mature handling of complex narratives.

Sood was recently chosen for the prestigious Gasworks International Residency Programme in the UK. He’s currently working on two projects based on stories and plays that he has written. “The idea is to create a unique language which may effectively be able to get the feel, the sensation of the story across,” said Sood. “You see, a new language is a new world.”

Here is the full list of 30 Under 30 for 2015 and its methodology 


(This story appears in the 20 February, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)