Interview – Mahima Kapoor – Belgrade Art Studio Online Residency

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Do you choose your art form, or does the form choose you?

It’s like a dance between us both. I start by consciously choosing my art form or the medium for each project depending on the temperament that it may require. However, since I mostly work on 5 projects at a time in the studio, my ideas, methods and mediums often tend to overlap. This method of working keeps me on my toes to constantly be aware of what’s happening around me in the studio and is actually what I find most exciting about art making. This also gives an opportunity for the works of art to reveal themselves in various forms giving scope for transformation and imagination.

Where does the inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from the very small and unnoticed experiences, emotions and objects in the landscape of our mind, body and our surroundings.

To what extent has your studies abroad changed your approach to arts?

Studying Abroad has brought a paradigm shift in the way that I started thinking about my art practice. I have discovered a sense of freedom in my practice and that creating art is not just a means for personal expression but also to create meaningful experiences and spacial wisdom for my viewers.

What are some of your favorite projects you are proud to have been a part of in your career? 

The projects that have been the most exciting for me so far, would be my immersive installations made from paintings on translucent paper and metal drawings. I have had the opportunity to exhibit them at the Paine and Bakalar gallery, Boston, USA, Railroad gallery in upstate New York and at the Visual art gallery in the Habitat centre, New delhi India. The whole process of creating, installing and eventually viewing them in a space put together is overwhelming and at the same time fascinating for me both as an artist and a viewer. The conversation is manifested in how process and materials have their say in what they become and how they communicate with their audience.

What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?

I hope that while experiencing my artworks, the viewer is more aware of the visual field around them, their surroundings while passing by, noticing the small details, lines, dots, marks, shadows and light. My paintings reflect the mechanics of human perception, vision and cognition. I am hoping for my viewers to really start seeing the richness and the complexity of the visual world around us.

How has your everyday life as an artist changed during pandemics?

I am spending a lot more time indoors as I used to, the pandemic has given me a good amount of quality time to look inside and reflect upon all the recent influences that I have gathered over the years.

How do you feel about being involved in an online residency program? How important is it to stay connected with the international art community?

At first, the idea seemed a bit vague as the whole point of a residency for me was to step out into a foreign space with new artists and opportunities to explore. However, now that I am almost done with the online art residency with the Belgrade Art studios, I feel I have achieved a great amount of momentum and inspiration in my work. The conversations have been refreshing and meeting new artists is always inspiring. I believe that it is very necessary to keep in touch with the international artist community, the collaborations , dialogue exchange and exhibitions are crucial for my artistic career at this point.

What are your thoughts about the theme ‘artist on standby’? Tell us a bit more about your project…

I like the idea of ‘stand-by’ as a state of readiness or preparedness. I have been resonating with the sense of urgency it imposes as if nothing is completely static in the hope that the task may begin promptly. It reminds me of the calm before a storm, or the little vibrations that one may feel before a great idea is about to emerge. It is something that I believe is in subtle movement, swinging between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

My idea for the artist project is to create a sculpture, by taking glimpses of ‘movements’ sent in by the participants in the residency and drawing them into physical sculptural lines. These sculptures will integrate together to create an installation that will stand free and independent of a wall structure. I am interested in creating this big movement to make up for the underwhelming amount of movement I have experienced in the past one year.

What do you want to achieve before things return to normal?

I am going to be finishing some personal projects like some of the large on-going paintings that I didn’t get the time to work on otherwise amidst exhibitions/residencies/travel.

Any future plans/projects?

I will be working on some commissioned projects that had been on hold previously due to the pandemic.