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No art without fire

Artist creates elaborate works by moving her canvas over a flame.

art and culture Updated: Apr 20, 2011 18:52 IST

Unlike other artists, Tripti Gupta has no tools. She has no pencils and pens, nor brushes and paints. Still, Tripti manages to create elaborate paintings by simply moving her blank canvas over a flame.

“I started in 1998, just by accident, and my technique has evolved since then. My current works are a far cry from the initial ones,” says Tripti, whose latest exhibit, PassionCompassion, is currently on display in the city.

Explaining her theme, she says, “India is losing its cultural touch. People are becoming more passionate about materialistic things. Moving back from the virtual to the real can renew one’s soul, so the works are spiritual too, in that sense.

Playing with fire
Over 12 years, Tripti has evolved and painstakingly improved her technique, burning herself several times in the process. “It’s very difficult because you can’t alter or correct the works. I’m still not perfect,” she says.

Tripti does abstract as well as figurative works, and has even managed to depict a range of colours like sepia, grey, yellow and black. “It comes from the use of many techniques like moving the paper sideways, the duration for which it is held over the flame and even the distance between the canvas and the flame,” she explains. At the preview of her exhibit, she even had a live demonstration of her work.

Although it appears fairly easy once a person has been familiarised with the technique, Tripti insists that some of her works have taken up to four to five days to create, saying, “A very large canvas can’t be held entirely over the flame, so very often, I’ve had to make it in parts, and then the whole thing comes together.” But surely they don’t all take that long, you ask. “No. The shortest ones have been completed in a matter of seconds,” she laughs.

PassionCompassion by Tripti Gupta is on display at Point of View Art Gallery, Colaba till May 10.