An artist's abode

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By Manav Gupta's apartment is filled with his own paintings and pieces he has designed himself, says Hoihnu Hauzel
  • Published 15.08.10

Artist and sculptor Manav Gupta loves collecting unusual objects. And his collection of oddities includes discarded and gnarled tree trunks and roots of fallen trees. He picks these up randomly and diligently carts them home.

What he does with them is even more interesting. He works on them for days, even carving on them, till they morph into utilitarian items like tables and chairs. Sometimes he simply lets the blocks of wood be and uses them like sculptures that he artfully displays in his home. His three bedroom apartment in Noida, on the fringes of Delhi, is outfitted with furniture made with sturdy roots and tree trunks.

Gupta and his wife are not souvenir hunters. So, the house is not cluttered with knick-knacks bought from their trips abroad. Instead, there are pieces that remind Gupta of his journey as an artist in Calcutta where he began his career from a tiny room. “I keep them lest I forget my roots,” he says.

Gupta moved from Calcutta (where he grew up) to Delhi in 1998. Since then Delhi has been home to him, his wife Sudeshna, their 13-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter. Gupta, 41, bought the ninth floor flat in Noida about six years ago.

Along with this flat, Gupta bought another apartment close by that he converted into his studio. “It’s peaceful and no traffic sounds disturb me while I am working,” he says.

Gupta has given the flat some trendy touches without making any structural changes. He ripped out the ordinary mosaic flooring and went for white marble instead. One section of the wall in his drawing room has very subtle imprints of leaves that he painstakingly created with his painting brush. He’s played with colours and painted the cupboards in his studio a vibrant green. The cupboards in the kitchen are painted in different shades of brown to give a wood feel.

Gupta says he’s house-proud and loves to create artwork for his home. This is evident at the main entrance which has a door that Gupta designed himself. The iron door has wrought-iron figures of human forms welded into it. Another attention-grabber here is a cheerful print of Gupta’s painting.

Step through the door and you might be forgiven for thinking that you’d accidentally stepped into an art gallery. The bright and airy living-room has three rows of Gupta’s paintings at different levels. One part of a wall is dedicated to his recent works. These paintings, he says firmly, will never be up for sale.

The dining table is eye-catching as its glass top is supported by tree trunks; (below) A glass top side-table with a chess board pattern is a conversation piece

The drawing room is lively with colourful cushions and furniture designed by Gupta. There’s a glass-topped side-table with a chess board pattern painted on it. The table has a lower level with another chess board complete with pawns. He loves an old wooden box that he picked up from a gas station and embellished with Persian script. The piece has been with him for over a decade now and he’s converted it into a mini bar.

The dining table again is a head-turner in the living-cum-dining room. The legs, shaped like dogs, are made from a chopped tree trunk making perfect use of the branches to support the glass top. The living room leads to the two bedrooms, both of which have balconies overlooking neighbouring apartments. Gupta’s sketches and acrylic paintings adorn the bedrooms.

His home studio also doubles up as his workstation with a computer in place. You can find tubes of acrylic paints neatly stacked in one corner. And of course, Gupta’s paintings on the walls pretty much sum up the look.

Gupta changes the look of his home every few years. The next look he says will be ultra-contemporary. But he will have to find the time to renovate. Right now he has his hands full as he’s preparing for forthcoming exhibitions. Between now and October he’s scheduled for an exhibition that will travel through Europe with 30 of his paintings. On his return in November, he will prepare for another in Bhutan. He says: “But before taking off again, I will take refuge at home to unwind and still my thoughts.”

Photographs by Rupinder Sharma