ARPITA SINGH (B. 1937) AND PARAMJIT SINGH (B. 1935)
ARPITA SINGH (B. 1937) AND PARAMJIT SINGH (B. 1935)
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ARPITA SINGH (B. 1937) AND PARAMJIT SINGH (B. 1935)

Words Can Fly

Details
ARPITA SINGH (B. 1937) AND PARAMJIT SINGH (B. 1935)
Words Can Fly
signed and dated ‘ARPITA SINGH 1999’ (lower right) and ‘PARAMJIT SINGH ‘99’ (lower left)
acrylic and oil on canvas
36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm.)
Painted in 1999
Provenance
Art Today, New Delhi
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1999
Exhibited
New Delhi, Art Today, Two for Two Thousand, 1999

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Lot Essay

In 1999, the curator Aman Nath approached fourteen well-known artist couples based in India, asking them to collaborate on a work of art. These jointly created works were then exhibited in the show Two for Two Thousand, which Nath put together for the gallery Art Today in New Delhi to commemorate the turn of the millennium. Part of this commission, the present painting by Arpita Singh and her husband Paramjit Singh effectively fuses the strengths, styles and concerns of both the artists in a single frame.

“In all the works the marrying of each spouse's individual style has been rather ingeniously done. For example, in the lush green expanse of a typical Paramjit Singh grotto sit an equally identifiable Arpita Singh couple reading a book. A toy plane in the sky lends both light and the title Words Can Fly” (S. Kalidas, ‘Couple Colours’, India Today online, 20 December 1999, accessed July 2022).

Here, against Paramjit’s lush green landscape, animated by his consummate handling of brush and pigment, Arpita paints a middle-aged couple dressed in white, seated side by side on a bright pink couch. As the man reads a book, the woman looks at it over his shoulder, wondering perhaps if she can transport herself somewhere else through the words on the page. In this context, it seems as if the landscape around her and plane above it have been conjured up in her imagination, as she wonders about escaping her current situation. While Arpita’s characters imagine life beyond the constraints of domesticity, and planes that can whisk them away from their sorrows, Paramjit gives life to an idyllic alternative world in which they may experience freedom from the obligations that weigh them down, even if only momentarily.

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