India’s Power Couple: Artists Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta
Internationally recognized, Subodh Gupta has participated in exhibitions with many prestigious institutions including, Arken Museum of Modern Art (2012), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2012), Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (2011), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2010) and Tate Britain (2009). In 2013, he is participating in shows with the Kunstmuseum Thun, Thun (February - April), Center of Contemporary Art, Malaga (June -September) and Centre Pompidou, Paris (October-September).
Magic Wands, proves Gupta's knack for identifying common objects that reveal the inherent flaws of over simplifying the differences between urban and rural, rich and poor, tradition and modernity, East and West. In true surrealist style, the artist employs the "commonness" of the bamboo stick to breakdown these dichotomies. Bamboo is a traditional building material of rural North India and here it serves as commentary on the urbanization of India since the 1990s. This is something he has experienced first-hand; living in Gurgaon a satellite city south of New Delhi that has seen the full onslaught of call centers, gated communities and corporate clusters. In essence, Gupta's Magic Wands cast in gleaming chrome plated aluminum magically transform dust (rural wasteland) to gold (an urban capitalist oasis).
Reminiscent of Eva Hesse's 1968 installation Accretion, Magic Wands synthesizes oppositional ideas in response to changing times. In both works, the combination of message and medium is as playful as it is critical, providing visual delight while scrutinizing national and global, social and economic concerns. "[...] Gupta offers something fresh and poetic: a socio-cultural examination that translates the local into a global language, focusing on shared values and universal symbols." (I. Panicelli, 'Subodh Gupta', ArtForum, September 2011, p. 345). Gupta's ability to cross national boundaries has brought him much recognition and many devoted international collectors.
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Subodh Gupta: Gandhi's Three Monkeys, exhibition catalogue, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, 2008, p. 91 (another edition illustrated)
P. Nagy, V. Bharadvaja & Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi, 2006, p. 28 (another edition illustrated)
Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Sometimes dubbed India’s Damien Hirst, Subodh Gupta is one of India’s leading contemporary artists, who creates mainly large-scale sculptures and installations (from stainless steel Indian kitchenware and other found objects) that address the country’s changing social landscape. Arranging traditional utensils, pots, and pans according to a Minimalist aesthetic, Gupta approaches readymade items with Duchampian irony, while also offering social commentary. His monumental sculpture U.F.O. (2007) is comprised of brass water utensils fused together in the form of a shiny U.F.O.-like object, suggesting cultural dislocation and otherness, while pointing to vast disparities in wealth across the subcontinent. Gupta’s installation piece Date by Date (2008) presents a spare and run-down office with worn wooden tables, old chairs, typewriters, and frayed files, an environment that has weathered the impact of time, poverty, and rapid change.
Indian, b. 1964, Khagaul, India, based in New Delhi, India