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  • Provenance

    Nature Morte, New Delhi

  • Catalogue Essay

    Invisible People is a large pentaptych created by Bharti Kher in 2006. The work consists of five separate reflective aluminium panels layered with a plethora of felt bindis of varying shapes and sizes. The spot of vermilion on the forehead, long a marker of Indian, and specifically Hindu identity, appears here in its modern incarnation: a piece of adhesive fabric, available a variety of colours, shapes and combinations to suit every dress. This removable mark of identity has become a leitmotif in Kher's vocabulary, her signature. Used as a material to articulate and animate her intentions, the bindis act as a medium, much like paint or clay, but with an inherited narrative creating a second skin to her works. Kher, born in London, graduated in 1991 from Newcastle Polytechnic with a degree in painting. It was after moving to India in 1993, and confronting what it meant to be a woman in her adopted country, that she first created her bindi works. She is said to have had a moment of revelation on noticing a woman walking down the street with a sperm-shaped bindi on her forehead. Kher and her assistants meticulously collate and then apply each individual bindi by hand in vast groupings, so as to suggest abstract patterns on a micro and macro level. Reminiscent of images recorded by both satellites and microscopes, the arrangements that Kher creates here seem to hint at rich but anonymous organisms or forms, possibly the migratory flows and psychology of modern India.
     
    “Arranged in either orderly geometric patterns or organic, teeming masses, the bindis not only create visual richness but also allow for a multiplicity of meanings. There is an element of subversion – in using the bindi so prolifically on varied surfaces, Kher questions both its relevance as a marker of Indian identity and, shorn of its cultural moorings, as a metaphorical Third Eye enlightening the humdrum lives of Indian women today.”
    (Minhazz Majumdar, ‘Bharti Kher: Transformative Vision’, ArtAsiaPacific, No. 56,
    Nov/Dec 2007, pp. 134Ð39)

6

Invisible People

2006
Five panels: bindis on composite aluminium board.
Each: 245 x 122 cm (86 1/2 x 48 in).
Four panels signed, titled and dated 'Bharti Kher 2006 "Invisible People"' on the reverse of the backing; one panel signed and dated 'Bharti Kher 2006' on the reverse of the backing.

Estimate
£300,000 - 400,000 ♠ †

BRIC

14 - 15 April 2011
London