Subodh Gupta - BRIC Theme Sale London Friday, April 23, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Art and Public, Geneva; acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Fabrice Bousteau, ed., Made by Indians, Paris, 2007, p. 450 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    "My work is about where I come from, but at the same time the expansion of the art world means that to a certain extent, everything is shrinking together, and you have to be aware of international discourse in your work."
    (Subodh Gupta)
    The above quotation reflects the deep sense of cultural entanglement present in Subodh Gupta's work, as an artist who aims to pay homage to the traditional accoutrements of the Indian rural and urban landscape whilst retaining a sense of unease over the intergration of Indian culture into the wider, Western Capitalist culture bloc.
    By taking found objects and making them the subject of his art. Gupta magnifies the symbolic significance of otherwise quotidian artefacts and contextualizes them within the framework of Indian cultural dilution. Gupta's focus on mundanities such as the milk bucket. the cutlery set, the bicycle and, in this instance, the baby pram, allows him, via the study of a single object, to draw universal conclusions about the current state of Indian society. By using items associated with travel, such as the baby pram, Gupta alludes to the staggering levels of outward migration in India. Being a vehicle into which infants are harnessed, it also highlights the preference of young, mobile Indian families to leave their native land, trading their culture for higher wealth and living standards. Yet Gupta's image simultaneously makes reference to returning natives, temporary migrants who left the family unit in order to find employment and provide for their loved ones. The returning worker, having been exposed to an outside culture, comes back with the material manifestations of gifts - which come in the form of commodities.
    In this composition we notice that the pram is folded and not in functional state, alludingin part to the fact that it is in transit - much like its human counterparts, the Indian working classes, whose perpetual migration leaves them in a constant state of travel. Furthermore, we are left to wonder, is the pram itself ever intended for use or not? Does it play an active role as a usable object? Is it merely a subject of fascination? throughout these interpretations rests the underlying cultural contrapposto to which Gupta so astutely points: that India is a country with a booming, youthful, and mobile population, in which the traditional symbols of Indian modesty - the spinning wheel, the dhoti, etc - are being replaced by the technically progressive innovations enjoyed by the Western consumer.
    Ultimately, Gupta's sculpturs force the viewer to contemplate widespread cultural phenomena through the lens of singular objects, These objects not only highlight the radical shift in both rural and urban symbols of daily life, but the shift in cultural, economic and tradtional values therein.


Untitled #12

Cast aluminium.
23.9 x 104.9 x 27.9 cm (9 1/2 x 41 2/5 x 11 in)
This work is from an edition of 3.

£35,000 - 45,000 

Sold for £55,250

BRIC Theme Sale

23-24 April 2010