Born in Khagual, Bihar in 1964, Subodh Gupta has quickly risen to prominence as one of India’s leading contemporary artists. Despite formal training as a painter, the New Delhi-based artist experiments with a variety of media, including sculpture, installation, photography, performance and video.
Gupta’s current exhibition at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery demonstrates the great breadth of his practice, presenting works that encompass all of these mediums. The golden thread between them is that for which Gupta is best known – the “Duchampian” incorporation of everyday items and found objects into his art as a tool to emphasize the effects of cultural dislocation in the era of shifting powers; in particular, the impact of globalisation on the traditional values of everyday life in India.
Entitled Seven Billion Light Years—in reference to mankind’s current population and the incomprehensible distance between our mortal lives and the infinite cosmos—the exhibition continues the artist’s investigation into the mysterious intricacies of our daily lives.
These ideas are best culminated in Gupta’s large-scale installation in the main gallery space. Comprised of hundreds of tarnished aluminium and copper kitchen utensils—pots, pans, buckets and vessels—This is not a fountain (2011-2013) stretches twelve feet across the gallery floor. Multiple faucets are placed throughout the installation, releasing a constant flow of water over the utensils. The installation references the prevalence of class inequality in India, despite the country’s continued growth and modernization.
On view through April 25, the exhibition runs concurrently with After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997, a highly anticipated exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art that features a major work by Gupta.
Works from the exhibition Seven Billion Light Years.
—Sophie Wallace, February 2015