Imagine you are looking in a mirror, admiring yourself, and it starts to vibrate, distorting your reflection. You are sent from an inner space of self to an outer reality. That’s how some of artist Subodh Gupta’s latest work makes you feel.
Gupta, born to a railway employee and a farmer’s daughter and raised in rural Bihar, is now a celebrated name globally, known for his work that uses everyday objects such as metal utensils to create giant installations that question the meaning of human existence and juxtapose the cosmos with the private worlds that each of us inhabit.
You can see some of his newest creations at an exhibition titled Anhad/Unstruck, his first solo show in the city in 10 years.
Seven large, dramatic works make up the exhibition, all of them crafted from his favourite medium — metal sheets and utensils.
In ‘Unstruck Sound’, a giant metal mirror vibrates with a loud clang and a jarring shimmer.
“Anhad is the sound of the universe and the sound within you. It can’t be created. It’s there,” Gupta says.
In ‘Aakash, Patal, Dharti/Space, Depth, Surface’, an 11-ft-tall box made from a patchwork of crushed utensils and shreds of scrap from tailors’ shops has 25 performers staring out at the viewer from between the gaps, challenging notions of internal and external space, viewing and viewership.
“We human beings live within our own utility in the universe, which we still haven’t been able to fathom. What is then our relationship with the vast universe,” Gupta asks.
A series of four paintings titled ‘In This Vessel Lay the Seven Seas, In It, Too, the Nine Hundred Thousand Stars’ is clearly an attempt to answer that last question.
Painted on metal sheets are what look like images of the cosmos. “The image is drawn from the various marks and lines that can be found on a used pan,” says Gupta. “Like the lines on one’s palm, the marks on each pan are distinct, telling you stories of what was made in it, with what emotion and how people lived in that world of theirs.”
That’s just one interpretation. Head over there this weekend and craft your own!
WHAT: Anhad/Unstruck, an exhibition of works by Subodh Gupta
WHERE: Famous Studio, Mahalaxmi
WHEN: December 10 to January 7, 11 am to 8 pm
ENTRY IS FREE