A huge, glittering silver bookshelf displays 100 silver book covers with no pages. The 100 covers are from actual books, written by authors who adopted pseudonyms to protect their identity or were asked to adopt pseudonyms to conform to social mores.
The authors, therefore, include some who wrote sexually explicit material and therefore did not want their real names revealed. And others such as 19th century British novelist Mary Anne Evans, who wrote as George Eliot so that she would be taken more seriously by her readers, and, more recently, JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, who was asked by her publisher to use her initials and not her full name, Joanne Kathleen, so that young boys do not dismiss her books as girly.
The installation, by renowned artist Shilpa Gupta, is titled Someone Else. “It talks about the need to hide one’s identity, in the current social structure.”
Someone Else is one of 10 installations that are part of an exhibition of the same name, being staged at Chemould Prescott Road, Fort, from January 21 to February 16.
“Like all my exhibitions, this one, too, engages the viewer and seeks to make them think about human behaviour in present-day society,” says the artist, who has shown her works at various exhibitions and art biennales in cities such as Basel and Venice. This is Gupta’s first show in Mumbai in four years.