Monday, March 17, 2008
Subodh Gupta, Still, Steal, Steel
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
Jack Shainman Gallery is proud to present internationally renowned artist Subodh Gupta's second solo exhibition at the gallery titled Still, steal, steel. Here Gupta presents a new body of work including larger-than-life sized cast bronze, stainless steel sculptures and major paintings.
Subodh Gupta makes a transition of sorts in his own idiom and dialect in his latest work Gandhi's Three Monkeys. Here a tragic-comic PlayStation War Game is conjured up by sculptures of three soldier heads that are trimmed with eye shades, a mask and a helmet made of Indian brass utensils. The irony and wit in turning the mascot of a Man of Peace into a testament of violence causes these bronze sculptures to embody more subversive possibilities.
War is one of the themes in the exhibition that Gupta represents here with a 1 kilogram hexagon-shaped chunk of 24 carat gold by the same name. This perfect object is layered with meaning and disquiet; it addresses the viewer with a rather simple question: "How many kilos (of war) do you want?". 1 KG War, modest in scale, appears delicate and prized within its glass-topped and secured display case as to prevent it from reaching hands that may misuse it.
A pink Chimta (Untitled, 2008) adds a splash of color to the exhibition. While at first-glance, it resembles a cheerleader's pompom or party decoration. In fact it is made of thousands of "Chimtas", pincers used in every common Indian kitchen to make bread. Once more, Gupta takes from the everyday an object and subverts it to make a work that is electrifying in aesthetic and simplicity.
Gupta, in his new series of paintings, makes a transition in scale and style with "moving", crashing and falling utensils disrupting the surface of the picture. Another major sculptural installation consisting of a fifty foot long moving sushi belt carrying copper and brass containers used for serving food speaks of a city in motion.
Subodh Gupta navigates his chariot of transgressions in a cathartic pageant -that of a world constantly being lost /destroyed and yet emerging anew, reconfigured and reconstructed from its own debris.
Subodh Gupta has exhibited his work extensively throughout the world in major solo and group exhibitions including, The Venice Biennial, "Always a Little Further", curated by Rosa Martinez, "Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist's Eye", MCA Chicago, Chicago, IL, "Indian Summer", Ecole Nationale Superieure Des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, in 2005; "Venice-Istanbul", Istanbul Modern, Lille 3000, curated by Carolinne Negphygi, France, 2006; "Altered, Stitched and Gathered", P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, 2007. His work is concurrently on view at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, in the exhibition Distant Nearness. His works are included in numerous important public and private international collections.