– Written by Anmari Botha
The popular Hauser and Wirth gallery situated in Chelsea NYC is currently hosting an instillation by New Delhi based artist, Subodh Gupta. Gupta is renowned for incorporating everyday objects to portray a message, relatable to Duchamp. The collection, Seven Billion Light years represents our Earths current population and the boundless distance between our mortal lives and the cosmos. Gupta uses objects that we are surrounded by everyday in order to project an idea of individualism. Regardless of the familiarity we associate with these objects, they are still unique. Yes, they are all utensils that are confined to the kitchen, yet they have an individual purpose, and so do us humans.
This is not a fountain 2011, old utensils, water, painted brass taps, PVC pipes, motor. 65x190x309 in
Pots and pans, pipes with plumbing, all piled in a white room. “This is not a fountain” (2011-2013) is an instillation that covers 25 feet across the gallery space. There is a slightly metallic smell in the room with only the sound of running water and a few gurgles. Each distressed looking pot, pan or tray has their own individual trace of soot, scuffs and dents. This is not a room containing a pile of metal, just as earth is not a planet hosting a mob of flesh.
Seven Billion Light Years II, 2014, Oil on canvas, found utensils, resin. 89x95x3 in
Sculpture is what made Gupta a national icon of India. He also shows great skill in painting. Throughout this show, we come across a series of large oil paintings, with the subject being, you guessed it, kitchen appliances. Here are several paintings of pans at a large scale. The 89×95 inch paintings abstracts the pans to almost an unrecognizable subject. On these larger than life paintings, the objects replicated in paint, are attached to the painting. The idea of individualism is also visually applicable here. The generic stove-top pan is used as subject matter for several large canvases, seen from the same composition and light, yet each painting is its own as well as part of a series.
“Hindu kitchens are as important as prayer rooms” says Gupta. Cooking is a culture, and culture is what makes us humans diverse. The idea of individualism is shown here with a creative Duchampian finesse. Now go and enjoy your uniquely prepared lunch!