Seven Billion Light Years by New Delhi based artist Subodh Gupta is now exhibiting at Hauser & Wirth. The exhibition retrospects the artist career with the showcasing of sculptures, installations, film, and new paintings. Gupta’s unique use of found objects we normally interact with in our daily lives serve as a representation of the dislocation in today’s cultures caused by the constant shift in power and globalization.The title of the exhibition refers to the population of seven billion humans living on planet earth and its cosmic inverse. The Seven Billion Light Years exhibition coexists with the Queens Museum’s After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997 exhibition, where Gupta’s latest work is now on display.
A new group of paintings titled Seven Billion Light Years is one of the highlights in the exhibition. Gupta used everyday kitchen utensils which are basic staples in homes throughout India as his subjects for the paintings.
‘The patterns we create through our diurnal scrapings, the marks we leave night and day, through rise and fall, joy and sorrow, on the surfaces of our ordinary domestic vessels that journey with us, sometimes for years. What we discover in the process are intricately crafted pieces of the cosmos’ Bhrigupati Singh
Another captivating piece in the show due to its grand display and back story is the Pure (I) installation; a piece that influenced Gupta’s continual exploration of everyday items as a representation of the cosmic power surrounding us.
Gupta collected household items from neighborhoods surrounding New Delhi including a hookah, and a pair of worn house slippers. These can be found sunk into a field taking over a spacious part of the gallery made up of mud. The visitors are welcome to explore and walk among the surface.
In a previous presentation in 1999, Gupta covered himself with mud and cow dung paste while laying on a similar field with artifacts, in the shavasana yoga pose. Cow dung is believed to hold cleansing powers and recognized as a symbol of purity in the Hindu faith. A collection of black and white portraits of the neighbors who donated artifacts for his original presentation accompanied the mud field installation at the gallery.
My Family Portrait consists of metal storage racks displaying both new stainless steel and old kitchen utensils common to middle class Indian homes. This work relates to our daily life rituals and supports his idea that the dishes we used can tell our personal histories and lived experiences.
Aam is a realistic display of mango replicas cast in bronze, and hand painted by the artist. It was so realistic, that I felt the temptation to touch. “Here, bronze serves as a rich metaphor for the almost unbearable tension between luxury and depletion, accumulation and deprivation.”
The gallery dedicated a solo room to ‘This is not a fountain’ a grand scale sculpture that measures 12 feet, made up of an assortment of kitchen items such as pots, buckets, and pans. Flowing water streams down over the empty pots to unknown surfaces. ‘This is not a fountain’ relates to the social and economic shift, & class inequalities impacting India.
Seven Billion Light Years will be on display and open to the public till April 25th at Hauser & Wirth 511 West 18th Street location.
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Photos By: Aesthetnik