'There are many things in my baggage, I am the idol thief. I steal from the drama of Hindu life.' (Subodh Gupta in conversation with Christopher Mooney published in Art Review Issue 17 )
Gupta works in a wide range of mediums from sculpture and painting to installation, photography, video and performance. The common theme across these various forms is that he elevates the status of mundane objects or scenes of everyday life in India to striking contemporary images that are accessible internationally. Born in Khagaul, a small rural town in Bihar, and now living and working in New Delhi, Gupta draws from his own experiences of the stark contrast present in a country which combines rural poverty and isolation with growing global urbanization. The current painting as with many of his works make references to luggage and to travel. His sculptures, paintings and installations are populated with oversized bundles tied with rope that allude to migrant workers who return to rural India with the consumer goods that reflect aspirations of their communities. The luggage is a symbol of transition that highlights the polarities of their existence, the contrast between traditional and modern India, between urban and rural, and between rich and poor. An artist with an acute social consciousness, Gupta portrays these polarities with an affectionate compassion.
'Subodh is very good at selecting icons and symbols, there is something of the way Gandhi worked here. Gandhi used the very simple elements of salt or homespun cotton to overturn a colonial empire. Subodh uses pots, bicycles and milk pails to talk about the great changes occurring in India today... And these symbols that Subodh uses, act as flashpoints for this in-between moment.' (Peter Nagy in discussion with Christopher Mooney published in www.artreview.com )
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