Lot 94
  • 94

Subodh Gupta

70,000 - 90,000 GBP
116,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Subodh Gupta
  • Untitled
  • Signed in Devanagari and dated '05' on reverse
  • Oil on canvas


Sotheby's London, 2 May 2008, lot 85

Catalogue Note

This canvas belongs to the Saat Samundar Paar (Across The Seven Seas) series of works that centre around the theme of people in transit. Usually seen in airports and railway stations, Gupta depicts the migrant workers and their distinctive luggage. Wrapped in cardboard or bound in cloth, their precious possessions are tied with rope and piled high atop taxis and trolleys. The parcels represent the livelihoods and aspirations of this transient part of society. As with many of Gupta's works the status of these everyday objects are transformed into works of art and propelled across a global stage. 'He glorifies the lovingly swaddled bundles, making them central to his paintings.' (Meera Menezes, 'Made in India', ART India Magazine, Volume X, Issue III, Quarter III, 2005, p. 72). Through his works, Gupta highlights the plight of the rural migrant worker and their position within an increasingly globalised society. Gupta was born and raised in Bihar, a marginalised state with a history of social injustice and corruption. Like the workers that he portrays, Gupta has made the move from rural Bihar to the metropolis of Delhi.

Following on from the canvases depicting luggage, Gupta went on to produce a group of sculptures and installations that highlighted the journey that these wrapped packages took. These wrapped and packaged parcels remind one of Man Ray's cloaked sewing machine and Christo's monumental wrapped objects.This series of works represent the role of the Indian emigrant, who leaves for another country with hope, materialistic yearnings and nationalist pride. (Peter Nagy, 'Transitory Indecisions and Fluctuating Monuments' Subodh Gupta, Nature Morte and Sakshi Gallery, 2006, unpaginated).