Lot 81
  • 81

G. Ravinder Reddy

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
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  • G. Ravinder Reddy
  • Untitled (Red Head)
  • Polyester, resin fiberglass and paint
  • 197 x 158 x 117 cm. (62 ¼ x 77 ½ x 46 in.)
  • Cast in 2007


Acquired directly from the artist's studio in 2007


Small abrasions and minor losses to the painted surface are visible upon very close inspection. Black spots of paint are present on the woman's left cheek but appear inherent. Minute surface cracks are visible on the woman's right eyebrow and right eye. Cracks are observed around the base of the sculpture, but the work is stable and in good overall condition, as viewed.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

“I strive for something iconic and monumental that transcends the boundaries of culture, nature and geography." (R. Reddy quoted in P. Raina, Ravinder Reddy Loves Women, India Ink: The New York Times, 2012, https://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/india/2012/02/10/ravinder-reddy-loves-women/?referer=)
Born in 1956, at the outset of American and British Pop Art movements, Ravinder Reddy studied contemporary art at the M.S. University of Baroda before moving to London to study at Goldsmiths College and the Royal College of Art. Here he developed his much heralded sculptural style, a unique fusion between Western pop art sensibilities and Indian folkloric tradition.
Drawing from the work of pop artists like Andy Warhol, he adopted a fondness for reiteration, the application of bright blocks of opaque color, and the use of distilled images—a woman, a tree, a leaf—as iconographic cultural statements. Ingeniously, Reddy realises his work by connecting American aesthetics (one of which is clearly the gargantuan “super” size of the sculpture itself) with an assortment of deeply revered non-Western art historical traditions. The bulbous heads, broad noses, and wide painted eyes of lot 67 Head and lot 66 Red Head are references to ancient Greek and Egyptian sculpture. The sculptures’ gender and ornamentation—elaborate traditional gajras hairstyle, bejeweled noses, boldly painted lips—demonstrate Reddy’s greatest influence: traditional religious and societal depictions of Indian women. Referencing both the classical female nudes that envelop ancient Hindu temple facades and painted depictions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as well as the endless proliferation of media images depicting coquettish Bollywood idols, Reddy’s women are both timeless and contemporary.
Reddy’s preoccupation with the female form is not simply a delight in the sensual, though the nudity, voluptuousness, and gold tint of his full-bodied sculptures are certainly erotic. Instead, Reddy’s representation of iconic Indian female beauty is so overtly visible it becomes confrontational. In a cultural time and space where the female body is a political site of contention between traditionalism and modernism, Reddy re-appropriates both the sensual and the sacred to make a reflection of the young Indian women as a riotous collision between Indian history and Indian present. His work therefore steps beyond gender to comment upon the cultural discordance that globalisation has brought to his nation.
'Suspended between the urban and the rural Reddy's sculpture is a cultural hybrid. This interplay between societies has been of interest to Reddy; combining the stimulus of the old and the new he turns an iconic object into one of satirical social commentary - the classical form of Indian sculpture overlaid with the visual ethic of popular culture, becomes voluptuous, and accessible.' (DaimlerChrysler Collections: A Dialogue, DaimlerChrysler Contemporary exhibition catalogue, Berlin, 2007, p. 52)
Head and Red Head are beautiful illustrations of Reddy’s defining style; in Head opulent gold leaf covers bronze, while Red Head arrests the viewer with a clash of crimson and emerald. Both sculptures, with their complex hairstyles and golden earrings, surpass classic representations of domesticated femininity or modern sexuality by encompassing both in their omnipotent gaze, striving instead to serve as a holistic symbol of the Indian woman.
Reddy was one of the first contemporary Indian artists to draw critical attention in the United States following solo exhibitions in 2001 at Deitch Projects in New York, the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC, and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. His works have been shown widely throughout India and internationally including Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers (2002), the House of World Cultures, Berlin (2005), the Daimler Chrysler Contemporary Museum, Berlin (2007), Institut València d'Art Modern (2009), the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago (2011) and the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (2012).