Lot 71
  • 71

Subodh Gupta

500,000 - 700,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Subodh Gupta
  • Saat Samunder Paar VII
  • signed, titled and dated 2003 on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 66 x 90 in. 167.4 x 228.6 cm.


Gallery Nature Morte, New Delhi
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2003 


New Delhi, Gallery Nature Morte, Subodh Gupta, Ranbir Kaleka and Manesha Parekh an apparent calm which is in fact a perfectly balanced tension, May - June 2003

Catalogue Note

Subodh Gupta is one of the most important Contemporary artists to emerge from India in a generation.  His innovative vision, instantly recognizable style and wide international following have led some observers to proclaim him "The Damien Hirst of Delhi." Works such as Curry, 2005 which was featured at the 2005 Venice Biennale and Very Hungry God, 2006 displayed prominently outside the Palazzo Grassi have attracted effusive critical praise. Furthermore, this year, exhibitions including his work at The Saatchi Gallery, Frank Cohen's Initial Access, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, The Serpentine Gallery and the Devi Art Foundation attest to Subodh's appeal to collectors and curators both inside and outside of India.

The present work comes from a series the artist completed in 2003 entitled Saat samundar paar, or "Across the Seven Seas." In these works, Subodh depicts scenes from bustling airports, thereby tapping into a theme central to his entire oeuvre: man's experience in contemporary society. Evoking a Hindi idiom referring to the distance one should travel in the search for happiness or the distance travelers come to reach India, the title realizes new significance in the context of the 21st century. As Peter Nagy notes on this series, "when viewing Gupta's paintings we are forced to ask ourselves if the journey is at its very beginning or is it reaching its close? Are the subjects coming, going, or hung in the purgatory of delayed departures or early arrivals? An interstitial point both in space and time, the airport signifies both exhilaration and anxiety, the tedious boredom that accompanies the most extreme physical dislocation. Today, the airport is only barely the domain of the elite it once was, becoming more akin to the train station or bus depot used by the mass populace." (Peter Nagy & Raqs Media Collective, Subodh Gupta, New Delhi, 2005, p. 6)

In Saat samundar paar VII, Subodh's iconic luggage-packed trolley takes center stage, while the figures in the background remain conspicuously inconspicuous, softly fading into the background as anonymous foils to the colorful star of the composition. Here, man is subordinate to the gleaming idol of luggage, painted crisply, bright and precisely detailed. The artist's critique is multi-faceted referencing myriad contemporary themes including the effects of capitalism, globalization, media dependency, pop-idolatry, the collision of tradition with modernity and ultimately, man's self awareness. As such, the importance of the concepts explored in the Saat samundar paar series cannot be underestimated in the context of Subodh's oeuvre.  Indeed, in these works, "Gupta's ultimate interest, the trolleys with luggage, are fleshed out completely, painted in a realistic manner. As if to say that we are nothing more than the commodities we drag around with us: 'I Pack Therefore I Am.'" (ibid. p. 7)