Chimta is an extraordinary example of Gupta’s unique artistic praxis: a grandly proportioned conglomeration of stainless steel and iron that seems to hover inexplicably between wall and ground. Composed of steel tongs, known as chimta, which are a traditionally used in the making of chapatti within Indian kitchens, Chimta wittily subverts the ostensibly banal purpose of an everyday item, elevating the tongs to the level of venerated artistic icon. This concept – the appropriation of a commonplace object as a work of art - arguably references the work of Marcel Duchamp, the artist whose ‘readymades’ altered the course of Twentieth Century art history. Yet there is an element of social commentary inherent within Gupta’s use of kitchen utensils, an idea reinforced by Ida Panicelli, “Domestic tools tied to the preparation of food inevitably brings into play the tension between accumulation and deprivation, a dichotomy certainly relevant to contemporary India… but one that is also meaningful around the globe.” (Ida Panicelli, ‘Subodh Gupta,’ in ArtForum, September 2011, New York NY, p. 345). Kitchenware has long been an abiding source of fascination for the artist, an influence distilled within Chimta in a brilliantly inventive manner through the cascade of tongs which seems to pulsate with a form of inner energy. Gupta recalled his childhood connection with the kitchen and its continuing importance within his art today, “I am particularly fond of kitchens. When I was a child, I considered it a place of worship, a kind of temple. For me, it is a place full of spirituality." (The artist cited in: Jérôme Neutres, Editor, New Delhi New Wave, Bologna 2007, p. 52.). Chimta appears to reflect this essence of sanctity and mysticism, inspiring wonder and awe within the onlooker in equal measure. Magnificently conceived in every respect, Chimta brilliantly epitomises the grandeur and sheer invention of Gupta’s works.
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