Acquired from the above by the current owner circa 2000s
New York, Jack Shainman Gallery, Bharti Kher - An Absence of Assignable Cause, 15 - 22 November 2007
Bharti Kher is a trans-cultural artist, drawing experiences from both her British and Indian roots. Born in London and trained in Newcastle, Kher is a rare reverse émigré who moved back to India from the United Kingdom in 1992 at the age of 23, having not set foot on Indian soil for almost twenty years. As a successful female artist with a western upbringing, Kher questioned her complex identity in her new modern Indian surroundings. These questions are inevitably entwined into her ethnographic observations of contemporary Indian life. "Upon my return to India I became increasingly interested in the mental space and sociological issues going on in the home environment" (Ziba Ardalan, 'Second Skin that Speaks of Truth,' Bharti Kher, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, 2012, p. 17). ‘She decided to investigate in depth the life of Indian women, the protagonists of the home, their condition and place within the society.’ (ibid.)
As demonstrated in the current work 'Kher's creative language is universal. It is also rich and profuse, mainly due to her experience of life within various cultures. The titles of her works are intriguing and bring with them a sense of and desire for the storytelling narrative that is prevalent in much of her work.' (ibid.). The title of the current work Belladonna the literal translation from Italian being 'beautiful woman'. The mirrored dressing table with lipstick and high-heels is a comment on gender stereotypes and the perception of women both in the East and the West. The work highlights the daily rituals women have to perform to be regarded as beautiful within a patriarchal society. Kher’s work often displays a ‘pluralism, with ancient Indian customs juxtaposed with modern Western values’ which reveal how although ‘increasingly receptive to foreign influence, many Indians still remain reverent of their own culture in an overtly conspicuous fashion. This clash of cultures is very apparent to Kher - a British-born child of the Indian Diaspora who has, in contrast to dominant outward migration trends, moved to India as an adult.’ (Indian Highway, Serpentine Gallery, London, December 2008, p. 106).
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