The work of Shilpa Gupta stems from an alertness to global politics and economics as they shape everyday aspects and experiences of life. The transcultural relevance of her work reflects the reach of her exploration of issues that are points of anxiety or contest in our globalized world. At the same time, her work has an almost conversational character, personal and even intimate.
Gupta’s works take form according to the conceptual foundation and concerns of each piece. This exhibition, primarily of new work commissioned for the exhibit, includes a video projection, mixed media installations, book works, large scale photography, and more. Her works often have a strong base in process or interactivity and many address charged situations in the lives of marginalized persons and groups.
In recent years, Gupta’s work has probed the polarities of anxiety and security as they manifest in a kind of formalized cultural mundanity of threat and defense. Amongst these is a new installation in which she reworks objects of everyday life - scissors, tweezers, plastic knives, cigarette lighters - confiscated from travelers as devices of potential danger by security services at Trudeau International Airport. A related concern in her work has been the intersecting issues of nations, borders, militarism and identity. These issues take on a distinct emphasis in a book of maps hand-drawn by Montreal residents, who were randomly approached in different parts of the city and asked, in French or English according to the language spoken by the participant, to “please draw a map of your country”. The ensuing maps delineate imprecise landmass and borders, even as they display diverse, discordant national identifications.
Shilpa Gupta (b.1976) lives and works in Mumbai, India where she has studied sculpture at the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts from 1992 to 1997.
Will we ever be able to mark enough? Galerie im TaxisPalais, Innsburg, Autriche. Commissaire: Renee Baert
Will we ever be able to mark enough? Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem; Cultuurcentrum, Bruges. Curated by Renee Baert
Will we ever be able to mark enough? Fonderie Darling, Montréal. Commissaire: Renee Baert