From a motorcycle cast entirely in bronze to a metallic sculpture of a village bicycle, ordinary objects are given deified status in Subodh Gupta: Everyday Divine, currently on display at NGV International until October 2016.
One of India’s pre-eminent contemporary artists, Gupta celebrates the vestiges of everyday life for many Indians and elevates the objects found on the street and in the home – including kitchen utensils, cow patties and luggage – to a position of spiritual worship. Reminiscent of religious offerings, these awe-inspiring metallic sculptures canonise often overlooked aspects of daily life.
Raised in a Hindu household, a religion that considers everything around us imbued with divinity, Gupta reflects on his Indian heritage whilst creating a space to contemplate universal themes of wealth disparity, consumerism, the environment and the common man.
“Subodh Gupta’s work inspires people to contemplate and appreciate the beauty in the ordinary of our everyday lives,” said Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV.
The exhibition comprises seven key works from Gupta’s oeuvre including; Cow 2003 (pictured), a bronze and aluminium sculpture of a life-size bicycle and milk pails, which represents the travels and travails of everyday village life, and This side is the other side 2001, a life-sized motorised scooter cast in gleaming bronze, which conjures images of India’s tension between old and new ways of living.
Further highlights include; Gober Ganesha 2004, a basket filled with bronzed cow patties. In this work, the patties take on the appearance of precious medallions – a glamorous image which is then juxtaposed against the common usage of cow dung in developing Indian communities, including as a fuel for fires lit for warmth and food.
Subodh Gupta: Everyday Divine is the artist’s largest presentation of work in Australia, and first solo project exhibition. The project is presented by the NGV in collaboration with New York-based art collector Larry Warsh, featuring works from his private collection.
Subodh Gupta: Everyday Divine
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to October 2016
For more information, visit: www.ngv.vic.gov.au for deatils.
Image: Installation view of Subodh Gupta: Everyday Divine – photo by Tom Ross