Subodh Gupta Biography

Based in Gurgaon, North India, Subodh Gupta is a leading contemporary artist best known for large-scale, mostly metallic, sculptures incorporating everyday objects that are commonplace across India.

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Born in Bihar, Subodh Gupta started in street theatre before turning to art as a profession. He initially trained as a painter at the College of Art and Craft in Patna, graduating with a BFA in 1983. However, he has become known over the past few decades for his installations that incorporate objects, found or altered in the spirit of Duchampian irony.

Subodh Gupta's wife, the London-born artist Bharti Kher, whom the artist met in the 1990s, motivated the then-struggling painter to change mediums. Soon after meeting Kher, he began experimenting with sculpture. Subodh Gupta's first installation, 29 Mornings (1996), comprised of 29 stools. Not only a ubiquitous everyday object, the stools linked back to the artist's childhood, when he used to have meals on wooden stools.

This approach has formed the basis of Subodh Gupta's sculptures. Using familiar objects from Indian households and daily life, the artist evokes his childhood while making poignant social commentary. In many of Subodh Gupta's works, he incorporates a range of pots, pans, and cooking utensils purchased from scrap merchants.

Subodh Gupta's Very Hungry God (2006) comprises various stainless steel utensils arranged in the shape of a massive skull—an echo of Damien Hirst's iconic skull work (ironically, Gupta has been described as India's Damien Hirst). Similarly, Subodh Gupta's Line of Control (2008) presents a mushroom cloud of kitchen vessels. While such items were dominant in the artist's childhood, they also reflect India's economic transformation and the trade-off of culture for materialism.

Not limited to the found object, Gupta has produced a range of figurative and Minimalist sculptures, predominantly in stainless steel but also in bronze, marble, brass, and wood. He has also worked with LED lights on occasion. In Birth of a Star (2016), what appears to be a stainless steel sphere is squeezed down the middle by a band of LED light.

As Gupta explained in conversation with Tess Maunder for Ocula Magazine, drawing from his theatre background, Gupta's work 'often has a strong performative element.' This ranges from the mud-based performance piece Pure (1999) to the performance for the opening of Gupta's solo show Anhad/Unstruck at Famous Studio, Mumbai, in 2016, in which performers stared out at viewers through cracks from inside the sculpture Aakash, Patal, Dharti/Space, Depth, Surface (2016).

Subodh Gupta's art practice extends beyond sculpture and installation to video and painting. Subodh Gupta's paintings are mostly hyper-realistic renditions of the objects and material memories that are the subjects of his broader body of work. In some paintings, he also incorporates LED lights. Subodh Gupta's studio in Gurgaon has seen a diverse array of artworks pass through its doors as the artist continues to experiment across mediums.

Subodh Gupta Solo Exhibitions include:

Adda/Rendezvous, Monnaie de Paris (2018); From the earth, but not of it, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy (2017); Everyday Divine, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016); When Soak Becomes Spill, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2015); Everything is Inside, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (2014); Faith matters, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kyiv (2010); Silk Route, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England (2007).

Subodh Gupta Group Exhibitions include:

Celebrating 800 years of Spirit and Endeavour, Salisbury Cathedral, England (2020); We the People, Albright-Knox, Buffalo, New York (2018); No Place like Home, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2017); SUB-PLOTS: Laughing in the Vernacular, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai (2017); The Body in Indian Art, National Museum, New Delhi (2014); Contemplating The Void, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010); Chalo! India: A new era of Indian Art, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2008).

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021

Subodh Gupta
featured artworks

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Untitled by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork painting
Subodh Gupta Untitled, 2021 Oil on canvas
229 x 193 cm
Arario Gallery Request Price & Availability
Start.Stop. by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork sculpture
Subodh Gupta Start.Stop., 2008 Conveyor belt, motors, stainless steel and brass utensils
157 x 420 cm
Arario Gallery Request Price & Availability
Nature Morte by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork sculpture
Subodh Gupta Nature Morte, 2010 Marble, wood and duvet
Arario Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Subodh Gupta Untitled, 2013 Oil on canvas
30 x 40 x 0.5 cm
Arario Gallery Request Price & Availability
7:15 pm by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Subodh Gupta 7:15 pm, 2013 Oil on canvas
20 x 38 x 2.5 cm
Arario Gallery Request Price & Availability
Landscape (I) by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Subodh Gupta Landscape (I), 2022 Oil on linen
198 x 209 cm
Arario Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Subodh Gupta Untitled, 2013 Oil on canvas
25 x 30 x 2.5 cm
Arario Gallery Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Subodh Gupta contemporary artwork painting
Subodh Gupta Untitled, 2011 Oil on canvas
152 x 152 cm
Hauser & Wirth Request Price & Availability
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Subodh Gupta
recent exhibition

Represented by these
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Arario Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea
Arario Gallery Seoul, Shanghai, Cheonan
Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong
Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris +7

Subodh Gupta in
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