Subodh Gupta’s extraordinary sculptures using everyday Indian objects

Jal Mein Kumbh, Kumbh Mein Jal Hai (2012) © Subodh Gupta / Hauser & Wirth, photo: Geneviève Hanson.

Dubbed the ‘sub-continental Marcel Duchamp’ for his elevation of everyday articles into art, contemporary Indian artist Subodh Gupta’s work touches on the social and economic situation of present-day India.

Lunch boxes, tin cans, tiffin lunch boxes, thali pans, bicycles and milk pails are all transformed into breathtaking sculptures. A reflection of the economic transformation of his homeland, his works display the juxtaposition between ancient and modern culture, tradition and change.

A new book of his work, Subodh Gupta offers in-depth essays written by art critics and specialists in Gupta’s work, as well as a new annotated chronology summarising his career.

The book follows the first retrospective dedicated to Subodh Gupta in France, which took place at the Monnaie de Paris earlier this year. The exhibition retraced Gupta’s entire career, from the early days in the 1990s to his latest experimentations with video and sound, presenting artworks from public and private collections including the iconic aluminum car, Doot; Very Hungry God, a skull made out of steel utensils to underline the need to feed an always hungrier god and Faith Matters, a sushi conveyer belt carrying an array of tiffin boxes.

The new book includes these, as well as the new version of Specimen No. 108, a monumental, steel Banyan tree specially produced for the courtyard of the Monnaie de Paris, Jal Mein Kumbh, Kumbh Mein Jal Hai (The Water Is in the Pot, and the Pot Is in the Water), and Two Cows, inspired by the distribution of milk across India.

Subodh Gupta was born in 1964 in Khagual, Bihar. He studied at the College of Art, Patna before moving to New Delhi where he currently lives and works. Trained as a painter, he went on to experiment with a variety of media and is now one of India’s most well-known artists. His work has stood out in major international biennials and been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions across Asia, Europe and America.

The book Subodh Gupta will be available through Skira from December.

Faith Matters (2007-2008), © Subodh Gupta / Hauser & Wirth, photo : Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich.

Faith Matters (2007-2008), © Subodh Gupta / Hauser & Wirth, photo : Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich.

Birth of a Star (2016), © Subodh Gupta / Nature Morte, New Delhi.

Birth of a Star (2016), © Subodh Gupta / Nature Morte, New Delhi.

In This Vessel Lies the Philosopher’s Stone (2017), © Subodh Gupta / GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana, photo : Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio.

In This Vessel Lies the Philosopher’s Stone (2017), © Subodh Gupta / GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana, photo : Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio.