Subodh Gupta

My work is about where I come from. But at the same time, the expansion of the art world means that, to a certain extent, everything is shrinking together, and you have to be aware of international discourse in your work. The objects I work with "refer to the current state of India's shifting society, migration, a sense of home and place, and the effects and frictions caused by a rapidly globalizing society." The transition in my work "from organic . . . to manufactured . . . has traced my own migration to the mainstream of art culture of urban India." Art language is the same all over the world, which allows me to be anywhere.

Like eighty percent of the population in India, I grew up carrying my lunch in the kinds of tiffin pots featured in my work."I am the idol thief. I steal from the drama of Hindu life. And from the kitchen.-these pots, they are like stolen gods, smuggled out of the country. Steel. . . first started seeping into Indian households where I was boy of about eleven or twelve . . . It was the new metal that . . . new Temples of Modernity were churning out . . . Insidiously, it was entering our hearth and home."Hindu kitchens are as important as prayer rooms. These pots are like something sacred, part of important rituals, and I buy them in a market.
Buckets are also very resonant to me. Where I grew up, big families lived together, and taking the bucket meant that you were going to bathe. It's all creating a juxtaposition between the personal and something bigger. These days…sushi restaurants are opening up all over India, indicating how…the history of the Silk Route, a route of trade across India and Asia, goes back centuries. The objects I pick already have their own significance. I put them together to create new meanings.


Born in 1964, Subodh Gupta was raised in the Bihar railway town of Khagaul in India. He studied art at school, although they had no teacher. Instead, the children would meet to talk, read books, and make art, learning from each other. In 1988, Gupta earned a BFA in painting from the College of Arts and Crafts, Patna University in Bihar. Since 1990, he has lived and worked in New Dehli, India.
Subodh Gupta has exhibited his work worldwide; he has had solo exhibitions at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (2008) and Bodhi Art Gallery, Mumbai, India (2007), and he has exhibited with Arsenal at the 51st Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2005). His work can be found in many public collections such as the Charles Saatchi Collection, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Dehli, India.

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