Subodh Gupta: Take off your shoes and wash your hands
- Talitha Kotzé
- 3 November 2010
Magpie collection of splendid things by Indian art superstar explores changing cultural life of India
Coinciding with the handover of the Commonwealth Games from Delhi to Glasgow, Tramway is showcasing a magpie collection of splendid shiny things by Indian art superstar Subodh Gupta.
Take off your shoes and wash your hands consists of four works. Glittering on the long wall, a 27 metre-long sleek installation of kitchenware is neatly displayed on stainless steel shelves. Incubating under the light of a plush chandelier lie a cluster of large-scale eggs, each meticulously welded from stainless steel kitchen utensils. At the other end of the gallery stands a tall constellation of brass finials of various heights and spun together with a knotted mess of thin white rope. This extraneous material degrades the power of the sacred-looking objects. In the far corner, like a portal to another dimension, stands a larger-than-life thali dish propped up to reflect a mirror image of the entire exhibition. The viewer’s own body stands firmly in the foreground. This is a numinous addition to an otherwise materialistic range of objects.
Gupta frequently uses everyday objects such as the paraphernalia of the Indian kitchen to allude to the changing cultural life of India. The grandiose statements of the work – dealing with complex subject matter such as cultural identity, globalisation, political and economic change – can overshadow the sheer beauty and pleasure of the sculptures themselves.
Although sparsely placed around the space, each serenely glittering piece becomes a monumental object that commands contemplation. Their collective potency fills the gallery with radiating metallic light.
Tramway, Glasgow, until Sun 12 Dec