Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bharti Kher's trans-national perspective

Bharti Kher’s creations tend to carry redemptive power in every new environs. They move from the morphed body to surfaces that are encoded with curious patterns of immigration, exile, and the crossing of existing boundaries. It’s apparent that her work locates itself at the crossroads of ecological and technological dystopias.

She is renowned for her usage of the ready-made bindi as a motif. The tiny red decorative dot with ritualistic significance serves as a means of transforming surfaces and objects. It brings to her practice a wide range of connotations and meanings in context of both historical and contemporary time frames. The bindi transcends its peculiar mass-produced diminutiveness to become a powerful symbolic and stylistic device, creating visual richness, leading to a multiplicity of meanings in her work.

The artist is also known for her majestic menagerie of resin-cast animals, covered with it. She makes with it large-scale, wall-based panels. If not working on those succinctly sensual abstract surfaces with the bindi, the artist turns to digital photography and sculpture for exploring kitsch and consumer culture.

Explaining the core of her practice, she has stated: “There is no fixed strategy in my work. When I made some works over the years, I couldn’t really hold the thread, which linked it all together… and then one day, being optimistic, I thought the world to be a positive place where all things co-existed chaotically and awkwardly as life marched on, so it was all right to lose the threads sometimes.” Her works have been featured in the much talked about traveling exhibition series, entitled ‘Chalo! India’ in Korea and Austria’s Essl Museum as well as in ‘Indian Highway’ held at Astrup Fearnley Museum, Norway.

To sum up, her trans-national perspective – based on her personal experiences and observations - engenders both personal and ethnographic observations of contemporary Indian life as well describing a long-term negotiation of her identity in India.

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