Friday, February 22, 2013

France honors Subodh Gupta

The French government has just bestowed the prestigious award of ‘Knight of the Order of Arts & Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on Subodh Gupta. The major honor comes in deserved recognition of this internationally renowned sculptor-artist from India whose remarkable originality and versatility has been largely inspired by the daily life of a country and its people on the move, even while maintaining distinct ties with France, a country where some of his earliest exhibits took place.

Playing with some very simple materials and objects drawn from daily life, he expertly makes them interact with each other to bestow an artistic dimension on them. His art oscillates constantly between the fantastic and the quotidian, a tin sheet deftly transformed into a mirror of the realities. He narrates life, its complex challenges and its drama by subtly shifting perspectives and also changing landmarks/scales. He and his partner, artist Bharti Kher, are committed to humanitarian actions and collected funds for the victims of the 2004 tsunami disaster.

Here are instances of Subodh Gupta’s French connection:
  • The artist established links with the French cultural milieu quite early in his career. He was invited to exhibit his works at the In Situ gallery in the 13th arondissement in Paris, where numerous French collectors discovered him.
  • His installation ‘God Hungry’ for the Lille 3000 festival left a lasting impression: a monumental cascade of kitchen vessels poured in through the arches of St Marie-Madeleine church, a reference to the tsunami that ravaged India in 2004.
  • Gupta designed the stage décor for the artistic production of Ballet Angelin Prejlocaj, ‘And then, one thousand years of peace’ in 2010.
  • He was one of the most viewed artists at the ‘Paris-Delhi-Bombay’ exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou in 2011.
The French government distinction Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters is conferred on ‘persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.’

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