Art

The trio from India who made it to the Venice Biennale 2019

Shilpa Gupta, Gauri Gill and Soham Gupta join 76 other artists as part of the main exhibit at the Venice Biennale

Shilpa Gupta: ‘For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit’ draws from Gupta’s year-long research into jailed poets from around the world. The relation between the poet and the state has been a troubling one, across time and geographies. The multi-channel sound installation — featuring 100 microphones suspended above 100 metal rods, each piercing a page inscribed with a verse of poetry — tells stories of deep conflict, exploring the political and societal restrictions that seek to control both the imagination and physical mobility of poets. Photo: Fakhriyya_Mammadova_BAKU
“This work takes an emotional journey through 100 stories, 100 poems and 100 small gestures of resistance that celebrate the freedom of thought,” says Gupta, about the installation that was also at the 2018 Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Gill is showcasing excerpts from two series of photographs 12 colour prints from the ‘Acts of Appearance’ series (2015 - ongoing), and 54 black-and-white prints from ‘Becoming’ (featured here) (2003—ongoing). ‘Becoming’ features a series of landscapes in semi-rural and mofussil towns and urban-scapes of large, cosmopolitan cities across India. In this dystopian world, human beings are dislocated from familiar contexts and rendered invisible in their new environments. Nature herself is bent to human will and desire, and new worlds emerge from the underlying capitalist order,” Gill explains.
‘Acts of Appearance’ features the Adivasi papier-mâché artists from the Kokna tribe in Maharashtra, with whom the artist worked to create masks representing their contemporary reality. The masks also explore human emotions and common experiences, animals and well-used objects, as the tribe believes that objects have sentience too. Photo: spl arrangement
Soham Gupta: Gupta is presenting two groups of photographs from a series shot in Kolkata — mostly depicting people living on the street or out late at night. Curator Ralph Rugoff told theartnewspaper.com that “they are riveting, and avoid every cliché about representing the poor and homeless... he worked with his subjects as collaborators, asking them to suggest how they’d like to pose, what props, if any, they’d like to appear with”.
Gupta has taken a page out of Dayanita Singh’s work, where she did a similar set of portraits with the bourgeoise, and captured intimate moments. “It feels strange that I am 30 and yet showing work at this Mecca of art. It is an incredible honour,” shares the photographer.

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