Monday, 17 July 2006

Catalogue Essay I Sakshi Gupta I pub. Sakshi Gupta Bangalore I 2006


Sakshi Gupta is a young Delhi artist doing a three- month art residency at the Bangalore Art Centre on the Hosur Road. The Centre is located in a furniture factory with plenty of waste materials, which the owner kindly permits the artists to use freely. The works in the show are created from materials found there and in the fields and factories around. Sakshi uses the principles of ‘poor’ art, transforming found circumstances and banal materials to make poetic objects.

Object no. 1: is a Bed that looks sumptuous and sensual from afar, like an object of luxury, perhaps a wedding bed with a coverlet of gold and silver. It is only up close that the surface reveals itself to be entirely covered with sharp, thin, glittering steel rods stuck together with a rubber solution that gives it the brown-gold stains. The bed is not soft, it is encased in armour; it is a yogi’s bed of nails.  Peacock feathers lie between the steely pillows. 

Object no. 2: is made up of the twisted claw-like roots of rose bushes that were bought from a farmer in the area. Hanging from the sky and seeming to proliferate profusely, the root shapes take on a surreal quality with the act of displacement from their natural place beneath the earth to the naked air. 

Object no. 3, the Chair, was a use-less chair, an un-sittable chair, constructed from thin fragile wood strips from a factory close to the Centre. After it was made the chair was given a ceremonial death-rite, by floating it on a raft of coconut fronds on a lake nearby and drowning it in the water. The wood may be swollen and shapeless now. The artist’s plan was to exhibit it in that state in a glass box filled with water in the gallery, like an object preserved in formaldehyde, along with photographs of its floating and submergence.

Each object is anthropomorphized, angst ridden. While the artist feels object- like and at the mercy of outside elements, the “things” are transformed to take on a disconcerting persona of their own. Beds, chairs and rose bushes can also rise up and hit you!

Pushpamala N
Bangalore 17 July 2006

Post Script
Sakshi Gupta also goes to Rajasthan twice a year to run an artist’s workshop initiated by Mumbai artist Chintan Upadhyay in his native village. She has made open air site-specific sculptures there using local materials. The villagers around have been intrigued by the activities of the city artists. They have now started their own museums in three villages where an object from each home in the village has been collected, catalogued, labeled and displayed.