Don’t Miss – London: Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ at Hauser & Wirth through October 31, 2009

October 27th, 2009

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Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ via Hauser & Wirth

Called both the “Damien Hirst of Delhi” and the “Marcel Duchamp of Asia,” Subodh Gupta currently has an exhibition on view at Hauser & Wirth in London.  Known for creating iconic works that reference both his Indian background and Western art, this exhibition, ‘Common Man,’ includes a number of large works that playfully use famous works as well as pieces that reference the artist’s own oeuvre. Gupta, who has called himself “the idol thief,”  took Marcel Duchamp’s infamous ‘L.H.O.O.Q.,’ a postcard of the Mona Lisa upon which Duchamp drew a mustache, and turned it into a bronze bust. Many of the works appear to composed of ready made commodities, but are actually newly fabricated out of traditional materials like bronze in a nod to the weight such materials carry in an artistic context.

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘Et tu, Duchamp?’ via Hauser & Wirth

One such work is ‘Potato Ring,’ in which dozens of cast bronze potatoes are placed in a wide, shallow basket, as if at market. In a similar vein, ‘Aam Aadami,’ which translates to the exhibition’s title, is a number of bronze mangoes in a wooden box padded with straw. Gupta is well known for using everyday objects, notably spoons, in his assemblage sculptures, and ‘Spooning’ comically draws upon that, with two enormous spoons laying on top of one another on the floor.

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Detail of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Wall’ via Hauser & Wirth

Gupta is similar to Jeff Koons in his treatment of somewhat insignificant objects, transforming them through materials that hold high currency. ‘Et tu, Duchamp?’ the bronze mustachioed Mona Lisa alone on a marble plinth is one such example. In ‘Jeff the Koons,’ Gupta riffs on Warhol’s Brillo boxes and casts in aluminum copies of the cardboard boxes that Koons’s mailorder ‘Puppy’ sculptures come in.

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘A Penny for Belief II’ via Hauser & Wirth

Works that directly reference the artist’s youth growing up poor in India are three sculptures set on oversized thalis, traditional Indian metal plates. Instead of food, these works offer up cast off everyday objects in various states of transformation, including old shoes, brightly polished aluminum kitchen utensils, and coins set in resin to look like a wishing well.

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘C.B.’ via Hauser & Wirth

Gupta is one of the most prominent artists to come out of the boom of India’s contemporary art scene in the past decade. He has participated in prominent group shows including ‘Indian Highway‘ at the Serpentine Gallery, ‘Altermodern,’ this year’s Tate Triennial, in which he created a mushroom cloud out of kitchen utensils, and showed a giant skull, also made of kitchen utensils, during the 2007 Venice Biennale. ‘Common Man’ runs October 1-31, 2009 at Hauser & Wirth in London.

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘I Believe You’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ via Hauser & Wirth

Subodh Gupta Common Man potato ring
Subodh Gupta’s ‘Potato Ring’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘Spooning’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘Red’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Detail of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Everyday’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘Aam Aadami’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Detail of Subodh Gupta’s ‘A Penny for Belief II’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘Black and White’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Detail of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Wall’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Subodh Gupta’s ‘Jeff the Koons’ via Hauser & Wirth

Subodh Gupta Common Man installation view
Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Et tu, Duchamp?’ via Hauser & Wirth

Subodh Gupta Common Man installation view4
Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Detail of Subodh Gupta’s ‘I Believe You’ via Hauser & Wirth

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Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ via Hauser & Wirth

Subodh Gupta Common Man installation view7
Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Common Man’ via Hauser & Wirth

Subodh Gupta Common Man jeff the koons
Installation view of Subodh Gupta’s ‘Jeff the Koons’ via Hauser & Wirth

Related Links:
Subodh Gupta: Common Man [Hauser & Wirth]
Subodh Gupta, India’s hottest new artist, talks about skulls, milk pails and cow dung [Times UK]
Subodh Gupta [Time Out London]
The Idol Thief Of Khagaul [Outlook India]
Subodh Gupta shows off his giant spoons [Guardian]