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Subodh Gupta (B. 1964)

Leap of Faith

Subodh Gupta (B. 1964)
Leap of Faith
stainless steel buckets
98 x 38 x 43 in. (248.9 x 96.5 x 109.2 cm.)
Executed in 2005-2006; number two from an edition of three
Gallery Nature Morte, New Delhi
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006
Anupa Mehta, 'Global Local: Subodh Gupta', India 20: Conversations with Contemporary Artists, Vadodara, 2007, p. 181 (another edition illustrated)
Subodh Gupta: Gandhi's Three Monkeys, New York, 2008, p. 85 (an edition illustrated)
New Delhi, Nature Morte, Subodh Gupta: New Paintings and Sculptures, February 2006
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Lot Essay

The stainless steel vessel is an iconic emblem of Subodh Gupta's artistic vocabulary. Always finding tension and irony in the mundane, the artist regularly employs the stainless steel bucket and cooking implements in both painting and sculpture. While his paintings marry Pop and Photorealist sensibilities with Surrealist touches, his sculptures using readymade objects reference the Duchampian anti-monument. Here Gupta has magnified (multiplied and stacked) the pedestrian milk pail to mammoth proportions.

In urban centres milk, the elixir of life, is delivered in mass-produced stainless steel pails. The precarious balance of canisters becomes a symbol of the juxtaposition between urban and rural life and is perhaps the artist ruminating on the temptation and allure of the gleaming new commodities - just as the ancient, agrarian nation embraces a more capitalistic and materialistic culture.

Like Oldenberg's large-scale tactile sculptures, Gupta's objects also reinterpret the role of everyday objects as they are elevated into monumental stature. But the slick reflective veneer, a component we often see employed by Jeff Koons, keeps the viewer at a safe distance and highlights the sensuous splendor of these familiar objects as if they are precious or luxurious commodities, which simultaneously celebrate and exploit Indian culture. As Oldenberg dwells in the corporeal and Koons harps on the public realm of consumerism, Gupta strikes a balance between the two. Focusing on containing the minutiae of culture and tradition within the pristine and protective walls of stainless steel, Gupta's vessel becomes an overt icon of Indian vision.

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