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Shilpa Gupta ‘Half a Sky’

2017

Diasec mounted photograph

66,7 x 50 cm

26,25 x 21,75 in

Ed. 6

Price on request

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This photographic work by Shilpa Gupta renders the sky at the border east of India. In different tonalities, it represents our multiple internal beings, driven by unconscious, and the actual impossibility of harnessing ourselves it under the categories of the national state.


Shilpa Gupta’s work questions ownership, assimilation, and exclusion, just standing where we often do, invisible amid the crowds. Her work is resolutely political, and perhaps has always been since she first began 20 years ago. As is the nature of the “political art object”, it is sometimes difficult to determine the context of the work or its political position. Gupta is aware of this, and is keen to question which voices are heard louder than others, and who determines the validity of certain political arguments.


“My work looks at the idea of the nation state as being, what we would like to imagine the nation state to be. And it is primarily a question of identity, and with India, this has developed only in the past 60 or 70 years … Ideas of the nation state only emerged in the 19th century, so this is a new identity. Yet it has become an identity that people want to stand by, and to really look through that lens. What I’m interested in are those ways of seeing, and the ways in which they inform how we imagine ourselves”. 

Shilpa Gupta



Shilpa Gupta (b.1976) lives and works in Mumbai, India where she has studied sculpture at the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts from 1992 to 1997.

She has had solo shows at: Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Arnolfini in Bristol, OK in Linz, Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Arnhem, Voorlinden Museum and Gardens in Wassenaar, Kiosk in Ghent, Bielefelder Kunstverein, La synagogue de Delme Contemporary Art Center and Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi. She presented a solo project at ‘My East is Your West’, a two-person joint India-Pakistan exhibition, by the Gujral Foundation in Venice in 2015.

Gupta’s work has been shown in leading international institutions and museums such as Tate Modern, Museum of Modern Art, Louisiana Museum, Centre Pompidou, Serpentine Gallery, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Mori Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ZKM, Kiran Nadar Museum and Devi Art Foundation.

Shilpa Gupta has participated in Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018), NGV Triennale (2017), Berlin Biennale (2014), New Museum Triennale (2009), Sharjah Biennial curated by Yuko Hasegawa (2013), Lyon Biennale curated by Hou Hanru (2009), Gwangju Biennale directed by Okwui Enwezor and curated by Ranjit Hoskote (2008), Yokohama Triennale curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist (2008) and Liverpool Biennial curated by Gerardo Mosquera (2006). She has shown in biennales at Auckland, Brisbane, Seoul, Havana, Sydney, Yogyakarta, Echigo-Tsumari, Shanghai, Houston and others. In 2017, she participated in Gothenburg Biennial curated by Nav Haq, which was titled after her light work ‘WheredoIendandyoubegin’.

Her work is in the collection of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, Mori Museum, M+ Museum, Louisiana Museum, Deutsche Bank, Daimler Chrysler, Bristol Art Museum, Caixa Foundation, Louis Vitton Foundation, Asia Society, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Fonds National d’Art Contemporain – France, KOC Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, FRAC  (France Regional Art Collection), Art Now, Cincinnati Art Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum and Devi Art Foundation amongst others.

She designed the book ‘dates.sites: Project Cinema City Bombay/Mumbai’, edited by Madhusree Dutta, in 2012. Gupta has co-facilitated ‘Crossovers & Rewrites: Borders over Asia’ at World Social Forum, Porto Alegre in 2005 and ‘Aar Paar’, a public art exchange project between India and Pakistan from 2002-2006.

She recently installed ‘We Change Each Other’, an outdoor light work in her neighbourhood on Carter Road, Mumbai. In 2019, she participated in the 58th Venice Biennale curated by Ralph Rugoff.