signed in Hindi and dated '06' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
72 in. (182.9 cm.) diameter
Painted in 2006
Bodhi Art, Mumbai
Acquired from the above, 2008
Start.Stop, exhibition catalogue, Mumbai, 2007 (illustrated, unpaginated)
Subodh Gupta: Gandhi's Three Monkeys, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2008, p. 312 (illustrated)
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

Following from a tradition of Pop sensibility, Subodh Gupta's post-modernist ideas channel far-ranging influences from Marcel Duchamp, Josef Beuys, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and more recently Jeff Koons. Gupta's works use a kitsch artistic vocabulary firmly rooted in the vernacular of everyday India. The artist ironically states, "I am the idol thief. I steal from the drama of Hindu life. And from the kitchen - these pots, they are like stolen gods, smuggled out of the country. Hindu kitchens are as important as prayer rooms. These pots are like something sacred, part of important rituals, and I buy them in a market. They think I have a shop, and I let them think it. I get them wholesale." (C. Mooney, "Subodh Gupta: Idol Thief", ArtReview, 17 December 2007, p. 57)

“Store bought and available in mass quantities and an infinite number of forms, these plates, bowls, cups […] are some of the most widely available objects in the country, intensely common and loaded with connotations of class distinctions. Outside of India, in the first world capitals of New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo, where culture is capital and artistic expression is the highest form of entrepreneurship, these steel objects look to be magical and revelatory […] Inside of India, these objects may appear as unsophisticated, old-fashioned, awkward and, to many, embarrassing and indicative of the inherited weight of the past […] The success of Subodh’s sculptures using these objects is not this either/ or situation […] but that their meaning and reception in either locale emphasize (P. Nagy, Start.Stop, exhibition catalogue, Mumbai, 2007, unpaginated)

Through Gupta's painting one cannot help but be reminded of the vanitas commonly executed by Northern European painters in Flanders and the Netherlands in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries. The utensils represented in these paintings were a celebration of the commerce and the prosperity of their time, while also commenting on the transient nature of vanity. Gupta goes one step further, warning of the perils of fetishizing materialism in today’s globalized world.

Related Articles

Sorry, we are unable to display this content. Please check your connection.

More from
South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report