Shilpa Gupta is emerging as one of the most important female artists living and working in India today. Considered a pioneer of new media art, she tackles deep-seated issues such as cultural and political divides (or similarities), religion, commerce, and terrorism. Her work encourages the questioning of assumptions and biases about how we live and our place in the world. Although often her pieces comment on particular conflicts or locales, they transcend those specifics and touch on themes universal to mankind and relevant in all our lives. By providing viewers with thought-provoking messages and the opportunity to connect with global concerns in a more personal way, Gupta challenges observers to be active participants in creating her work anew each time it is encountered.
Gupta has shown in museums and galleries all over the world, but the Contemporary Arts Center is the site of her premiere solo exhibition. This also marks the first solo show of an Indian artist at the CAC.
Shilpa Gupta: A Bit Closer melds new work with signature pieces from the artist’s young career. Known for her interactive focus, much of Gupta’s early work was performance and web based. As the artist’s career started to develop, she remained committed to interactivity but explored other media such as photography, video, and sound installation. One exciting example of new work debuting with this show is the photographic series I Want to Live with No Fear. This series actually will be created during opening weekend, with Contemporary Arts Center visitors playing a starring role. Gupta will invite museumgoers leaving the CAC to take a balloon printed with “I Want to Live with No Fear.” The artist will photograph the participants as they travel in public, and the resulting pictures will become a permanent piece in this show and move on to other exhibitions as well.