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Sakshi Gupta

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1979, New Delhi
Lives and works in New Delhi

Sakshi Gupta is an Indian contemporary artist who specializes in building emancipatory sculptures out of industrial waste, metal scrap and other leftovers of industrial growth in a form of art often referred to as ‘poor art’. Her installations are a social commentary of the journey between the heavy industrializing ethics of the past to a movement to the digital age, among other artistic expressions in her artworks.

Education

2004

Masters in Fine Arts (Sculpture), College of Art, New Delhi

2001

Bachelors in Fine Arts (Sculpture), Government College of Art, Chandigarh, India

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LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Sakshi Gupta

Sakshi draws heavily on personal experiences

Sakshi Gupta draws heavily on her own personal experience to define or get a more holistic notion of art. Her works can be seen as commentary on the contemporary world - highlighting the shift from the economics of heavy industry to the weightless age of the information and technology. She sees herself as articulating the voice of her generation.

The body of works entitled Nothing is Freedom, Freedom is Everything, Everything is You, 2007, refers to the struggles faced by young people: the hopes and expectations that don’t and are not guaranteed to materialise, the sorrows and unexpected joys, as well as opportunities to make the personal choices that determine personal destiny, which may not have existed for previous generations.

Sakshi Gupta, Freedom is Everything, 2007, plywood, metal scrap, 360cm x 210cm

Recyling to Transformation - an Ongoing Process in Sakshi's work

She recycles scrap-materials, often with industrial origins, to produce sculptures that transform the meaning of the materials to provoke spiritual contemplation. This emphasis on materiality results in an evocative and ephemeral lightness and fragility.Recycling forms a major element of Sakshi Gupta’s work, and she works mostly with scrap materials that are industrial waste, in the process, transforming these components of her artwork in the process into thought provoking sculptures

Her artworks simulate a contemplative gaze on the collective products of the past industrial age. By reclaiming industrial waste into a contemplative work of art, Sakshi’s personal experience is brought upon to bestow a fresh meaning to various industrial excesses and generate fresh meaning. This fresh meaning is usually forward looking, as in her works entitled Behind The Wind, where the cracked decapitated head of an elephant made out of metal mesh and scrap metal emerges in her work.

Sakshi Gupta, No Title, 2012 – 2013, from “Become the Wind”, metal mesh, scrap metal, 328 x 262 x 133 cm

Landscape of Waking Memories - Conflicting Emotions in Sakshi Gupta's work

Works such as Landscape of Waking Memories, 2007, bring forth the conflict of emotions that embody Sakshi Gupta’s work. On the one hand, she combines wire and mesh with chicken feathers to create an object that at first glance resembles a soft, sensual quilt but with a second glance, is as stern and forbidding as any cold dead flesh. The artist Sakshi Gupta commented on this piece of art by saying how the work represented “...the places/people who are supposed to bring ease and comfort in my live themselves become the source of disturbance hence making me lose my sense of security”.

Sakshi Gupta, Landscape of Waking Memories (detail), 2007, steel wire, mesh and chicken feathers, 213 x 138 x 25 cm

The Principles of Poor Art

Sakshi Gupta uses metal scraps and leftover parts, industrial waste, feathers, wood shavings and other kinds of urban waste in creating her artworks. Speaking of her artwork Rebecca Morrild says that these pieces are largely produced "...during residencies and at the twice-yearly artists workshop she runs in Rajasthan... her exterior works combine discarded materials from local factories with found materials from nature such as roots, fronds and feathers. The objects she creates are frequently anthropomorphised and evoke deliberate unease and anxiety, to represent the sense of discomfort and conflict that the artist feels in her own life.” Sakshi Gupta’s each artwork are centred around a commentary that rises out of waste materials validating Rebecca Morrild’s argument in her article for Herning Museum of Contemporary Art journal on Sakshi Gupta.

Sakshi Gupta, No Title, 2008, metal scrap, gears, motors, 163 x 60 x 88 cm

Indian Highway exhibition has played a major role in Sakshi Gupta's portfolio

Sakshi Gupta has participated in Indian Highway several times as the exhibition has been shown across the world. Indian Highway brings together thirty artists who have made a significant contribution to the Indian art world such as MF Husain, Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta. The name Indian Highway refers to the roads as a symbol for rural to urban migration and as one of the few connection factors between rural and urban India which differ vastly. The theme fitted in perfectly with Sakshi’s modus operandi, as Sakshi builds contemplative sculptures and site-specific installations out of a various kinds of industrial waste and scrap to signify a transition between the industrial world of everyday reality to a lighter, transient and ephemeral world of contemplation for shaping up of the future. The aspiration of the youth/ migrant comes out poignantly in Sakshi’s artwork amidst the cynicism of everyday habit represented by industrial scrap.

Indian Highway, 2012, cover

Bibliography