UChicago Center in Delhi
The body: Casting, hybrid and absent
Contemporary painter and sculptor Bharti Kher has been engaged with the varying traditions of the readymade, Minimalism and Abstraction, mythology and the narrative for the past twenty years. Her work remains heterogeneous in the bodies of works that she creates. Pervading themes that constitute the mainstay of Kher’s oeuvre are the interlocking relationships between man and the animal kingdom and the attendant notions of hybridity of these bodies; the links between abstraction and figuration and the question of the other in gender, ethics and imagery.
In this talk, the British Artist and visual practitioner spoke on the significance of body and casting in her practice.
Her Bindi works can be seen to serve as conceptual and physical “skins” or a carrier of the other. Kher uses the bindi as an object that revels in both its ability to decorate and enliven attention, as well as to subsume and obscure the gaze.
Although diverse, Kher's output is highly varied in materiality, sensibility, approach, and subject matter. Repeating patterns and gestures do appear throughout her practice and much of her work displays an intrinsic love of counting, a subtle understanding of scale, and predilection towards human drama and contemporary life. Figures that confront the viewer often are mixed with a compelling mixture of sexuality, contradiction, and monstrosity. Furthermore, it is also a practice that includes cyclical characters that appear and reappear, including the ape or the cast female form . Kher is highly attuned to the cascades, puns, and intonations of language, as expressed in her evocative titles for her artworks.
Bharti Kher’s recent solo exhibitions include Misdemeanours at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2014), Bharti Kher at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London, England (2012), Reveal the secrets that you seek at Savannah College for Art and Design, Savannah GA (2012), Virus at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England (2008), The hot winds that blow from the West at Hauser & Wirth, New York (2012). Her group exhibitions include Kochi-Muziris Biennale at Kochi Biennale Foundation in Kochi, India (2014), Seeing through light at Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2014), Art & Textiles – Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art from Klimt to the Present at Kunst museum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany (2013), Dot. Systems. From Pointillism to Pixelation at Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen, Germany (2013), India: Art Now, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Arken, Denmark (2013), Massive/Intensive: Contemporary Art from India at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel (2013), Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque at Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto, Canada (2013), Paris – Delhi – Bombay at Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2011), Pattern ID at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, USA (2011), Festival der Tiere at Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria (2011), Time Unfolded at Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India (2011), Indian Highway IV at Musée d'Art Contemporain, Lyon, France (2011) and Tokyo Art Meeting – Transformation at Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2010).
Kher was conferred with the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2015. The ARKEN Art Prize in 2010 and the YFLO Woman Achiever of the Year in 2007. Kher has been on numerous juries and is the founder member and chairperson for Khoj International Artists’ Association. She was born 1969 and studied painting, graduating in 1991 from Newcastle Polytechnic, UK. She lives and works currently in Delhi, India.