Antwerp’s Museum Of Contemporary Art Presents Today Will End, The First Mid-Career Survey Exhibition Of Mumbai Artist Shilpa Gupta

Whether it’s the speaking microphones, the ‘Blame’ bottle, or the bag with a label that reads, ‘There is no explosive in this’, Shilpa Gupta’s artworks all the time converse to their viewer about conditions which are socio-politically loaded. But solely to the purpose the place one engages with the work and ‘interprets’ it, even subjectively. And the Mumbai-based artist has discovered essentially the most attention-grabbing areas to current it — from a railway station in Chemnitz, Germany, the place she explored the thought of distance (social, financial or geographic) by flap boards, to her residence throughout lockdown 2020, the place a PPE go well with grew to become a mannequin to discover pause, anticipation and anxiousness (a part of Architectural Digest’s #StillCommaLife sequence).

Now the M HKA (Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp) is showcasing her first mid-career survey exhibition, titled Today Will End. The exhibition seems on the evolution of her work during the last twenty years, foregrounding the speculative nature of her observe in addition to the depth of her vital engagement with psychology, behaviour, politics and language.

20 years below one roof

It is curated by Nav Haq, the affiliate director of the museum, who has been following Gupta’s observe. “Ten years ago, Nav did my first UK institutional solo at the Arnolfini in Bristol. Later, when he curated the Göteborg International Biennial, he had shown the outdoor light work WheredoIendandyoubegin, on which he had titled his show,” says Gupta, who’s busy establishing the present remotely from Mumbai, exchanging flooring plans and pictures with the museum.

“The exhibition looks at my work starting from the mid 1990s, which deals with human relations, through the lens of subjectivity and perception. There are several interactive works that delve into the liminal zone that hover between art and object, perspective and experience, and renewability and repetition,” says the 45-year-old.

Showing on the museum, on the heels of International Museum Day (May 17), is one thing that Gupta values vastly. “Museums tell stories for us to reflect on our past and present, and therefore shape our future. In India, we need to re-vitalise our museums by equipping them with trained curators, enthusiasm, and a sense of purpose — to engage and share stories with a diverse range of public,” she says.

At a time when Delhi’s iconic National Museum (with a group that spans 5,000 years of Indian historical past) is being razed to make approach for the Central Vista mission, Gupta factors out that it’s not simply the ‘physical structure’ of the museum that needs to be preserved, but additionally its mental capability, which needs to be always enriched and up to date.

Open to interpretation

Although the quantity and function of the exhibition is extra overarching, this isn’t the primary time that Gupta is exhibiting her work on the M HKA. In 2014, her works had been included in Don’t You Know Who I Am? – Art After Identity Politics, an necessary analysis exhibition that outlined a brand new studying of up to date artwork.

For Gupta, exhibiting on the Antwerp museum is enriching, due to the completely different audiences it attracts. “Like everything else, art is also subjected to the vagaries of time and context. Some artworks are more accessible than others, some live longer, some are lost, and then there are some which get retrieved,” says Gupta. Though her works could possibly be interpreted as social or political, Gupta retains them decidedly open, permitting their themes to be interpreted in another way wherever, and every time, they’re exhibited.


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