A major new installation by leading Indian contemporary artist Subodh Gupta has been unveiled at he V&A. When Soak Becomes Spill. The work, created especially for the South Kensington Museum, as part of the India Festival, features a stainless steel bucket standing six metres high and overflowing with hundreds of pots, pans, containers and cooking implements. The vast sculpture is on display on Exhibition Road, outside the Museum.
Gupta is known for his large scale public sculptures, work in stainless steel and transformation of everyday objects, particularly kitchenware and vessels, into installations. When Soak Becomes Spill features these everyday objects spilling from the brim of the huge bucket. Such utensils are used by millions of Indian families to eat their meals, and were part of the artist’s childhood and local surroundings. Gupta’s work often reflects his Indian heritage whilst exploring universal themes such as consumerism, the environment and the common man.
In When Soak Becomes Spill the pots and pans flow like water from the bucket, alluding to the importance of the world’s natural resources and their wastage by contemporary society. The bright and shiny utensils appear covetable, representing the temptation of new commodities and growth of consumer society. As these stainless steel pots are empty they also suggest the poverty of that society.
Subodh Gupta was born in 1964 in Patna, Bihar. He is now based in New Delhi and is widely considered to be one of India’s most successful contemporary artists. His work encompasses sculpture, installation, painting, photography, performance and video. The artist rose to international prominence in 2007 following the display of a large bronze installation of antique utensils, Gandhi’s Three Monkeys, at Art Basel and a giant skull formed from tiffin pots, Very Hungry God, at the Venice Biennale. His works have been exhibited in Paris, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Seoul, Tokyo and many other cities across the world. In January 2014 a major retrospective of his work was held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi.
Martin Roth, director of the V&A, says: “It is really exciting that one of Subodh Gupta’s public sculptures will be displayed on London’s streets. When Soak Becomes Spill is one of the highlights of the V&A’s India Festival, and I am delighted that the work of leading contemporary artists is now being exhibited on Exhibition Road”.