Subodh Gupta

Indian Contemporary Artists Gain Worldwide Fame Through Sculpture

Contemporary Indian art demonstrates a willingness to follow global trends and try new ideas without sacrificing culture and traditions.

4 mins read

Indian contemporary art has gained a global reputation through renowned contemporary sculpture artists. Indian contemporary artists are no longer bound by traditional tools and methods. They are eager to experiment while referencing to tradition in sociopolitical works that entail symbolic elements. 

Nikhil Chopra is one of the most prominent multidisciplinary contemporary Indian artists whose residency was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2019-20. He focuses on performance, durational and process art as well as sculpture and installation. In his nine-day long performance piece, Lands, Waters, and Skies, the artist ate, slept and moved through the museums’ galleries all the while creating his sculptural drawing. Visitors viewed the artist in his routine and became a part of his process. His one-of-a-kind work touched on the history of immigration and the theme of identity.

Similarly, Sheela Gowda also touches on the movements of people, more significantly, those from her hometown Bangalore as she portrayed through her sculptural installation, Of All People, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2011. The artwork is comprised of recycled architectural elements collected from the rubble caused by modernization. Gowda’s staged environment, which also inhabits little figurines that were used in communal social rituals, comments on the physical, economic and ideological structures we are forced to live in.  

Vivan Sundaram is another contemporary Indian artist whose work deals with problems of identity. The artist’s wearable sculptures can be referred as situated in between contemporary abstract art and figurative art. As well as being the first Indian artist to make installation art, the artist also works with painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and video art, which is why he is called “a man of all mediums”. His wearable sculptures, made by turning trash into garments, are on view at the MAD Museum in New York through August 2022.

Known for his huge sculptures, Subodh Gupta uses a wide range of art practices like installation, video, and painting, which includes hyper-realistic elements. Gupta’s large-scale sculptures are made of everyday objects such as the steel cooking utensils found throughout India. Using objects from Indian daily life, Gupta reminds the viewers of his childhood while making social criticism. The items he uses also reflect India’s economic transformation and materialistic culture.

Another widely known sculpture artist from India is Anish Kapoor. The artist uses spare geometries, organic forms, convex and concave surfaces, and mirrors in his sculptures to challenge gravity, depth, and perception. One of his most famous works is The Bean sculpture in Chicago, which is a reflective, stainless-steel sculpture investigating material, form, and space. He also contributed to the 2012 London Olympics with his Orbit sculpture: a 375-feet-tall looping structure made of tubular steel. 

Contemporary Indian art demonstrates a willingness to follow global trends and try new ideas without sacrificing culture and traditions. Contemporary Indian artists embrace different mediums, techniques and materials to explore social issues, which will ultimately further expand their worldwide fame and acknowledgement. 

Photo Credit: Cooking the World, Subodh Gupta by isapisa.

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