Shilpa Gupta
(Mumbai, India, 1976)

For, In your tongue, I cannot fit, 2019

Wood, metal, light bulbs, glass
200 x 178 x 40 cm
Ed. 3/5 of an edition of 5
[Photo: Courtesy Shilpa Gupta and GALLERIA CONTINUA]

One of the central themes in Shilpa Gupta’s works is the use of fear as a tool to restrict mobility. In other words, the extent to which Power determines social, cultural, and psychological boundaries in public life. The artist reveals the widespread social aporias that include gender and class barriers, religious differences, and repressive state systems. The artist is especially interested in the way information is transmitted and internalized in everyday life. Hence, the importance of seeing, retrieving, and remembering for the artist.

For, In your tongue, I cannot fit is part of a series of eponymous works, of which one was exhibited at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The works are devoted to one hundred poets, across many periods in time and places who, because of their thinking, were persecuted. The work is a wooden bookshelf with lamps that illuminate some books made from the same metal used to manufacture rifles for the Indian army. The work is inspired by Imadaddin Nasimi, an Azerbaijani poet, who wrote between the midfourteenth and the early fifteenth century, and was sentenced to death by the religious authorities for his ideas deemed to be blasphemous.

Shilpa Gupta lives and works in Mumbai, where she studied sculpture at the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts. Her work has been shown in leading international institutions and museums such as Tate Modern, Museum of Modern Art, Louisiana Museum, Centre Pompidou, Serpentine Gallery, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Mori Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, ZKM, Kiran Nadar Museum and Devi Art Foundation. Shilpa Gupta has participated in numerous Biennials, among them: 58th Venice Biennale (2019), Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018), NGV Triennale (2017), Berlin Biennale (2014), New Museum Triennale (2009), Sharjah Biennial (2013), Lyon Biennale (2009), Gwangju Biennale (2008), Yokohama Triennale (2008) and Liverpool Biennial (2006). Her work is in the collection of important museums and institutions such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Centre Georges Pompidou.