Shilpa Gupta

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Shilpa Gupta
Born1976 (age 46–47)
Mumbai, India
Known forSculpture
Untitled artwork by Shilpa Gupta (2009)

Shilpa Gupta (born 1976) is a contemporary Indian artist based in Mumbai, India. She pursued her studies in sculpture at the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts from 1992 to 1997.[1] Gupta has held solo exhibitions at various prestigious venues, including the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Arnolfini in Bristol, OK in Linz, Museum voor Moderne Kunst in Arnhem, Voorlinden Museum and Gardens in Wassenaar, Kiosk in Ghent, Bielefelder Kunstverein, La Synagogue de Delme Contemporary Art Centre, and Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi. In 2015, she participated in the two-person joint India-Pakistan exhibition 'My East is Your West', hosted by the Gujral Foundation in Venice.


Shilpa Gupta (born 1976) is an Indian artist hailing from Mumbai.[2] In 1997, she earned her BFA degree in sculpture from the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts. Gupta's artistic practise encompasses a wide range of mediums, including manipulated found objects, video art, interactive computer-based installations, and performance.[3]


Shilpa Gupta's artistic interests revolve around the perception and transmission of information in human life.[4] Her work explores how objects, such as places, people, and experiences, are defined and engages with the various dynamics that shape these definitions, including borderlines, labels, censorship, and security.[5]

As a new media artist, Gupta has had a significant influence on subsequent generations.[6][7] Over the course of two decades, she has actively engaged with art in participatory, interactive, and public contexts. Her work examines the impact of social and psychological boundaries on public life, shedding light on the contradictions and conflicts within the emerging national public sphere in India. These include issues related to gender and class, religious diversity, the influence of repressive state mechanisms, and the allure of social conformity and misleading notions of public consensus facilitated by evolving media landscapes.[8]


Shilpa Gupta has created a diverse range of artwork throughout her career. In the early stages, she worked on projects such as "Untitled" (1995–96), where she sent 300 anonymously numbered and stamped drawings via post. Another notable work, "Untitled" (1999), involved Gupta visiting holy places to have her blank canvas blessed, exploring the mechanisms of faith and belief as well as questioning the artist's role in manifesting collective religious aspirations.[9]

One of her projects, "Blessed Bandwidth," commissioned by Tate Modern in 2001, took the form of an internet art piece.[10] The website invited visitors to be blessed online by accessing pages linked via a cable carried by the artist to various sites of worship. Gupta's work delves into the ways in which we define and construct our world by exploring the intersections of technology, religion, and personal experience.

Themes of blame and naming feature prominently in Gupta's art. In her 2001 work she distributed bottles of simulated blood with messages blaming others for aspects they cannot control, such as religion or nationality. She continues to explore this theme in various projects, including "There is No Border Here" (2005), "Someone Else" (2011), and "Altered Inheritances" (2012–14), which highlight issues of identity, boundaries, and personal agency.[11]

Gupta's projects often address historical and cultural violence, providing alternate perspectives and encouraging self-awareness.[12] She has tackled the effects of the 1947 partition in works like the "Aar Paar" project (2002–2004), which involved sending artworks across the India–Pakistan border for display in public spaces. Additionally, her work "In Our Times" (2008) juxtaposes the inaugural independence speeches by Jinnah and Nehru, prompting reflection on the two leaders' visions and the political decisions that shaped their respective countries.[13]

Sound-based installations have been a significant part of Gupta's artistic practise since 2001. From speakers woven onto fabrics to interactive audio installations, her works engage the audience as active participants. Examples include "Singing Cloud" (2008), consisting of 4000 reversed-function microphones,[14] and "Speaking Wall" (2010), where visitors follow instructions through a headset, transitioning from spectator to performer.[15][16]

Gupta's art also incorporates temporary materials to challenge assumptions. In "Threat" (2008), a wall made of soap resembling individual bricks bears the word "threat" on each one, prompting viewers to question their perceptions and preconceptions about the world.[17]

Throughout her career, Gupta has pushed the boundaries of art practise, exploring interactivity and expanding into large-scale video projections and installations. Notable works include "Untitled" (2004), a controlled animated figure projection,[18] and the interactive video projections "Shadow 1, 2, and 3" (2006-7), which capture and project real-time silhouettes of visitors.[19]

Her installations extend beyond traditional gallery spaces, with projects like "Someone Else" (2011), featuring a library of 100 books written anonymously or under pseudonyms,[20] exhibited in public libraries around the world. Gupta has also created outdoor light installations, such as "I live under your sky too" (2004)[21] and "My East is Your West" (2014), an animated light installation featuring the words "My East is Your West" illuminated in a nonlinear arrangement.[22]

In recent years, Gupta's artwork has focused on giving voice to imprisoned poets and individuals silenced for their beliefs. The installation "In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit" (2018), exhibited at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale '18–19, includes printed sheets of poems by imprisoned poets displayed on metal rods, accompanied by recorded recitations.[23]

Through her diverse and thought-provoking body of work, Shilpa Gupta continues to challenge perceptions, explore social and political issues, and invite audiences to engage with art in new and interactive ways.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Gupta has received several prestigious awards and recognitions for her artistic contributions. These include the 'International Artist of the Year' award from the South Asian Visual Artists Collective in Canada in 2004, the Sanskriti Prathisthan Award in New Delhi in 2004, the Transmediale Award in Berlin in 2004, the runner-up position at the Leonardo Global Crossings Award in 2005, the Bienal Award at the Bienal De Cuenca in Ecuador in 2011, and the YFLO Titan Young Women Achievers Award for 2012-2013 in New Delhi.[24]


Shilpa Gupta's artworks have been featured in various solo exhibitions, including venues such as Kiosk in Ghent (2017), La Synagogue de Delme contemporary art centre in Delme (2017), Arnolfini in Bristol (2012), OK Centre for Contemporary Art in Linz, Austria (2011), Castle Blandy in Blandy-Les-Tours, France (2011), Contemporary Arts Centre Cincinnati in Ohio, USA (2010), and Lalit Kala Akademie in New Delhi (2009).

She has also actively participated in renowned art events and biennales worldwide, including the Venice Biennale (2019),[25] Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018, 2019), Göteborg Biennial (2017, 2015), Havana Biennial (2015, 2006), 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), Sharjah Biennale '13 (2013), New Museum Triennial (2009), Biennale de Lyon (2009), Gwangju Biennale (2008), Yokohamale (2008), Liverpool Biennial (2006), and biennales in Auckland, Seville, Seoul, Havana, Sydney, and Shanghai.

Her works have been exhibited in prestigious international institutions, such as Tate Modern and Serpentine Gallery in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Musée d'art contemporain de Lyon, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, Daimler Chrysler Contemporary in Berlin, Mori Museum in Tokyo, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, and Queens Museum in New York, Chicago Cultural Centre, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Museum of Contemporary Art Val De Marne, and Devi Art Foundation in Gurgaon, among others.

In 2015, Gupta presented a solo project at the 'My East is Your West' exhibition, which was a joint India-Pakistan exhibition organised by the Gujral Foundation in Venice.

Her artworks are part of esteemed collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Asia Society, Centre Georges Pompidou, Mori Museum, Louisiana Museum, The Menil Collection, Deutsche Bank, Daimler Chrysler, Bristol Art Museum, Caixa Foundation, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Asia Society, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Fonds National d'Art Contemporain - France, KOC Collection, Kiran Nadar Museum, M+ Museum, and Devi Art Foundation, among others.


  • Shaheen Merali, Nancy Adajania, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones, Shilpa Gupta: Blindstars Starsblind, Kehrer, Heidelberg, Bodhi and Volker Diehl, Berlin, 2009
  • Mirjam Westen and Renee Baert, Shilpa Gupta: Will We Ever Be Able to Mark Enough, Fonderie Darling, Montreal, Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem, Culturcentrum of Brugge, Belgium, and Galerie im Taxipalais, Innsbruck, 2012
  • Natasha Ginwala, Iftikhar Dadi and Lawrence Liang, Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana: My East is Your West, HarperCollins and Gujral Foundation, New Dehli, 2016
  • Sunil Khilnani and Anushka Rajendran, Shilpa Gupta: Drawing in the Dark, Hatje Cantz, Berlin, 2021
  • Chris Bayley, Hilary Floe and Urvashi Butalia, Shilpa Gupta, Barbican Centre and Ridinghouse, London, 2022
  • Alexandra Munroe, Nav Haq and Elvira Dyangani Ose, Shilpa Gupta, Phaidon Press, London, 2023


  1. ^ "Tanya Bonakdar Gallery". Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. Retrieved 29 April 2023.
  2. ^ Phaidon Editors (2019). Great women artists. Phaidon Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0714878775. {{cite book}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  3. ^ "Shilpa Gupta". Guggenheim Museum.
  4. ^ "Shilpa Gupta". Multimedia Art Asia Pacific, Australia.
  5. ^ "Shilpa Gupta". Guggenheim Museum.
  6. ^ "A Bit Closer". Contemporary Arts Center, U.S.A.
  7. ^ "SHIREEN GANDHY: I STOOD THERE THINKING, "IS THIS ART?"". Verve Magazine, India. 10 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space". Iftikhar Dadi. March 2012.
  9. ^ "The Artist and the Dangers of the Everyday: Medium, Perception and Meaning in Shilpa Gupta's work". Claudio Maffioletti. Archived from the original on 13 October 2017.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ "Blessed Be Tate Online". Tate Museum. PRESS RELEASE 1 NOVEMBER 2003.
  11. ^ "I'm interested in perception and with how definitions get stretched or trespassed: Shilpa Gupta". The Indian Express. Vandana Kalra. 17 January 2016.
  12. ^ Ozge Ersoy, Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education. By New Museum. 2011. ISBN 978-0415960854.
  13. ^ "Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space". Iftikhar Dadi. March 2012.
  14. ^ "The Formation of Identity- Shilpa Gupta- Someone Else- Arnolfini- Bristol". Aesthetica Magazine Blog. Regina Papachlimitzou. 11 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Shilpa Gupta". Ronald Jones. 14 March 2012.
  16. ^ "I'm interested in perception and with how definitions get stretched or trespassed: Shilpa Gupta". The Indian Express. Vandana Kalra. 17 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Shilpa Gupta". Ronald Jones. 14 March 2012.
  18. ^ "Shilpa Gupta- Untitled, Interactive video installation". Damlier Art Collection.
  19. ^ "Shilpa Gupta- Untitled (Shadow 2), 2006". NTT InterCommunication Center, Japan.
  20. ^ "The Formation of Identity- Shilpa Gupta- Someone Else- Arnolfini- Bristol". Aesthetica Magazine Blog. Regina Papachlimitzou. 11 April 2012.
  21. ^ "Shilpa Gupta Writes Across Night Sky". Art Asia Pacific Magazine. Noelle Bodick. 22 February 2013.
  22. ^ "Shilpa Gupta, Possessing Skies". Poorna Swami.
  23. ^ "Kochi Muziris Biennale".
  24. ^ "Shilpa Gupta".
  25. ^ Maddox, Georgina (10 May 2019). "The trio from India who made it to the Venice Biennale 2019". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 May 2019.