At Le Bon Marché, artist Subodh Gupta casts a cascade of mirrors

As part of its annual carte blanche for contemporary artists, Bon Marché invites Subodh Gupta to invest in his space with a new project until February 19. Among the pieces displayed by the Indian artist in a department store, a giant cauldron casts a cascade of mirrors, leading people to the Sangam, a place of worship and pilgrimage in northeastern India.


Artist Subodh Gupta casts a cascade of mirrors at Le Bon Marché

On both sides of the escalators Cheaptwo large shiny aluminum containers are poured into the center of the department store a cascade mirrors between the corners of luxury perfumery and cosmetics houses. While on the second floor, a hut made of recycled containers contrasts with the clothing displays installed next door… designed by an Indian artist. Subodh Guptathese two striking monumental installations are part of the eighth carte blanche Since 2016, the department store has been inviting the main figures of the contemporary art scene to exhibit works created for this occasion in its premises. Consisting of kitchen utensils stacked to take the shape of an XXL bucket and a traditional Indian bowl – a motif the 59-year-old artist popularized in the early 2000s – these two giant sculptures immerse visitors. To the Sangam rivers, a place of worship and pilgrimage in northeastern India exposure one of his most impressive projects to date, both in terms of size and production methods.

The Bon Marché escalators are lined with XXL buckets

Although Subodh Gupta is used to designing large installations in places steeped in history and character, such as the Monnaie de Paris. private exhibition In 2018, a giant skull in the hall of honor, as well as an aluminum weeping willow in the courtyard, carte blanche The new challenges offered to the artist by Bon Marche were especially related to his visitors. “The public of the place is quite different from what I usually refer to, entrusts to a fifty-year-old man Number because the people who will visit the store are not necessarily the ones who go to museums or art galleries.“. Therefore, his project had to meet two main challenges: adapting to the specific architecture of the store as well as to the public. To do this, the plastic surgeon thought of it exposure As a pilgrimage and in addition to the escalators, he installed ten windows of the Rue de Sèvres with pieces of furniture and household items tied with ropes, as well as a hanging hut inviting meditation on the second floor. The visitor to Le Bon Marché, usually confined to the itineraries of classic exhibition spaces, now becomes a partial destination.artExploration and wonder are thus very free in their wanderings, but also able to immerse themselves. work Rather than continuing Subodh Gupta’s journey by visiting these different locations without worrying about it.

Artist Subodh Gupta casts a cascade of mirrors at Le Bon Marché
Artist Subodh Gupta casts a cascade of mirrors at Le Bon Marché

Artist Subodh Gupta transforms Le Bon Marché into a sacred and spiritual place

Imbued with theatrical education, Subodh Gupta reviewed this news works of art for Cheap as a play. “The whole thing plays a role in which I am also involved” – an intermediary between thousands of visitors who pass by each other without ever coming across this place. Because they are guided by their curiosity, surprise or curiosity, they find themselves around large silver fixtures. was inspired SangamAt the confluence of the three most sacred rivers of the country that gives its name to the exhibition, the visual artist transfers this place, charged with mysticism and spirituality, to his history. big store. “Le Bon Marche reminds me a lot of Sangam, with all these people coming from all over the world, meeting together and creating a kind of flow of people.”, vindicates the man now based between Delhi and Paris. As projected into a multidimensional parallel universe, the interior Paris building history and its public are reflected in dozens of mirrors that make up the sculptures and multiply to infinity, allowing to discover it from new angles. The visiting experience also takes on an entertaining aspect, for example allowing a visitor on the first floor to see a visitor on the first floor in multiple aspects of the sculpture and vice versa.

“In India, ‘sangam’ also translates to spiritual encounter.” – Subodh Gupta

Subodh Gupta nevertheless, he wants to clarify his intentions: “heIt is the symbolism of the place that inspires me more than its religious dimension. In India, “sangam” also translates to a spiritual meeting of several thousand people or two people within ourselves.“. The idea of ​​encounter that the installation explores precisely, ignoring the large number of visitors from very different backgrounds and cultures. Cheap admiring its objects. “VSIt is in these places that art can surprise and amaze, because you don’t expect to find it there, makes the plastic surgeon happy. Although the visitors may not necessarily understand my work, the exhibition unconsciously affects their consciousness.”

In the midst of all the commotion Cheap, Subodh Gupta also wishes to start a dialogue with his works Paris and country of origin. This dialogue began with the production of sculptures that the artist brought backIndia – Sangam’s, or rather – of dishes of the kitchen Which he collected together with others restored in Ile-de-France, witnesses of French craftsmanship. “The objects I use also touch on this encounter theme“, he adds, to bring together these two countriest their cultures.” So regularly, the big store asks his artists to use white in their installations to match his bright interior architecture, Subodh Gupta he chose the dominant color he has used since his inception: aluminum silver and crockery. And white appears through the fragments of the earth reflected in the mirrors and reminds the artist. “this the mind of our mind, close to a blank canvas on which the exhibition is printed.”

Artist Subodh Gupta casts a cascade of mirrors at Le Bon Marché
Artist Subodh Gupta casts a cascade of mirrors at Le Bon Marché

Monumental works of art made of kitchen items

When you make a request Subodh Gupta His answer to the repeated use of kitchen utensils in his works is as simple as it is spontaneous: pbecause I love to cook!“. But this culinary passion is also one of the common points between Indian and French cultures, and answers his desire to cross between East and West. This meeting between culinary art and fine art extends to the second floor Cheapwhere the artist installed a hanging hut consisting entirely of pans titled The Proust effect, referring to the famous madeleine of the French writer. A spiritual encounter that every visitor wants to incite and soak in his memory. The artist explores this relationship the kitchen Indian from his first creation, from childhood, he was fascinated by the bright appearance of kitchen utensils. In addition to the material and the object itself, the titles of his works follow this line: in 2006, he Very hungry God (hungry god) consists entirely of pans over the Grand Canal Venice with regards to Biennial of modern art or ten years later set up a tray full of silverware in front of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The carte blanche offered by Cheap hour Subodh Gupta allows to confirm a very strong connection with Paris, where he has partially lived for nearly twenty years. The artist, who was awarded the Order of Arts and Letters in 2013, believes that France has offered him opportunities that no other country has yet offered: “When I’m here, I‘there isI feel that Parisians really respect and appreciate my work“he admits. Thanks to its unprecedented ambitions and specifications, this new exhibition also marks a turning point in its production to change the creative process by adapting a 50-year-old person who is used to working very intuitively and spontaneously to the project. . Inside the store’s studio dedicated to the artist and team, FactoryLocated in Jouy, Eure-et-Loir, the project’s design evolved day by day, taking into account the constraints imposed by the building’s architecture and the sculptural dimension its sculptures would take. A tough bet that came off with flying colors Subodh GuptaFrom January 9, all floors will be explored and discovered Cheap observing it from all sides, from all angles and in all its reflections.

Subodh Gupta, “Sangam,” at Bon Marché Rive Gauche, Paris 7, until February 19.

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