Mumbai-based artist Shilpa Gupta has created a body of work that is shaped by her interest in research, pedagogy, and learning as an open-ended and reciprocal dialogue with the communities with which she interacts and with the public that explores her work.
This project functions as a script for reading a constant theme throughout her practice: language and its forms of control and operation. Mediated by specific structures based on race, gender, class and religion, language conditions geopolitical borders and shapes political relations, as well as subjective imagination, and the ability to interpret different social landscapes.
For her exhibition at Amant, Shilpa will present new commissions to go alongside past works, and a series of educational projects, focusing on what could be called the “reverse” of discourse the absence of language, or what cannot be said. As Shilpa suggests, this reversal “can take place in an authoritative mode of history writing and censorship, or simply even in how our actions are largely controlled by the unconscious”.
Interested in day-to-day materials, she often uses techniques borrowed from social psychology designed to map individual and collective behaviors through definitions, data, or symbols. In so doing, her work points to how language often camouflages emotions and lived experience. That is why the space of literature, poetry, and dreams also becomes an open playground within her work. She opens up what she calls “a space between our desires and our realities, of which we do not know enough” and so facilitates new possibilities and hopes, counteracting the experience of censorship.
A series of educational projects, past and present, form an integral part of the exhibition, and allow the creation of different dialogues and forms of interaction with a variety of audiences, especially the youngest, in a critical as well as interactive way.