Embedded Structures: An Interview with Shilpa Gupta



Untitled, photograph, 2006 

Turner Road, photographs with sound, 2008

Untitled, MS Gate which swings side to side and breaks the walls, 2009

Shilpa Gupta's work sometimes takes place outside of or leaves the gallery, and ranges from photographs and objects to websites and interactive video. I spoke with the Mumbai-based artist over email: 

Your pieces often weaponize subjects, drawing awareness to an underlying violence or militarization of mundane acts and objects (e.g., the tedium of house guards in Mumbai, a child with multiple arms making a gun with their fingers, a mechanical swinging gate). Could you expand on what you consider to be the political in the everyday?

What I am referring to are the embedded and often invisible structures that steer the way we think in daily life. Example: while we read newspapers and watch the 9 pm national news, it slips off our mind that the images we are seeing could be filtered in certain ways to generate certain opinions. Example: on the Untitled, MS Gate which swings from left to right and breaks the wall, there is an undefined form which, while much smaller in size, is far deeper than the rest of the gate. This could be an undefined geographical territory or it could be a hole in a brain of a housewife, both of which may have a desire to be free.