Shilpa Gupta


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Shilpa Gupta, Untitled, 2018, Tracings on paper, wood and printed text. 30,5 x 3 x 22 cm each. Courtesy of the artist. Art Jameel Collection

Artwork Details


Shilpa Gupta






Tracings on paper, wood and printed text


30,5 x 3 x 22 cm each (set of 10)

Credit Line

Art Jameel Collection

Work Description

Shilpa Gupta is interested in the power of words, and how language is used as an instrument of both control and cultural resistance. Considering language as an act of resistance but also as a test for the limits of freedom, Shilpa Gupta has developed several works that consider poets and the personal ramifications of their writing. Untitled is representative of missing or imprisoned poets. Each work is comprised of a fragment of text written by a poet, and a faint drawing behind wooden frames emulating prison bars, rendering their absence or erasure more visible.

The work focuses on ten imprisoned writers including Chinese poet and artist Liu Xia, who has been living under strict house arrest since her husband, poet and activist Liu Xiaobo, was imprisoned in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”; imprisoned Russian dissident Irina Ratushinskay, who scratched words onto soap, memorised, washed away and then rewrote the text on cigarette papers to smuggle it out of prison; and the Nigerian writer and Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, who was a vocal opponent of oppressive regimes and actively participated in progressive movements calling for justice and equality.

Artist Biography

Shilpa Gupta (b.1976, lives and works in Mumbai, India) has an interdisciplinary approach to challenging prevailing notions of individual and collective cultural identity within her work. She examines the role of perception and subjectivity in the status of objects, places, people and experiences, and the way value is defined and impacted by nationalism, trade, religion and notions of security.

Gupta studied sculpture at the Sir J. J. School of Fine Arts, Mumbai (1997). She has had solo shows at Barbican Centre, London (2021); Voorlinden Museum and Gardens, Wassenaar (2017); Kiosk, Ghent (2017); Bielefelder Kunstverein, La synagogue de Delme (2017); Arnolfini, Bristol (2016 & 2012); OK, Linz (2011 ); Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem (2011); Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2010 ); and Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2009).  Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions at ZKM, Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe (2019); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2019, 2016, 2012 & 2009); Mori Museum, Tokyo (2017, 2013 & 2008); Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi (2016); Devi Art Foundation, Gurugram (2016, 2008); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013, 2010);

Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011); Serpentine Gallery, London (2008); and Tate Modern, London (2001). 

Shilpa Gupta has participated in the the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018); NGV Triennial, Melbourne (2017); Gothenburg Biennial (2017); Berlin Biennale (2014); Sharjah Biennial (2013); Lyon Biennale (2009); New Museum Triennial, New York (2009); Yokohama Triennale (2008); Gwangju Biennale (2008); and the Liverpool Biennial (2006).

Useful Links

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