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Shilpa Gupta’s first solo show in Italy
‘Second Moon’ by Shilpa Gupta, her first solo show in Italy, touches on several themes that are central to her practice: that of control, for example, and the security systems, which regulate and condition our day-to-day lives. Then there’s the presence, deliberately unmentioned or ignored, of a social substrata, which has emerged in the wake of the new expanding (or shrinking) )global economy – new classes still lacking a clear position and identity, are forced to live on the margins of advancing society. Milan based Galleria Continua is hosting a solo by the talented artist.

These suffering classes represent a source of potential, unexploded violence. The particular theme is boldly hinted at in ‘Untitled Heat Panels’. This ambitious creation, which forms core of the show, is a large wall work realized by Shilpa Gupta specifically for the Arco dei Becci space.

The curious theme of the recovery of memory, or rather, of memory as a purely unconscious element forms core of an imposing cement sculpture outside the Galleria Continua. The nuggets of memory as a purely unconscious element run through our lives and tend to determine - for better or worse - our actions.

Born in Mumbai in 1976, Shilpa Gupta is renowned in the contemporary art world for her experiments with new media. After training in sculpture, she has diversified into videos, web sites and interactive video installations. She launched her artistic career, using a wide range of media, and engaging with the sociopolitical and cultural world around her. Her artistic practice takes many forms.

Elaborating on her artistic evolution, Galleria Continua mentions: “The artist is interested in setting up dynamics, which bring art closer to the general public. For several years she has been working on projects of a social nature like a public art exchange project ‘Aar Paar’ between India and Pakistan, and a video art road show involving screening video art in the public streets of New Delhi and Mumbai.”

The exceptionally gifted artist has had solo shows in Asia, US and Europe, and has shown her work in several prestigious galleries, including Tate Modern, London; National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai and New Delhi; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Daimler Contemporary in Berlin; the ICC in Tokyo; Queens Museum, New York; Tamayo Museum, Mexico City; and the Chicago Cultural Center. France based Contemporary Art Museum commissioned a work for its permanent collection in 2006, when she also showed at the Lyons Biennale.

Her participation in many prestigious international exhibitions and events has established her as one of the leading Indian artists especially in the domain of video art and new media. Recently she featured in a number of internationally significant events, such as the Yokohama Triennale, Japan; 7th Gwangju Biennale, Korea; and ‘Indian Highway’ at Serpentine Gallery, London.

Although Shilpa Gupta’s work is developed mainly through technological means, it is their candid communication on the various issues, shaping contemporary life, which add an element of dynamism to them. Significantly, they revolve around the lives of young adults. Putting the latest show in perspective, a curatorial note points out how the works in the show ‘Second Moon’ communicate a dual message – giving voice to the hidden desires, the hopes and the fantasies of the human race, which help people in facing life with an optimistic attitude.

Simultaneously, the works on display reveal how these impulses can be deceptive illusions condemning us to look at the past with a certain level of regret, in that there’s no effective possibility of a better future. The artist looks to deliberate on universal issues such as globalization, terrorism, war, human rights, gender politics and environmental degradation.

In a uniquely skeptical and ironical way, the artist reminds us of the fact that we face the danger of blindly assuming that it is indeed technology that invariably connects us to each other and to the world around us. The curatorial note sums up: “Expectations are not always fulfilled and capitalist society, which the artist observes with suspicion, may result in extreme forms of individualism and closure.”

Galleria Continua was launched in San Gimignano, Italy, in 1990. The historical town offers scope for the development of new forms of symbiosis and dialogue between art from the past and the art of today - local and global – involving established and emerging artists. Galleria Continua after opening a new exhibit space in Beijing, has unveiled a new venue for contemporary art in Paris.