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Indo-French artist explores everyday objects

New Delhi: A dustbin, a can of soft drink, a half-eaten apple, the utilitarian cooking gas cylinder- everyday objects from different societies take centre stage in Indo-French artist Swati Gupta`s first solo show in India.

"UFO-Unidentified Factory Object" by the young contemporary artist explores the relationship between artworks and viewers in her works that she calls a mix of still life and American pop art.

"I was brought up in India, went on to study in France and the US and travelled all over Europe. My experience has led me to view the objects that are in use in daily life in a new light," says Gupta whose 11-day exhibition opened here on September 1.

The artist has apprenticed under Anjolie Ela Menon as a Spic Macay scholarship programme and trained by renowned Indian artists such as Subroto Kundu, Anupam Sud, Alka Pandey and French artists such as Sylvie Blocher, Anne Pontet, Micheele Waquant among others.

"Life outside India is different. During my tour in France I used to see people queuing up on weekends to dispose of their garbage. I have painted the glass dustbin and taken in isolation it loses its real value and seems like an UFO," says Gupta.

Another work is a gas cylinder with a few cockroaches painted into the canvas. Another canvas has a red letter box with symbols of email and social networking sites painted on the edges of the canvas. .

Swati Gupta who divides her time between India and France says, "Often I find that we have to continuously keep on doing something with our time. Either we are with the phones and other gadgets or doing something mechanical. Everything around us is mass produced and my art talks about them."

Gupta`s solo exhibition showcases 15 mixed media works and two installations, including one that has been inspired by the recent anti-corruption protests in Delhi.

"When I arrived in Delhi Baba Ramdev was sitting on a protest dharna. I was very intrigued by the garlands that some protesters were wearing and thought of doing an installation," explains Gupta.

The installation titled "108" uses plastic, steel bolts, tapes and paper to replicate a string of 108 beads usually used in Hindu prayers.

The 29-year-old who is married to a French artist and participated in group exhibitions there says installation art is a huge phenomenon abroad and is yet to pick up in India.

"In France art is one of the basic necessities of life but it is not so here. It is picking up here but it will still take some time."

"People and societies inspire me. i am very much into public art and video installations. I am also keen on working with photography," says Gupta who had showcased her work in 2007 in France in an exhibition on India.

She had also created an installation "Bhool Bhulaiya" using sarees for her exhibition in France.

While Gupta has a gallery in France she says she is not averse to opening a gallery in India too.

"My husband and I love India and France equally. We complement each other. Maybe we will exhibit together sometime and do our `two man` show," she says.

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