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Untitled
Process based, Installation and Video, 2001-02
1x1foot 38 canvases, 14” television, lights, carpet

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Between July and December 2001, visited temples, churches, masjid; took a pilgrimage, approached a Reiki master, holy persons, celebrity gurus with a blank canvas. At each of these 40 places/people, which draw millions, I asked for the canvas to be blessed ‘such that it will bring peace and happiness wherever it stands’.


This information is then screen printed in plain black with name of place / person on each canvas which are hung in rows on a gold painted wall, surrounded by lights; to be approached via red carpet. A video documenting my visits and edited by a marriage video editor stands in the center, crowned by the canvases.


Is this canvas really blessed? Was it this particular one which went to that temple? Ok the artist asked for the blessing, but was the blessing given? So will it bring peace and happiness to where it stands? If I take it home, will it bless my house? Is it art then? Where to I hang it, in the temple next to my idol which all brings peace or above my sofa? But nothing is painted on it. Its only screen painted that “This object has been blessed by …so and so.. such that it will being peace and happiness where its stands”. Oh there is a choice, diff religions, diff beliefs.. which one should I take? which will be more effective?

 

The project is made against the background that art/craft played the role of manifesting collective religious aspirations of the society in its public domain.


Now in galleries and museums, one of the precious function of the artist has become, that of a Narrator of her times and it is this notions of Authenticity that the project intents to suspend. It also plays with the investment of meaning and questions belief at a time when both at home, at the border and beyond the world there is a clash of civilizations and political alignments are being configured on basis of religious identity.

 

 

Shilpa Gupta

 

 

 

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