Ventnorian
A Just-about-everything-covered-kind-of-blog
  • Shilpa Gupta

    Whilst we enter the rooms holding Gupta’s work, we see a bookshelf to the left of one room, on it, lies the covers, made out of metal, imprinted with various titles. whilst we  view the books to seek out names we know; you are constantly aware there is a echoing wail being sung in the next room, you feel nervous, anxious to see what emanates this noise.

    These books represent the countless authors who had to change their material or name for another to allow their books to be published; women writers who took a pseudonym to publish where men would not allow them to. Male writers who change their names as to sell their romance novels better and not to be laughed at for being a man who writes about such feminine things. Races who changed their names; Black writers, Jewish, even Joanne Rowling, asked to initialise her name to sell the copies of her soon-to-be incredibly popular books better. The list carries on. In my own mind I feel the use of the metal books adds to their meaning; perhaps to represent the permanence these writers brought with their writing, even with writing under a pseudonym, they become the name they use, it binds them to the book and creates what cannot be changed, not really.
    Within the second room we are greeted with a creature, Huge and obscuring, a focal point in a darkened room; this creature, made out of microphones, forms a cloud. These microphones emit a wail that sings; “I want to fly high in the sky” the mantra chanted by Shilpa herself. This piece left me confused at first; because I wasn’t sure ofit’s meaning, however upon hearing the curator talk of the work, I began to understand that Gupta’s use of Language, her interests in the theorist Noam Chomsky’s work, she took ideas from this to convey the idea of language’s borders that separate countries. This idea she held, and created conveys to me this incredibly subtle view, it’s not dramatic, in a sense (okay making a cloud of microphones is a little off the wall) but it doesn’t attack you, it’s calms you. you walk around and view the piece, listening, quietly to the sounds it emanates, almost like a whale floating in the sea, the cloud floats above you and you expect with microphones to talk into it,
    but instead they act as miniature speakers. which in itself could be taken to mean the billions of voices in the world, speaking different languages, all holding a microphone, and speaking. 

    For more on Shilpa Gupta: http://www.flyinthe.net/

    For more about the Arnolfini Gallery: http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/

    Oct 8, 2012

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