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[Viewing Salon] Bharti Kher: Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Exhibition details

11 May, 2020
24 May, 2020
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Perrotin is pleased to debut Viewing Salon, a new platform that embraces the vast possibilities of an increasingly digital world through the organization of rigorous exhibitions. For the salon’s inaugural exhibition, Not All Who Wander Are Lost, we are excited to survey New Delhi-based artist Bharti Kher’s atlas series, on view from Monday, May 11 to Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Spanning works from the last decade of Kher’s practice, the presentation focuses solely on the artist’s mixed media works with bindis, which she has often referred to as “action paintings.” Originally debuted at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, the series subsequently evolved into a public art project across the façade of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Here, it is surveyed for the first time.

A central proposal of Kher’s work is the belief in alchemy, or the ability of material substances to transform. Forging a singular relationship with objects from our collective past, Bharti Kher is consistently interested in the revelations they can offer. In this ongoing series, Bharti focuses on Mercator maps.

In the first iteration of the series, Bharti affixed individual bindis onto the surface of a single copy of the Larousse Atlas published in 1947, using the bindi as a mark-making device. Ready-mades are a cornerstone of Kher’s practice, and here she uses them to counter prevailing discourses around territory, using bindis to obfuscate and complicate historic visualizations of the world. In our current moment, when movement is halted around the globe, Kher intervenes on preexisting notions of belonging, exchange, and geodesy.

Over the course of Kher’s three decades long-practice, the bindi has been a constant companion. It functions as membrane and material, as skin and surface, and as motif throughout nearly all of her major bodies of work. Originating with the Sanskrit word bindu—drop or small particle—the bindi is a dot affixed to the center of the forehead, representing a spiritual third eye. Although contemporary culture often relegates the bindi to mere fashion accessory, Kher reminds us that bindis multiply modes of seeing, adding that one should never forget that “the work looks back at you.”

About the artist

Bharti Kher’s oeuvre spans more than two decades and includes paintings, sculptures and installations. Throughout her practice she has displayed an unwavering relationship with surrealism, narrative, and the nature of things. Inspired by a wide range of sources and making practices, she employs the readymade in wide arc of meaning and transformation. Kher’s works thus appear to move through time, using reference as a counterpoint and contradiction as a visual tool. Her chimeras, mythical monsters, and allegorical tales combine references that are at once topical and traditional, political and poetic.

Kher studied her Foundation Course in Art and Design at Middlesex Polytechnic London, and received a fine art BA in painting, with honors. at Newcastle Polytechnic, United Kingdom. Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and has been included in scores of group exhibitions at museums and galleries worldwide.

Photo: Kei Okano
Image courtesy of the artist and Perrotin


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