Shilpa Gupta: I Live Under Your Sky Too: Centro Botín, Santander, Spain

March 23 - September 8, 2024
Installation Views
Press release

I Live Under Your Sky Too is a moving presentation of recent work by Shilpa Gupta (Mumbai, 1976) where voice and poetry fill the exhibition space reclaiming the existence of people who have been muted, isolated or relegated to the edges. As embodied by the animated LED light installation with the exhibition´s title phrase – written in English, Spanish and Urdu – this exhibition stages a clear assertion of presence.

Shilpa’s insistence on filling empty spaces with voices from diverse communities in a huge variety of languages is a natural consequence of her life in Mumbai, in an extraordinary multicultural and polyphonic environment, immersed in a sea of languages, religions, cultures and beliefs. Listening Air, the central work in this show, is a space for shared listening that relays voices from several historically oppressed communities. It makes audible words that have resonated in distant and diverse landscapes, connecting rice fields, forests, streets and universities from different parts of the world.

Over the last ten years, Shilpa has conducted an ambitious transhistorical and transcultural body of research about poetry and repression, which in this exhibition manifests in a selection of drawings outlining absent bodies of imprisoned poets, as well as several sculptures that speak of experiences of bodily confinement and the persistence of love in isolation. The political context where the artist grew up in South Asia, a geographic region with constant social and territorial conflicts, has influenced her ongoing return to borders. A collection of works on textile, wood, and wax, as well as participatory and analogue devices, speak of limitations of movement and freedom due to psychological, ideological or physical boundaries.

In the words of academic Pratap Bhanu Mehta: “Shilpa Gupta’s art is an exercise in how we can redeploy our imaginative power to cross boundaries, negate censors and open ourselves to others. It fulfils the highest vocation of art to say this: all it takes is a little imagination to set us free”.



Images:  Exhibition view: Shilpa Gupta, Yo también vivo bajo tu cielo, Centro Botín, Santander, 2024. ©Fundación Botín. Photo: Vicente Paredes