Kukje Gallery is pleased to present Anomalies the first solo exhibition of Bharti Kher (b.1969) in Seoul from September 5 through October 5. Bringing together selected works from multiple series, Anomalies provides a broad overview of the artist’s practice. Through her work, Kher frames questions of memory, cultural myth and social hierarchy. Her multimedia work uses found objects as well as highly skilled modeling to refer to known forms and physical anatomy with the purpose of transforming them in a way that reveals their powerful psycho-social meaning.
Bharti Kher is widely known for both her large sculptural forms and bindi works. Alternating between abstract imagery, sculptural installations and deeply unsettling yet poetic depictions of human /animal hybrids, Kher’s work disassembles the world in which we live. In her drawings she has subverted the “bindi”. Applied to the forehead by Indian women, the bindi (Sanskrit for dot) has multiple symbolic meanings including as a metaphor for the “third eye. In her drawings, Kher alludes to both the cultural and conceptual possibilities of the bindi using them as an unorthodox and highly evocative medium. She applies them one by one to create spectacular layers of color and texture that challenge our perception and understanding of painting. Intensely time and labor intensive to produce, the artist refers to her process as “slight of hand” creating abstract marks that work together to suggest movement, typographical maps, people, mappings and codes. These can be mistaken from afar for brush strokes and when seen up close trap the gaze in their labyrinthine complexities.
One of Bharti Kher’s central themes is the subject of domesticity, home and femininity. In sculptures such as Time Lag (2013, the image to the right of the text) she applies bindis on objects, altering the meanings of domestic construction elements, conflating the vocabularies of home and femininity. In addition to everyday objects Kher uses clothing, especially saris, to evoke the absence of a person, a female figure - the women of the family. Kher explains, “In Asia and India, the house and domestic space constitute a female domain, and this is where women are able to truly assert more ‘self’ within a space. But a house is also fraught with social, economic and sexual excesses that can obscure or even threaten to obliterate the spiritual connections that are our greatest resource.”
In another well-known series Kher has constructed hybrid female figures, half-human/halfanimal sculptures where the artist inverts natural hierarchy. These sculptures are what how Kher envisions the “urban goddess” revealing the instability and unease of the feminine; they present the ambiguity of the body as both sacred and profane at once truthful and deviant, beautiful and violent. Stepping far beyond concrete definitions of placement and sign, Kher’s constructed females challenge notions of sexuality, power, love, body and the grotesque.
About the Artist
Based in New Delhi, India, since 1993, Bharti Kher was born in 1969 in London to parents who had migrated from India to the United Kingdom. She studied painting, graduating in 1991 from Newcastle Polytechnic. In 1992 she traveled to India, deciding to live there permanently. Kher’s practice is inter-disciplinary, encompassing painting, sculpture and installation. Overarching themes within her work include the notion of the self as a “multiple” and culture’s openness to misinterpretation. She exploits the drama inherent in objects, tapping into mythologies and the numerous diverse associations they carry.
Kher’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and included in scores of group exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout India, Europe and the United States. It was most recently featured in Parasol Unit for Contemporary Art in London (2012), First International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Kiev (2012), “Paris-Delhi-Bombay” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2011); “21 “Tokyo Art Meeting. Transformation”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2010); and “Bharti Kher - Fred Tomaselli - Susan Hefuna” at the Kunstmuseum Thun in Switzerland (2010).st Century” Art in the First Decade”, Queensland Art Gallery, Australia (2010)