Shilpa Gupta

Shilpa Gupta, Untitled, 2006

Shilpa Gupta, Untitled, 2006

Better known for her web art, Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976, Mumbai) has also created – and combined – performances, installations, videos, postcards, public actions, art activism... an all-encompassing approach in tune with her artistic goals. Gupta's work is unique in its combination of a very broad subject matter, social concerns, the aim of reaching people beyond the art world, a direct use of technology and mass media/advertising language.

She is a true example of a ‘global artist’: one who takes advantage of whatever media are available today for facilitating communication, in order to discuss major global issues such as commerce, consumerism, religion, militarism, ecology, labour, human rights... crucial themes not often addressed by art today. Her bold, ‘subversive populism’ always has the virtue of shaking us. However, all through her work there runs a vein of the intimate and the feminine. If net art is frequently concerned mainly with itself, Gupta is a good example of how to employ it as a means to tackle key problems in an audience-friendly way, and with (at times black) humour and irony.

Some web pieces – such as, in which you can receive benedictions through the internet, choosing from several religions on offer – are full of subtleties, raise very complex issues, and involve processes of social interaction that are fundamental to the artist.

In her piece for International 06, Gupta selected social situations that we take for granted (social interactions, love, social history, religion, politics, the art world, the economy...) and presented them in places and ways that we wouldn't expect, provoking reactions of uncertainty, shock and dark humour. Echoing the game aspects of life and reality, Gupta signposted interesting questions and engaging paths, without an ultimate destination, truth or answer.

Gupta's interactive piece acted as a link between Liverpool and Mumbai. She was interested in exploring the open character and diversity that define the people of both cities; their respective ports being the gateway through which the character has historically been channelled.

The internet and the omnipresence of technology today provide new possibilities; Gupta's work aimed at highlighting the different ways in which these global landmarks have been adopted and adapted by the citizens of Liverpool and Mumbai..

Shilpa Gupta at Liverpool Biennial 2006

Untitled, 2006
Interactive projection 
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2006
Exhibited at FACT 

Supported by

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation 
Visiting Arts