The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Sotheby's to Sell One of the Most Iconic Works of Art by Bharti Kher
"The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own" by Bharti Kher. Estimate: £700,000-1,000,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Sotheby's announced that it will offer for sale Bharti Kher’s celebrated sculpture The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own, one of the most iconic and most talked-about works of art by a contemporary Indian artist and the masterpiece of the leading female artist of her generation. Awe-inspiring in its scale, detail and beauty, this life-sized female Indian elephant, will be offered in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Monday, June 28, 2010. The work appears at auction for the very first time since it was created in 2006 and is estimated at £700,000-1,000,000.

James Sevier, Director and Specialist, Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department, said: “This is a work which took Bharti Kher ten months to create, every fold and recess of the sunken form is meticulously contoured by the intricately arranged patterns of thousands of bindis that organically swarm across the beast in a second skin. It is India’s identity in all its glorious complexities that is the hero of this masterpiece and the sculpture remains a beacon of India’s avant garde art scene at the beginning of the 21st century. We are delighted to be offering this masterpiece - which is not only an exquisite work of art in its own right, but also an icon of contemporary Indian culture and art - on the international platform of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale this June in London.”

Discussing the resonance and importance of the sculpture, Zara Porter-Hill, Director and Head of Sotheby’s Indian Art Department, commented: “Despite our familiarity with elephants, nothing prepares the viewer for the emotional experience of seeing Kher’s elephant, huge and incongruous in the gallery space. With her head resting on her front foot, she is brought down to our level and her glassy black eye entreats a communion and proximity rarely encountered in the wild. It is the most important work by this leading artist to appear on the auction market and will appeal not only to collectors of Indian Art, but also to the wider international community of connoisseurs of zeitgeist Contemporary Art.”

Brought to its knees in a seemingly untenable position, simultaneously peaceful and painful, The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own is a vision that engenders extreme pathos from the viewer; is she rising or is she falling, resting or expiring, living or dying. Kher combines two symbols of Indian culture – the bindi and the elephant – in a powerfully emotive sculpture which leaves the viewer asking whether this is a vision of India on the rise or an India exhausted by its own rapid modernisation.

The now endangered native Indian elephant has long been a symbol of the subcontinent. Sacred in Hindu mythology, temples are ubiquitously adorned with stone carvings of the powerful, uprights beasts which are revered and worshipped in religious ceremonies. Throughout the ages, elephants have also been symbols of state power and royal authority in India, used as ceremonial mounts for royal and religious dignitaries and familiar trope of traditional Indian miniature painting. Prized for their intelligence, domestication and versatility, their physical strength has been variously employed in warfare, industry and agriculture and even capital punishment. In the West elephants have become a symbol of Indian culture.

In The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own, Kher personifies this creature as the archetype of India, its culture, history and civilisation, and marries it with another identifier of Indian ethnicity, the bindi, Kher’s signature motif. The bindi in India is traditionally a mark of pigment applied to the forehead which is associated with the Hindu symbol of the third eye that sees beyond the material world. Kher was particularly attracted to the white, serpentine bindi used in this work because of its spermatozoa form and its oxymoronic relationship to the traditionally female accessory, striking deeper associations of gender roles and definitions of femininity in India.

Kher plays on the pluralism of ancient Indian customs juxtaposed with modern Western values and as the inherent contradiction of the title The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own suggests, outward appearance and inner values do not always coalesce. The social roles, traditional rituals, gender relationships and popular culture of India past and present are all scrutinised from Kher’s unique trans-national vantage point. Born in London and trained in Newcastle, Kher is a rare reverse émigré who moved back to India from the United Kingdom in 1992 at the age of 23, having not set foot on Indian soil for almost twenty years. Questions of her own identity and her place as a successful female artist with a western upbringing in modern Indian society are inevitably entwined into her ethnographic observations of contemporary Indian life.

Confronted with this sculpture laden with symbolism, Kher leaves it open to interpretation whether India the elephant can rise up and march on as the economic global powerhouse of the future that so many predict, or whether the weight of history and the pace of change prove too much for this beast of burden, crestfallen and crippled by its own cultural contradictions which do not fit the western mould of progress. Made in Kher’s studio in Delhi, The Skin Speaks a Language not its Own – one of three unique variations plus the artist proof – eloquently articulates India’s dilemma.

Sotheby's | Bharti Kher | James Sevier |


Last Week News

May 24, 2010

Exhibition Focuses on the Works Referred to by Le Corbusier's 1928 Lecture in Madrid

Oberlin to Send Masterworks by Rubens, ter Brugghen, Turner to the Phillips

Royal Institute of British Architects International Awards Winners Announced

Unpublished Images of India's History Recovered from Yellow Crates

Rare Preliminary Watercolor from Pinocchio on the Auction Block

Exhibition of Landscape Photographs at Galerie Wagner + Partner

New York Skyscraper Wins Highest "Green" Certification

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to Screen Robert Adanto's Pearls on the Ocean Floor

10 Museums Form Partnership to Celebrate Overground East London Line

Nasher Sculpture Center Presents Rachel Whiteread Drawings

Group Show of Work by Forty Artists in All Media at Ferrin Gallery

St Ives and the International Avant-Garde Opens at Tate

Exhibition of Photographs from the Struggle for Civil Rights Opens at ICP

The Heckscher Museum of Art Presents The Heckscher at 90: Then and Now

Nicola Carrino at A arte Studio Invernizzi, Milan

Delaware Art Museum Announces New Trustees

Indian Artist Ravender Reddy Featured at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

IKEA Presents Sustainability Report 2009: More Innovation - More Programs and Partnerships

Sublime Works by Sally Gabori to Open at The Gallery in Cork Street

Create10 Launches the Bank of America Merril Lynch Create Art Award 200

May 23, 2010

World's Largest Exhibition of the Stellar New York Artist James Rizzi Opens in Bremen

Getty Museum Debuts Cutting-Edge Technology to Showcase Cabinet

Canadian Museum of Nature Unveils Renewed Historic Public Exhibitions Site

Impressive Line-up of Contemporary Art at Villa Grisebach's Spring Auctions in Berlin

ICP Opens Inaugural Installment of a New Annual Series of Exhibitions

Montreal Presents World Premiere of Runa Islam's "Magical Consciousness"

Grand Rapids Art Museum Presents Dutch Utopia: American Artists in Holland

Derek Eller Opens Liz Magic Laser's First Solo Exhibition at the Gallery

Aspen Art Museum Invites Eights Artists for Group Exhibition

Hillwood Announces New Executive Director Appointment

Joslyn Art Museum Outdoor Garden Galleries Showcases Three New Sculptures

St Martin-in-the-Fields Reaches Its 36 Million Pound Target

Russian Dagestan Village Defies Odds with Ancient Art

New Katharine Hepburn Stamp Adopted as Official Stamp for Kent State University Museum Exhibit

The Toledo Museum of Art Receives $2 Million Lead Gift to Renovate Its Former Glass Gallery

Israeli Art Detectives Crack a Forgery Riddle

Gareth Thomas Appointed Tate Trustee

Untouched Tomb to Unravel Secrets of Cyprus's Past

Another Picasso Stolen in French Fine Art Robbery

May 22, 2010

Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay Opens at the de Young Museum

Paris Heightens Museum Vigilance After Big Heist at Museum of Modern Art

Getty Museum Reopens North Pavilion Galleries with a Major Reinstallation

Enchanting British Watercolours & Paintings for Sale at Christie's

Guggenheim Museum Publications Receive Excellence Awards

Baroque Cabinets and Exceptional Sculpture Highlight Christie's Sale

Drawings 1963-1977 by Donald Judd at Maloney Fine Art

An Earl and Countess for the National Gallery of Victoria

Imperial War Museum Launches Innovative Explore History Centre

Artists Establish a Dialogue with Modernist Architects or Designers in Exhibition

Portland Museum of Art's Winslow Homer Illustrations to Debut Online

British Artist Claerwen James Debuts Her Work in NYC at Flowers

Morgan Exhibition Explores the Romantic Movement's Influence on Landscapes

Phillips de Pury & Company's London Photographs Sale Totals 901,375 Pounds

Iconic Work by Richard Avedon and Vintage Edward Weston, Lead Fine Photographs Sale at Bonhams

Struggling Statue Maker Feels Economic Heat

Mexican Codices will be Digitalized for their Study

Site-Specific Installation by Situ Studio to Inaugurate Newly Renovated 10,000-Square-Foot Gallery

Guggenheim Museum Appoints Jeffrey Weiss as Curator, Panza Collection

May 21, 2010

Five Masterpieces Stolen in $123 Million Paris Museum of Modern Art Heist

Exhibition Set to Reveal a New Picasso for a New Time

Getty Puts on View Painting Rescued from Abruzzo Earthquake

Rare Tintin Artifacts to Go Under the Hammer at Piasa Auction House

2010 Royal Institute of British Architects Award Winners Announced

From Boston to Singapore - A New Director for the Asian Civilisations Museum

Alex Katz Presents a Major Work to the Brandhorst Foundation

Sotheby's to Sell Three of Pablo Picasso's Greatest Prints

Art Fair Tokyo Announces Takahiro Kaneshima as New Executive Director

Craig Ruddy's Portrait of Warwick Thornton Wins Archibald People's Choice

Lewis Chessmen Open Scottish Tour at National Museum of Scotland

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Announces Opening of New Wing on November 20

Hammer Museum Present New Sculptural Work by Architect Greg Lynn

Mixed Media Paintings of Korean Artist Hyun Ju Park at Causey Contemporary

Most Extensive Overview of Michael Schmidt's Work to Date at Haus der Kunst

Yael Bartana Awarded the UK's Largest Art Prize

Van Gogh Museum and Kroller-Müller Museum Organise Van Gogh Exhibition in Japan

Images from the Khodorkovsky Trial Make U.S. Premier

California Attorney General Supports Claim for Art Seized in WWII

May 20, 2010

With Disabled Security System Thief Steals Five Paintings from Paris Museum of Modern Art

Archaeological Team of the Warriors of Xi'an Wins 2010 Prince of Asturias Award

Hirshhorn Present First U.S. Retrospective of Yves Klein's Work in Nearly 30 Years

Donor Surprises Florida Museum with a Painting by Georgia O'Keeffe

Exhibition of Recent Work by Zhang Huan at Pace Gallery in Beijing

IVAM Offers Bernar Venet His First Show in a Spanish Museum

Christie's Swiss Art: Masterpieces of Swiss Art from 1800 to 2010

Cyprus: Work Crews Stumble on 2-Millennia-Old Coffins

Warren Langley's Aspire Illuminates an Ugly Site in Sydney

Guggenheim Exhibition Celebrates Late Painter Kenneth Noland

Victorian Paintings on View at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Rare Antique Maps in May 20 Auction Unfold History of Washington D.C.

Tlaltecuhtli Colossal Monolith was Moved to Templo Mayor Museum

New Paintings by Renowned Colorist Ron Ehrlich at Stephen Haller Gallery

Renowned Film Maker Harun Farocki Created Site Specific Work at Osram Art Projects

Monumental Sculptures by Manolo Valdés can be Seen on Broadway

Baroness' Glass Paperweights Smash Estimates to Make 574,080 Pounds at Bonhams

Romain Bernini Debuts His Work in the U.S. at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art

Exhibition by Spanish Artist Javier Riaño at Gabarron Foundation in New York

Venice Art Walk & Auctions to Raise Funds for the Uninsured

May 19, 2010

Earliest Mesoamerican Royal Tomb Discovered by Scientific Team inside Pyramid in Chiapas

Greek Police Seize Two Rare Statues From Two Farmers

Collecting the New: Recent Acquisitions to the IMMA Collection

Sotheby's to Sell Four Important Works by British Master L.S. Lowry

Select Works from the Salander O'Reilly Galleries to be Sold at Christie's

Georgia O'Keeffe Draws Art Lovers to Northern New Mexico

Bonhams to Sell Portrait of Greatest Pre-Nelson Military Hero

Artpace Presents Jens Hoffmann's Photos while Driving Around in Texas

Mickey Smith's New Language at Ogilvy & Mather's Chocolate Factory

Dutch Artist Lily van der Stokker Exhibits at Tate St. Ives

Jen Bekman Gallery Presents Thirty-Seven Photographs by Gregory Krum

Iceberg with Dutch Artist Ap Verheggen Artworks Breaks Loose

Oxford University Museum of Natural History Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Numerous Historical Curiosities and Rarities to Highlight Coins, Medals and Banknotes Auction

Kabul's Street Photographers Fade into History

High Museum of Art Announces First Academic Affiliation with Brenau University

Stories, a Captivating Mix Media Show, Opens at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Vienna Hosts Art and Architecture from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Jerusalem Museum Excavation Damages Bones

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Neanderthals and humans were both living in Europe for between 2,600 and 5,400 years

2.- First major exhibition to explore the historical legacy of African cultural astronomy opens at LACMA

3.- Carlo Mollino's idealized vision of the female form in new book published by Damiani/Crump

4.- Tate Britain displays works by Frank Auerbach from the collection of Lucian Freud

5.- In grave robber territory, locals abuzz over Alexander-era tomb; Largest of its kind ever discovered in Greece

6.- Lambert Collection opens an ambitious project housed at the Sainte-Anne Prison

7.- Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore announces the first 18 artists in the CCA Residencies progamme

8.- Historic Kings Theatre is transformed into major New York Performing Arts venue

9.- Thirteen's American Masters Series co-produces new documentary about photographer Dorothea Lange

10.- Sotheby's New York to offer 548 Edward Weston photographs as a single lot this September

Related Stories



Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Sotheby's New York to offer The Andy Williams Collection of Navajo blankets in May 2012

Buhl Collection brings $12.3M - Highest ever total for a private collection of photos sold at auction

'Casablanca' piano sells in NY for more than $600K

No bidder found for letters by 'Peanuts' creator

Sotheby's names President and CEO William F. Ruprecht as Chairman of the Board of Directors

Sotheby's announces first ever selling exhibition of contemporary art from central Asia and the Caucasus

Mick Jagger love letters written to American singer Marsha Hunt sold at London auction

House of Illustration raises 68,750 in "What are they like?" Celebrity Auction at Sotheby's London

Swiss contemporary art generates enthusiasm among collectors at Sotheby's



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site