The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, October 31, 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 |




Today's News

May 25, 2010

100 Years After Henri Rousseau's Death, the Guggenheim Devotes First In-Depth Exhibition

Early Childe Hassam Work Ushers in Summer at Bonhams New York

Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Bottle Unveiled in Trafalgar Square

Sotheby's to Sell One of the Most Iconic Works of Art by Bharti Kher

Six Hundred Museums Offer Military Families Free Admission

Digital Restoration of Wright's Robie House Wins Webby Award

Bonhams to Sell Haunting Picasso Portrait of the Artist's Friend

Sotheby's to Sell Rare Inscribed Copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Debut Novel

Mosaic Art NOW 2010: Great Art, Inspiring Artists, Provocative Thinking.

57 Ancient Tombs with Mummies Unearthed by Archeologists in Egypt

Unique Works and Scarce Multiples Highlight Swann Galleries' Auction

German Foreign Minister: Nefertiti Bust Should Stay in Berlin

Exhibition Showcases Recent Work by Artists Living in the New York Area

New York City Seeks Developer for Jazz Museum in Harlem

Kelly Smith Brings Strong Editorial Skills to Museum as Associate Director of Communications

Lyons Wier Gallery Opens Exhibitions by Amanda Besl and Jazz-minh Moore

Lewis Carroll Photos of Favorite Model for Sale at Bonhams

2,000 Years of Water in Jerusalem

Israel Museum Inaugurates Its Renewed Campus on July 26

'Dropouts' Cartoonist Howard Post Dies in New Jersey at 83

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

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