sculptures & installations

Sculptures and Installations

Rain

“Rain stands as the most gentle and revolutionary expression of art: exposed to actual rain, trees and sunlight. Depletion of natural resources, recreating and sustaining, are at the core of the series.” 

River

“A site-specific installation with the invention of deploying earthen lamps and chilams as an iteration of their metaphors to form the lyrical formlessness of Time along the flow of the river. The multidimensional sensuousness of strands of rain pouring down against a waterfront is thought provoking as a poetic device executed with dramatic presence.”

Beehives

“This global beehive garden project is an environmental statement by the artist about biodiversity and its crucial linkages to sustainable development. Manav’s art has always sought to play a bigger role than itself, in creating greater awareness on environment.”

Noah's Ark

“The artist uses the symbolism of the Noah’s ark to underline the relevance of saving the world. A cycle of creation, un-creation, and re-creation, in which the ark plays a pivotal role. We are all clay and could all be Noah to stop a while and protect our own; by adopting a safe methodology of sustainable living that takes the future generations of our own families and other species to an evolved and secure life through the consciousness of preserving our environment.”

the Bed

“The artist makes an intimate statement of love through the use of the male and female idioms of existence and how fragile love can be and yet so ethereal. Another dimension of sustainable development. With the river bed of earthen lamps and earthen cups, a stream seems to emerge from somewhere deep within and flow seemlessly pouring over. The bed is symbolic of history, of love and of a certain hope that the statement ‘meet me by the riverside..’ evokes.”

Time Machine

“The artist engages the audience with Time and its ethereal and transient passage. Clay, a naked, earth symbol of existence, resource and sustainability and the cup as the metaphor of Time’s limitedness draw us to explore how we use our resources. The introduction of Light within, by the artist, celebrates the awakening of our consciousness and its potential of Hope.”

“Gupta came up with a unique way to draw everyone’s attention towards the endangered environment.”

BBC UK

"transforming the familiar into something completely unconventional, unexpected, and magical.”

Sculpture Magazine

Manav Gupta Public Art Installations Excavations in hymns of clay waterfront India Habitat Centre

'Rain, the Ganga Waterfront along Time Machine' Hosted by India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India. 2015 | "Bringing a river into the heart of a city."

Excavations in hymns of clay

“Excavations in Hymns of Clay” is a suite of environmental art installations by Manav Gupta where the artist deploys the quintessentially Indian potter’s produce of clay objects such as the earthen lamps (“diyas”), local cigar (“chilam”), earthen cups (“kullar”) and transforms their individual identity into metaphors and idioms of sustainability, context, perception and treatment as he conceptualizes and creates large scale avant-garde installations.He stuns the viewer with his originality of thought as he produces a cutting edge contemporary global language that he intelligently derives from the “local”, in his “excavations” of the spiritual philosophy of sustainable living as espoused in Indian scriptures, even as he brilliantly executes an organic engagement of art with architecture and space.

'Rain, the Ganga Waterfront along Time Machine' Hosted by India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India. 2015 | "Bringing a river into the heart of a city."

While one is lured intelligently within the sensuousness of the ‘Waterfront’, ‘River of clay’, and ‘Rain’ letting one feel the ethereal, emotive content like that of an epic story, Manav explores the essence of the vedic practices to subtly bring to light the repository of solutions that the ancient way of life could offer in today’s context of sustainable development and current issues around rivers like the Ganga. In sculptures like the ‘Time Machine’, ‘Bee-hives’, ‘Solitary reapers’, ‘Noah’s ark – on my eyot’ the fragility of clay juxtaposed with the limitedness of the “cup of life” question the paradigm of Time and human engagement with it in today’s rapidly mechanized and constructed consumerist engagement with earth’s resources. All along he sets up the works as subtle, sensitive organic site specific architectural instances that set the stage at public, institutional and private spaces for dialogues and questions that audiences can have with the art and within themselves.

'Rain, the Ganga Waterfront along Time Machine' Hosted by India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India. 2015 | "Bringing a river into the heart of a city."

“Manav Gupta has reinvented the language of clay with true originaility of thought and treatment”

Architecture Update | Volume 10 | Issue 7 | ‘Allegoric Innovations’

“A river of disposable clay vessels speaks to how we choose to use (and sometimes misuse) the earth for our own purposes, where the artist makes the river an idiom -­‐ and takes it across the Nile or the Mississippi or the Thames as ‘water’ that relates to the commonality of environmental issues the world over”

PUBLIC ART REVIEW, USA | Fall-­‐winter edition, 2015-2016

Gupta has universalised the diya to draw attention to a contemporary issue

Mail Today

Shrinking River, South Africa. Hosted by the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and the Indian High Commission. 2012

the metaphor

Using the earthen lamp as a metaphor, Manav explores issues of environment consciousness. We recognise and respect earth only when we use its resources for our use without reverence. Having been a part of the religious rituals many years and having grown up and lived this practice in India for years this whole symbolic circle of life has deeply affected the artist to use earthen lamps diyas as a metaphor to explore and raise questions on environment consciousness. And also about the very glaring issue of how perception and context interplay each other. How men and objects are made to traverse responses and the destiny of reactions based on usage, perception, context and situation. The earthen lamp is woven in the cultural-religious fabric of India from time immemorial. This humble small clay bowl called the diya is shaped by poor potters who keep them in large numbers by the road side in heaps for selling. Sometimes beside garbage dumps or beside sewage drain they have a nondescript existence till the time they are bought home by people.Once home, only at the time of worship, they are used as a tool at the altar.Then something dramatic happens. The same humble small bowl of clay that had no meaning, no significance or existence in the human pshyche suddenly turns into the medium of conveying the desires of the soul. Sacred as soon as when placed at the alter.Priests say you do not need to purify these mud bowls by sprinkling of Holy water of the Ganges because it is made of earth and is pure.Oil ispoured in it. A wicker lit. And it assumes the status of the Holy Grail carrying one‘s prayers of the soul to the Gods and our spirit awakens. Once the prayer ends, the earthen lamp is discarded again to be immersed in the Ganges. Taken for granted. Annointed when needed. Only revered when in use. And after its purpose is served, discarded and thrown and another one bought to serve the desires of the soul yet another day. Its life is strange as the way of the world and the circle of life. Like the unsung hymns of clay.

the analogy

The artist has also taken his analogy from the Ganges.The sacred river of India has dedications that have always poured on it in many ways.The opening lines of the lyrics of an old song from an Indian movie speak about the dichotomy of perceptionIt conveys, ‘ if you believe, then I am sacred, or else mere water that flows…’ Given today’s world of current complex issues of treatment and perception of women as well as earth (referred to as mother earth in many quarters of Indian spirituality ) the artist draws a cross spectrum reference of eroding human values. The pollution of the rivers, the shrinking of water and its availability and such other climate change issues have been in the artist’s ethos of work since beginning.

Shrinking River, South Africa. Hosted by the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and the Indian High Commission. 2012

Unsung Hymns of Clay, 2012. Hosted by the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History and the Indian High Commission, South Africa.

Raw subject photographed by the artist curating the aperture, shutter speed and camera movement to create and depict his poetry on his new series: the unsung hymns of clay.

Sacred
If you believe.
It lies
wrapped
in a heap
of nothingness.
Unsung, unlit, unheard.
Till the end of time.

At an alter
sometimes,
Flames peep out
of it’s earthen palms.
An iridescent arch
woven by moonbeams.
Vanquishing all darkness.
My soul sings my desires
Filling me with abundance.

manav

Photographed by the artist.

Photographed by the artist.

'Zen' and the Shrinking River

the BEEHIVE GARDEN project

The Beehive Garden Project. 1 of 6 installations spread across 26 acres. Exhibited as part of the artist's "arth - art for earth" project. Hosted by IGNCA and the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, 2018

The Beehive Garden Project. 1 of 6 installations spread across 26 acres. Exhibited as part of the artist's "arth - art for earth" project. Hosted by IGNCA and the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, 2018

"In its entirety it can fill the Tate Turbine Hall"

The Pioneer.

"Gupta at his musing best."

Blouin Art Info

"fresh, minimalistic, innovative and original"

Architecture+Design

the TIME MACHINE

Time Machine, Amrita Shergill Marg, New Delhi, India

Time Machine, New Delhi, India

RAIN

“No other artist uses clay and pottery in public art like Manav Gupta”

‘Down to Arth’, Swarajya, 2018

Half-an-acre of rain. Rain, Rainforest and the Beehive Garden. Daylight shot. 1 of 6 installations for Arth Art for Earth by Manav Gupta. Hosted by IGNCA and the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, 2018

Half-an-acre of rain. Rain, Rainforest and the Beehive Garden. Daylight shot. 1 of 6 installations for Arth Art for Earth by Manav Gupta. Hosted by IGNCA and the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, 2018

Rain, Rainforest & the Beehive Garden
Water, River, Waterfront, Ganga, Shrinking River
the Beehive Garden project
Noah's Ark
the Time Machine