World Auction Record Set for Subodh Gupta Artwork

. April 20, 2008

Subodh Gupta’s Vehicle for the Seven Seas (2004) posted an auction record price for the Indian artist when it fetched €502,330 ($785,243), more than triple its €140,000-180,000 estimate, under the gavel of Francis Briest in Paris on April 3.

This world auction record is also the best second world record for Indian contemporary art (artists born after 1950). N S Harsha with Mass Mariage (168×290 cm) painted in 2003 achieved $833,483, the first highest price, in Hong Kong in 2007.

The sculpture, consisting of a gilded bronze trolley and three pieces of aluminium luggage, is emblematic of Subodh Gupta’s work. It was keenly contested between the saleroom and a battery of international phone bidders, before selling to a French collector in the room.
The previous record for Gupta, $494,308 for his 2006 oil-on-canvas Untitled, 1.67 x 2.29m, was set in Hong Kong on 25 November 2007.

Vehicle for the Seven Seas reflects Subodh Gupta’s concerns about the transformation of the rural milieu in which he grew up. Each individual in this poor, traditional, society has been suddenly subjected to the precarious nature of migration represented by the endless to-and-fro between countryside and city – and between India and the world at large.

Amidst this ambient chaos, there is something intimate about personal luggage.
This precious cargo has refuge value – as a miniature home. The suitcase and travelling bag, along with the trolley transporting them, are meticulously reproduced in polished bronze, like cult accessories or ceremonial objects. The gold trolley and silver luggage are transformed by the hope and desires invested in them.

Physical displacement, places of transit, means of transport, the objects that accompany the latterday nomad… all are present in the work of Subodh Gupta.

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Category: Auction News

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