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“Untitled (Shadow 2)” [2006]

Shilpa GUPTA

“Untitled (Shadow 2)”


Visitors entering the area of this work are filmed by a camera installed in the room, and the recorded images are projected in real-time in the form of silhouettes onto the opposite wall. Appearing there next to the visitor’s shadow are small houses and windows, as well as birds and people who aren’t actually in the room, which then begin to interact in a playful way with the visitor’s shadow.

Those who enter the space of this work automatically become part of it, and are thereby reminded of the fact that we cannot choose the place and time of our birth, nor the culture defined by these circumstances. The various objects that appear here hint at all those “things we cannot choose” in life. Sounds audible in the exhibition space include sounds of church and temple bells, athan (azan) prayer time announcements, and other things related in one way or another to religion‒one particular aspect that is closely linked to places and their respective established cultures (especially in the artist’s native India).

In spite of this rather serious background, the work itself is full of humor and very accessible, communicating the artist’s positive message that we can take action in response to the environments we are placed in, just like the viewer can move the houses, open the windows and free the birds, or dance with the other characters.



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