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What Does The Vessel Contain Exhibition

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Noah's Boat of Junk
Subodh Gupta, what does the vessel contain that the river does not, hauser & wirth
By Subodh Gupta

It seems very fitting that New Dehli artist, Subodh Gupta's, latest project should be his first exhibit outside of India. The giant twenty-metre installation explores conflicting feelings of belonging and dislocation, and was inspired by a thirteenth century Persian poet, who toyed with the theory of macrocosms inhabiting microcosms.

Gupta's title What does the vessel contain, that the river does not, is a paraphrased quote from Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī's The Sufi Path of Love. A river is a huge body of water with an entire ecosystem beneath its depths; a boat on the other hand, is much smaller, but when filled to the brim with commonplace objects, it becomes its own Noah's Ark. By cramming a traditional fishing boat from Kerala with junk, Gupta seems to signify that he is setting sail towards a new life. What I find unclear is whether these old pots and pans are going with him, or if they are being set adrift so that he can make a new start, but this may be the point. He is trapped in limbo, between the old and the new, and not quite sure where he is heading.

If you would like to study his work in more depth, then be sure where you are heading. You can find the exhibit at the Hauser & Wirth gallery up until the 27th July.
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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: Until 27th July
Phone: 44 207 287 2300
Where: Hauser & Wirth
Cost: Free
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