Bharti Kher: ‘A wonderful anarchy’

Bharti Kher’s sculptures, installations and paintings give form to the rituals of daily life, reassessing and transforming their meaning to an effect of magical realism. In her transformation of found objects, the artist looks to reposition the viewer’s relationship with them, layering references to the mythological, scientific, ritualistic and psychological onto them.

Following a three-month residency she did with the gallery in 2017, Delhi-based artist Bharti Kher is presenting a series of new works across the gardens, barns and workshops of Hauser and Wirth Somerset.

‘The fallow’ (2019) is a monumental 3.5 metre cast bronze female figure, hollowed-out, with an ornate half-circle exploding from her depths, while ‘A wonderful anarchy’ (2018) brings together the artist’s vast curation of personal belongings, heirlooms, and found or collected pedestrian objects.

‘Algorithm for time travel‘ (2018) is one of Kher’s latest bindi panels. For the artist, the bindi is a raw material that crosses many cartographic and psychological axis. Also on display in the exhibition is ‘Virus X’ (2019), the latest in Kher’s ongoing 30-year project, which involves the creation of a bindi painting each year. Viewed together, these works create a sense of free fall through time.

‘The intermediaries’ (2019) features a mosaic of clay forms mounted on cement and wax. The disparate figures convey female energies, with heads as fruits, intertwined with lace, and bellies birthing several disembodied faces. ‘The whole is greater’ (2017) is a series of drawings on pages of old ledger notebooks, encapsulating Kher’s fascination with instruments of record-keeping.

“All the art that I love comes from the tradition of reduction,” says Kher. “When I think about the purest form, it really goes back to the intention of the object and the integrity of the object with its narrative and name.”