Born in 1969 in London, United Kingdom
Lives and works in Delhi, India

Bharti KHER

education

1988-91
- Foundation Course in Art & Design Newcastle Polytechnic, BA Honours, Fine Art, Painting

1987-88
- Middlesex Polytechnic, Cat Hill, London, UK

solo shows

2016
- The Laws of Reversed Effort, Galerie Perrotin, Paris
- This Breathing House, Freud Museum, London
- BHARTI KHER Matter, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada
- In Her Own Language, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth, Australia

2015
- Not All Who Wanders Are Lost, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, USA

2014
- three decimal points. Of a minute of a second of a defree, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich
- Misdemeanors, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China

2013
- Anomalies, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea
- Bind the Dream State to your Waking Life, Galerie Nature Morte, New Delhi, India

2012
- Many, (too) many, more than before, Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong
- Bharti Kher, Parasol Unit Foundation for contemporary art, London
- The hot winds that blow from the West, Hauser & Wirth, New York

2011
- Leave your smell, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris

2010
- Disturbia, utopia, house beautiful, Gallery SKE, Bangalore, India
- Inevitable undeniable necessary, Hauser & Wirth, London

2008
- Sing to them that will listen Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris
- Virus, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK

2007
- An absence of assignable cause, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, U.S.A.
- An absence of assignable cause, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India

2006
- Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, because you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup, Gallery 88 and Ske Gallery, Mumbai, India

2004
- Quasi-, mim-, ne-, near-, semi-, -ish, -like, Gallery Ske, Bangalore, India
- Hungry Dogs Eat Dirty Pudding, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India

2001
- The Private Softness of Skin, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai, India

2000
- The Private Softness of Skin, Bose Pacia Modern, New York (cat), USA

1999
- Telling Tails, New Delhi, India
- Telling Tails, Galerie F.I.A, Amsterdam, Netherlands

1997
- Galerie F.I.A, Amsterdam, Netherlands

1995
- Art Heritage, (cat), New Delhi, India

1993
- AIFACS, New Delhi, India

group shows

2017
- Versus Rodin: Bodies across space and time, Art Gallery of South Australia, (upcoming)

2016
- The Future Is Already Here – It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed, 20th Biennale of Sydney, Australia

2015
- Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection, curated by Suhanya Raffel,
- Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
- Don’t Shoot the Painter – UBS Art Collection, Villa Reale’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan, Italy
- Codes of Culture, SKE Gallery, New Dehli, India

2014
- Whorled Explorations, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India
- Girl - curated by Pharrel Williams, Galerie Perrotin, Paris
- Entre deux expositions. Collections et nouvelles acquisitions de l'Institut, Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux, France
- Here Today...A major exhibition marking 50 years of the IUCN Red List, The Old Sorting Office, London

2013
- Textile – Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art from Klimt to the Present, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany
- Quartiers d'été, Collection de l'Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, villa les Roches Brunes, Dinard, France

2012
- Misled by Nature: Contemporary Art and the Baroque, Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada
- Dot. Systems. From Pointillism to Pixelation, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Germany
- La Belle & la Bête, Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, Bordeaux, France
- India: Art Now, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
- The First Kiev Biennale of Contemporary Art: The best of times, the worst of times. Rebirth and apocalypse in contemporary art’, Kiev, Ukraine
- Critical Mass, Contemporary art from India, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel


2011
- Indian Highway V, MAXXI Museum, Roma
- Seduction by masquerade, Nature Morte, Delhi, India
- Paris Delhi Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris
- Indian Highway IV, Museé d'art contemporain de Lyon
- Festival der Tiere, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria
- Maximum INDIA, John Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC

2010
- Tokyo Art Meeting. Transformation, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
- Pattern ID , Akron Art Museum, One South high Akron Ohio, US
- The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today, The Saatchi Gallery, London
- Tauba Auerbach, Matthew Day Jackson…, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris
- Gothenburg Culture Festival Gothenburg, Sweden
- Lille3000: The Silk Road. Saatchi Gallery London in Lille, Tri Postal, Lille
- Indian Highway, Herning Kunstmuseum, Denmark
- Signs of Life. Ancient Knowledge in Contemporary Art, Kunstmuseum Luzern,Lucerne
- Susan Hefuna, Bharti Kher, Fred Tomaselli: Between the Worlds, Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland
- Facing East: Recent Works from China, India and Japan from the Frank Cohen Collection, Manchester Art Gallery, England
- Pattern ID, Akron Art Museum, US

2009
- Marvellous Reality, Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi, India
Shifting Shapes. Unstable Signs, Yale University School of Art, New Haven CT
Narratives from India in the 21st century: Between Memory and History, Madrid / Casa Asia, Barcelona, Spain
- Who’s Afraid of the Artists? A Selection of Works from the Pinault Collection, Palais des Arts de Dinard, France
- Bharti Kher, Yayoi Kusama, Eva Rothschild, Mindy Shapero, Marianne Boesky Gallery, NY
- Les Artistes Indiens d’Aujourd’hui, Palais Bénédictine, Fécamp, France
- Nature Nation, Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, Israel
Re-imagining Asia. A Thousand Years of Separation, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, England (Travelling Exhibition)

- Where in the world, curated by Kavita Singh, Shukla Sawant and Naman Ahuja, Devi
- Art foundation, New Delhi, India
- Chalo! India: A New Era of Indian Art, Essl Museum, Vienna, Austria
- Chalo! India: A New Era of Indian Art, The National Museum of Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul, Korea
- Indian Highway, curated by Gunnar B. Kvaran, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway

2008
- Indian Highway, curated by Julia Peyton-Jones, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
- Mutant Beauty, Anant Art Gallery, curated by Gayatri Sinha at the Anant Art Gallery, New Delhi
- Chalo! India: A New Era of Indian Art, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
- Indian Focus, Espace Claude Berri, Paris
- Everywhere is war, Bodhi Art Bombay, curated by Shaheen Merali, (cat.)
- Still moving Image, Devi Art Foundation, curated by Deeksha Nath at the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon, India (cat.)
- Expenditure, the Busan Biennale, directed by Kim, Won-Bang at The Busan Museum of Modern Art, Korea
- Comme des bêtes, (Like animals), Fine Arts Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, curated by Bernard Fibicher
- Re-imagining Asia, A thousand years of separation, curated by Shaheen Merali and Wu Hang, at the House of world cultures (cat)
- Distant Nearness, The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at Johnson County Community College, Kansas, USA
- Passage to India, Frank Cohen Collection at Initial Access Wolverhampton, UK
- India - Guest in the Giant, RAIN.bow.PEARLS, organized by Swarovski at the Kristallwelten
- New Delhi – New Wave, Primo Marella Gallery, Milano, Italy (cat.)

2007
- The Sneeze 80x80, curated by Peter Lloyd Lewis and Natasha Makowski, Cape Town, Durban
- International exhibition of sculptures and installations, organised by Arte Communications and the Department of culture of the Venice City Council.
- Urban Manners. Contemporary Artists from India, curated by Adelina von Furstenberg at Hangar Bicocca in collaboration with ART for the World Europa, Milan, Italy
- Indian Photo and Media Art: A Jouney of Discovery, FLUSS - NÖ Initiative for Photo-and Media Art, Weinviertel, Austria
- Private/Corporate IV, Sammlung DaimlerChrysler- Lekha and Anupam Poddar Collections, Berlin, Germany

2006
- Fuori Uso 2006- Altered States. Are you experienced? curated by Nicolas Bourriaud and Paolo Falcone, Ex Mercato Ortofrutticolo, Pescara, Italy
Asia Pacific Triennale, Queensland Art Gallery, (cat), Brisbane, Australia
- Le troisième Oeil, Lille 3000, curated by Caroline Naphegyi, (cat), Lille, France
- Inside outside, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India
- Hungry Gods, Arario Gallery, (cat), Beijing, China
- Made By Indians, Galerie Enrico Navarra, Art on the beach, (cat), St Tropez, France
- Long Happy Hours Thereby Happiness & Other Stories, Gallery Chemould at The Museum Gallery, Mumbai, India

2005
- Zeitsprunge Raumfolgen curated by Simone Wilke, IFA Galerie Berlin and Stutgard, (cat), Germany
- Mom and Pop, Walsh Gallery, Chicago, USA
- Indian Summer, curated by Deepak Anand and Jany Luga, ENSBA, (cat), Paris
- Indian Summer, Nature Morte, New Delhi
- Het offer/ an intimate I: droom en werkelijkheid, De Beverd Museum voor Grafische werkeljkheid, Breda

2004
- Contemporary Art From India, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, USA
- Vanitas Vanitatum, curated by Peter Nagy for Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, India
- The SNEEZE, a Featured Film 80 artists x 80 seconds 106 minutes, curated by Natasha Makowski and Peter Lloyd Lewis, (cat), Athens, Greece
- Adrogyne, curated by Alka Pande at India Habitat Center, New Delhi, India

2003
- Crossing Generations: diverge, curated by Geeta Kapur and Chaitanya Sambrani for 40 years of Gallery Chemould, (cat), Mumbai, India
- The Tree from the Seed: Contemporary art from India, curated by Gavin Jantjes, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, (Cat), Norway
- Sirpur Paper Mills, workshop Exhibition, at Art Inc, New Delhi, India
- Bad Taste, Apparao Gallery, at The Apeejay New Media Centre, New Delhi, India

2002
- Under Construction, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, (cat), Tokyo and Japan Foundation, Japan
- Khoj Residency Show, Khoj Studios, New Delhi, India
- Creative Space, Sakshi Gallery, at Habitat Centre, (cat), New Delhi, India
- Photosphere, curated by Peter Nagy, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India
- Playgrounds & Toys, ART for The World, Geneva, in Delhi with Nature Morte
- Cutting Edge Contemporary, curated by Art Edge, NGMA Mumbai, Interiors Espana, New Delhi, India
- GLUE, curated by Peter Nagy at Sumukha Gallery, Bangalore, India
- Borderless Terrain, curated by Alka Pande, India Habitat Center, (cat), New Delhi, India
- Silence Violence, NSA Gallery, a Pulse Project, curated by Greg Streak Durban, NieBethesda and Stellenbosch, South Africa
- MANGO, A SAWCC show for Talwar Gallery, New York, USA
- Sorry For The Inconvenience, curated by Gridthya Gaeweewong for Japan Foundation, at Project 304, Bangkok, Thailand and Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery Tokyo (Cat)
- Sidewinder, curated by Gerard Hemsworth for CIMA Gallery, Kolkata, India

2001
- Art On The Move, a Sahmat Project curated by Vivan Sundaram, in 5 venues in Delhi, India
- Kitch kitch Hota Hai, curated by Madhu Jain for Gallery Espace, India Habitat Center, (cat), New Delhi, India

2000
- Open Circle Exhibition, Lakeeren art Gallery, (cat), Mumbai, India
- of, based on, or obtained by (Tradition), Nature Morte, New Delhi
- Aar Paar, an exchange between five Indian and Pakistani artists, curated by Shilpa Gupta and Hema Mulji, at Kundan Pan Shop, Karachi, Pakistan

1999
- Impact, curated by Jim Beard Gallery, Amsterdam at CCA New Delhi, India
- Embarkation’s, curated by Yashodra Dalmia, Sakshi Gallery (cat), Mumbai, India
- Icons of The Millenium, curated by Lakeeren Art Gallery, Nehru Centre, (Cat), Mumbai, India
- Boxwallahs, Art in a Public Space with De Ego, a collaborative work with Subodh Gupta at Sahay Filling Station, Gurgaon/ Mehrauli Road, N.H.8, India
- Hed end aagse Kunst uit India, Central Bureau Vande Hogeschool, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


1988
- Edge of The Century, curated by Amit Mukopadya, British Council, (cat), New Delhi, India
- Cryptograms, Lakeeren Art Gallery, (cat), Mumbai, India

1996
- Royal Overseas League Open Exhibition, Overseas House London, Edinburgh College of Art, UK
- Of Women Icons/Stars/Feasts, Eicher Gallery, (cat), New Delhi

1995
- 6th Bharat Bhawan Biennal of Contemporary Indian Arts, Bhopal, India
Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, India
- Postcards for Gandhi, a Sahmat Exhibition in five cities in India

1993
- Trends in Contemporary Indian Art, Art Heritage, New Delhi, India

1991
- Aspects of British Figurative Painting (1988-93), Milton Gallery, London, UK

1990
- Fresh Art, the National Fine Art Degree Fair, the Business Design Center, London, UK
- Squires Gallery, Newcastle Polytechnic, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

awards

2007
- YFLO Woman Achiever of the Year

2004
- French Government residency, Paris, France

2003
- The Sanskriti Award

2002
- Khoj Residency, New Delhi, India

WORKSHOPS

2002
- Sirpur Paper Mills, Hyderabad, India
- Silence Violence, A Pulse project, Durban and Niebethesda, South Africa

2000
- Pipe Dreams Workshop 2000, Kosi Kalan, UP, India
- Open Circle Workshop, Mumbai, India

1997
- Khoj Artist’s Workshop, (cat), Sikribagh, Modinagar, India

Bharti Kher - This Breathing House

Bharti Kher - This Breathing House

Book

$31.16 Excluded VAT

Bharti Kher - Catalogue MATTER

Bharti Kher - Catalogue MATTER

Book

$29.66 Excluded VAT

Bharti Kher - Blind, eyes open

Bharti Kher - Blind, eyes open

Book

$31.16 Excluded VAT

Bharti Kher - Bharti Kher

Bharti Kher - Bharti Kher

book

  • out of stock   
  • May 2017
    SCULPTURE — 9 PAGES

  • March 2017
    Frieze Magazine — 1 PAGE

  • January 2017
    Art & Deal — 12 PAGES

  • November 2016
    Blouin Artinfo — 2 PAGES

  • June 2013
    Whitewall — 8 PAGES

by Kanu Agrawal

Bharti Kher creates fantastic fables populated by animals awash in a great primal wave of semen-shaped bindis, pantheons of female human-ape hybrids, and spectral hosts in dainty domestic settings gone awry. With the wit and irreverence of a prankster and a mad scientist, she brings a camp sensibility to her fables which unfold against the backdrop of a technological and ecological dystopia where machines, humans, animals, and nature are out of joint. Kher’s hybrid creatures are fabricated from such a dystopian repository which architect Rem Koolhaas defines as “junkspace, a domain of feigned, simulated order, a kingdom of morphing.” Junkspace is a playful and residual spatial disorder that results from the unregulated growth of cities. Through her morphed objects and animals, Kher revels in the discomfort and comedy that result from her encounters with metropolitan and small-town India.

Artists engaged with new paradigms of global and national space typically choose one of two paths. They may often reflexively mirror tropes from public culture or retreat into reflective self-inquiries seeking respite from the chaos of the outside world. Kher chooses to reside in-between. Firstly, she draws on her own dual identity as an Indian with a British background. Secondly, she locates her work in-between a society, entrenched in class divisions and prescribed gender roles, that retains a strong desire to be, but has never been, ‘truly modern’ which for sociologist Bruno Latour is also ‘truly hybrid,’ a condition where distinctions between humans and nature, ecology and politics are blurred. Seeking such a blurring herself, Kher finds herself in-between the exterior, a society maladjusted to the vagaries of a global market, and the interior, a world of rituals and repressed desires. For Kher, morphing is a survival technique. It is a unique system of camouflage and deception engaged to resist old patriarchal regimes and to invent new hybrid worlds and hybrid creations. Kher’s creations poke fun at their own trajectory: rootless, as they traverse their in-between worlds.


From Third Eye to Second Skin: Some notes on the Bindi

by Anita Roy

The bindi, or tikka, is the symbol par excellence of Indian femininity. It’s so simple - a red dot on the forehead. Nothing more complicated, you’d have thought, than a full stop. It says “I’m a woman” and “I’m an Indian”. Straightforward sentences, and yet there are few more complex ideas than gender and nationality.
Identity, after all, is a complicated business: the ‘I’ one carries around, that peers out from ones own eyes, that assesses, accepts, rejects and makes sense of the world, that blossoms in continuity through infancy to girlhood to adolescence and adulthood, is a being woven from multiple strands of social, historical and psychological threads. What face does this being present to the world, looking into the mirror, and carefully adding that cultural full stop - straight between the eyes?
There are two common misconceptions about the bindi. The first that it is a symbol of caste or religion; and the second that it symbolizes marriage, in the same way as, for example, a wedding ring does in the west. Although these are both misconceptions, they hold the seeds of some truth - they are wrong in interesting ways. In the 1960s and 70s, semioticians like Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes taught us to decode the meanings that inhere in objects, studying ‘signs’ like language. Artifacts have etymologies just as much as words, and when artifacts are used in art, it is those hidden, multiple layers which are brought to the surface.
The association with caste and/or the Hindu religion stems from a confusion or conflation of wearing bindis and receiving a vermilion tikka between the eyebrows at a temple. This mark of blessing is common throughout India. Within Hindu cosmology, the “third eye” is just here - gods, goddesses (especially Kali) and other enlightened beings are often depicted in paintings and sculptures with the third eye opened. The two eyes are used for seeing the material world, reality, everyday stuff - but the third eye sees beyond, and seeing beyond apprehends the spiritual truth that the material world is illusory (maya) and the soul is neither personal nor contained, but rather a transitory expression of cosmic, eternal oneness.
The second misconception is that wearing a bindi signals that the woman wearing it is married. Again: wrong, but not entirely. The colour red is very strongly associated with marriage, with femininity, and sexuality. My Bengali aunt has only worn black bindis since her husband died, in keeping with the tradition that widows should not wear red. But there again, the modern bindi - that comes in a handy pack, with sticky backs - is not only red, and even the plain red variety are worn by girls and women of all ages whether married or not.
Of course the other, completely valid, take on all this is - don’t be silly! Bindi’s don’t mean anything! They just look nice. “Bindis are fast becoming the accessory of choice for their sensual charm and sparkle. Try one today!” exhorts a fashion website. In any marketplace in India, you’ll find thousands of different designs, colours, and sizes. Arrows, ovals, circles, spirals, squiggles, and zigsags; overlaid with baubles, sequins; big as a medallion, tiny as a dot. And it’s not just India either. It’s a mix’n’match symbol, shaken loose of its cultural moorings and flying its colours high and bright. It’s there on the cover of Are you Experienced? by William Sutcliffe making a bright sunflower of a western backpacker’s bare bellybutton.
Like many other artists, Bharti Kher reflects a modern, indeed post-modern sensibility - a world where concepts like “authenticity” rarely come without quote marks, and where “globalization” has rendered national borders highly permeable to products, ideas, and even images. Her own cultural background, as an Indian born and brought up in England but now living and working in India, ideally positions her to explore ideas of national identity. The bindi, which forms a central motif to much of her work, is the perfect touchstone for her: like her, it refuses to be contained by narrow definitions of culture or gender, and it enables her to simultaneously explore the mundane and the marvellous.
The critic Geeta Kapur characterises a specifically female aesthetic in art, which she describes as “a woman’s worldview on the material reality of things that make up the working substance of life.” Kher’s own work often plays with imagery of the hybridity of life- . The bindi itself is the perfect meld of the sublime and ridiculous, as she says: “I love the way all these women all over the place put on their ‘third eye’ just to go and buy vegetables.”
“The cliché of the sperm surely cannot be taken earnestly,” explains Kher. “Symbolically and conceptually female and male at the same time...What happens is you are getting a contradictory visual aesthetic,” says Kher. This ultimate symbol of maleness and fertility used as the ultimate mark of female beautification results in something new altogether. The one does not cancel the other out, but the two combine to make a third idea, or thing, which shimmers with the luminescence of both.
Like Kher, I love the idea of women putting on their ‘third eye’ in order to go down to the market. It’s an unconscious gesture for the most part, and yet this little sticker, this decorative dot or squiggle, signifies so much more than mere prettiness - it inscribes each ordinary, blank forehead with the potential for enlightenment, female power, sexuality. Herein lies the transformative power of art to take the ordinary stuff of life and create something altogether new which returns us back to reality with a fresh sense of the divine, immanent all around us.