Home > Past Exhibitions > India: New Installations, Part II > Hema Upadhyay

Hema Upadhyay
(Indian, b. 1972)
Derelict, 2007
Matches, vinyl decals, wood, wire.
Three sculptures made from matchsticks in the shapes of chandeliers are placed within the space. To the left, the first is hanging from a single wire, almost touching the floor. The second appears to have been crushed against the right side of the wall. The third is hung from the ceiling at the far end of the room. Shadows under each chandelier are made of black vinyl adhesive in the shape of the artist’s silhouette in different poses.

“The crux of the work is that it comes from the idea of using materials that are flammable, literally. And everybody’s familiar with that.... People are like, “ok this is a matchstick, and it’s a potent, flammable object. I want to use it in a destructive way.” A lot of these works stem from my own personal experiences in Mumbai and are a response to what is happening all over the world in terms of war.”
“In the city of Pittsburgh, and in my neighborhood here where I’m living, I have seen that a lot of homes are abandoned. It’s almost like somebody just left and wasn’t allowed to take their things. It kind of builds your own fantasy, and stories and myths about certain things and the objects from these homes. A chandelier has a connotation of wealth. In earlier days we may have thought that only rich people could afford chandeliers because they are made with crystals and semi-precious stones and things of that sort. In this piece there’s one chandelier crushed into the wall, so that it’s almost breaking apart. One is hanging very pretty and one is just on the floor. The silhouettes now read as people who were possessing these objects…they become the shadow of the object”.



  
Untitled, 2007
Matchboxes, projected video.
In a second untitled installation, a video of Tom and Jerry cartoons projects onto a pile of leftover matchboxes in a small dark room to the right of the elevator.

“I started working with the matchboxes, extending the idea of violence. Universal violence, and I’m not zooming in on certain cultures, I’m interested in understanding it on the greatest levels, because the material I’m using is very potently violent, and the matchboxes will become the containers of these materials. I choose to project “Tom & Jerry” cartoons onto them because I think that they are the most violent cartoon.”
Hema Upadhyay (b. 1972) received her BFA in Painting and her MFA in Printmaking both from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda. Her work in mixed media and installation addresses issues of migration and displacement in India from her personal point of view while at the same time using Indian religious symbols such as the lotus or images from temple carvings. She won the Tenth Indian Triennial in 2001. She received the National Scholarship and the Gujarat State Award in 1996. She participated in a residency at Art Space in Sydney in 2001 and Vasl Residency in Karachi in 2003. She was included in Indian Summer at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris.

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