Genie in the bottle: Artist Bharti Kher forays into mirrors

New Delhi: Contemporary artist Bharti Kher has followed in the footsteps of husband and leading artist Subodh Gupta in interpreting the Absolut bottle for the vodka brand`s iconic ad campaign.

Kher`s work titled "Absolut Kher"- a two dimensional six-ft tall bottle shaped mirror installation sporting a swirl of light and dark blue bindis pasted on it is the latest to
join a campaign that has featured prominent artists from across the world beginning with pop icon Andy Warhol.

"I think it is fun to be part of a campaign that has featured over the last 30 years artists like Andy Warhol. I think the Absolut campaign is absolutely unique because they are the only company to have collaborated with artists for so long," Kher told reporters before her work was unveled at a lounge here recently.

The England-born and raised Kher, now based in Delhi, uses the `bindi` as a metaphor for the third eye and its constant focus on perfection.

Kher had become India`s top-selling woman artist, when her fiberglass sprawled elephant sculpture "The Skin Speaks a Language Not its Own" dotted with bindis fetched Rs 6.9 crore (USD 1.5 million) at Sotheby`s London last year.

Bharti Kher says she was working for her next solo in Centre Pompidou, in which she has used mirrors, when she was casually talking to people and got approached to execute the Absolut installation.

"When you stand before the work you can look at your reflection inside it. It is like seeing youself inside the bottle... sort of like a genie in a bottle," says the artist.

It is said that Kher first saw a woman sporting a sperm like bindi and was so impressed that she bought the entire stock of bindis from the shop where the woman had purchased her bindis.

Subsequently, Kher whose works comprise sculpture installation and painting, retained the bindi as her trademark.

The artist`s husband Subodh Gupta has also featured in the Absolut art collection which has a portfolio of over 800 original collaborations, the first of which was commissioned from Andy Warhol in 1985.

Other celebrity contributors include Damien Hirst, Gianni Versace and Stella McCartney.

Gupta fashioned a collection of stainless steel kitchen utensils in the shape of a bottle earlier this year.

Previously, designer Manish Malhotra had been featured from the subcontinent for the ad campaign.

All of the iconic bottle designs are presently housed at the Museum of Wine and Spirits in Stockholm.


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