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Bharti Kher

An Absence of Assignable Cause, India, 2007

Fibreglass, bindis, 173x300x116

Courtesy of Private Collection, Switzerland and thanks to Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris & Miami

Bharti Kher’s sculpture is a heart of a whale, covered with sticker bindis. The bindi is a decorative pigment drawn on the forehead, signifying, according to Indian tradition, the age, marital status, religious background or ethnic affiliation of its bearer. Today the bindi mostly symbolizes marriage and the all-knowing third eye. Kher’s choice not to use the small, traditional colored spots, but rather the modern bindi, small stickers sold in masses as a fashion accessory in and out of India, indicates her intention to explore and criticize the modern consumer and kitsch culture.

“The disembodied whale heart reminds us of the proximate threat of extinction,” says the artist, “ The largest organ of any known being on earth is a highly personal vision of a society maladjusted to the vagaries of market forces and the effects of displacement on one hand and the growing disconnect with the animal world on the other”.