BrutonBharti Kher. A Wonderful Anarchy
Hauser & Wirth Somerset presents ‘A Wonderful Anarchy,’ an exhibition of new work by Bharti Kher, following her three-month residency with the gallery in 2017. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Somerset and marks a return to the most elemental themes within her practice.
Kher, who works across a multitude of forms, will present a body of sculpture, installation, and paintings. In the process of transforming found objects, and continually experimenting with materials, she layers references: to the mythological and scientific, secular and ritualistic, physical and psychological. At the center of all works is the abstraction of shape and confluence of time in a provocative meeting of materials.
This act of making and creating sculpture is borne through the act of drawing. Kher will be the first artist to continue a residency in conjunction with their exhibition and will remain in Somerset until December. As visitors arrive at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, they will encounter the exhibition’s largest sculpture, ‘Halfwoman’ (2019), a monumental 3.5 metre cast bronze figure which was conceived from the artist’s series of smaller sculptures, ‘The intermediaries’ (2019). Like ‘The Intermediary Family’ (2018) that came before it and featured in Frieze Sculpture Park 2018, ‘Half-woman’ (2019) invokes themes of female multiplicity. This time however, Kher presents the potency of her goddess through negative space. She is hollowed-out, becoming a product of excavation, with an ornate half-circle exploding from her depths – a formalistic intervention of shapes that visitors will see recurring throughout the show. The sculpture was produced locally at the Morris Singer Foundry in Hampshire and developed during Kher’s first residency period in Somerset.
The exhibition continues into the Threshing Barn, where visitors see Kher exploring the notion of accretion in a style that goes beyond the idiosyncratic tendencies of a hobbyist collector, and into the intention of artmaking with the exhibition namesake – ‘A wonderful anarchy’ (2018). Acting as a dynamic counterpoint to the outdoor bronze, this new balance work brings together her vast curation of personal belongings, heirlooms, and found or collected pedestrian objects. Kher weaves this detritus of the studio in a manner so rapidly that she says the moment of making was ‘of synchronicity and rhyme.’ Dysfunctional staircases, yarns of wool, rusted urns, and the remnants of ominous black lace are pushed up against chains, scales, horns and hooks, even the most pristine of miniature figurines – suspending the domestic and the captive, in perfect stillness. The anchor of this supposed serenity is not just the ropes and pulleys, but also the pillar that stands at a distance from the entropy it holds together, representing a state of resilience and counterbalance in a world constantly in flux.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)