Subodh Gupta first used the vocabulary of steel vessels at his solo show at Gallery Chemould, Mumbai, in 1998. The steel works are all about the instant impact of monumentality and sheen. High Life transforms Indian middle class utensils into spectacular and magical installations. Outside India, Gupta's chimtas and lotas recall the history, from Warhol onwards, of using mass-produced objects to make art. The familiarity of Subodh’s art-language might have a role to play in his reputation in the international market.
Objects themselves take their meaning from their cultural context, which changes constantly according to space and time. What makes Subodh’s work exportable is its rooted-ness in a certain milieu, different from that of the importer, thus leading to a fascination with the imported object.
Subodh’s work is an observation on bourgeoisie and material culture and it addresses the issues of commodification in this age of globalization.The Bihari rooted-ness of earlier works has given way to the construction of a visual language of immediate impact. It is no longer only about his cultural identity but also about the international presence of the artist: Subodh Gupta.