Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2015 Art Tour Report No.1 - Shilpa Gupta
Artist: Shilpa Gupta
Title:Forgotten Roads
Work: T327
Location: Mizusawa, Tokamachi City
Year: 2015

  • Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2015 Art Tour Report No.1 - Shilpa Gupta

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Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2015 Art Tour Report No.1 - Shilpa Gupta

Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale

It is already the second half of the Triennale period this year. Among more than 300 works in view, our gallery will be introducing those we would like to especially recommend.

Born in 1976, the artists lives and works in Mumbai, India. Recently her works are gaining prominent attention in the art world Beside Echigo-Tsumari, she is exhibiting in India-Pakistan Pavilion in Venice Biennale.

Onsite work, looking over the national route 117.

The work is consisted of two separate works (one called onsite piece, and the other called offsite piece). The onsite piece is located on the “forgotten road” looking over the present national route 117. As the street is no longer being used, plants are growing wildly and we are able to discover remains of guard rails. The work is a mass of asphalt taken off from actual road construction, blocking our way sitting in the center of the forgotten road.

Offsite work located in Kinare, Satoyama Museum of Contemporary Art

On the other hand, at the installation at the offsite space in Kinare, the artist piled up postcards with photos of different forgotten roads and its latitude / longitude. By letting the audience take back the postcards, memory of forgotten roads may be shared with the numerous people.

In 2014, the artist has visited the in her site visit. There was no confirmed theme or actual site to install the piece at that time. Going up and down the mountains, passing tunnels and crossing bridges, the artist was interested in the scenery very different from her country. When discovering a small community in mountains, the artist was interested to know how roads are connected to the communities, and how people went to their rice fields in the mountains to make their daily livings in the old days when there were no cars like today.

Research material: small roads in the mountains (above) and newly constructed tunnels. (below)

Before the concrete idea for the art piece was submitted, the artist has thought about many different ideas. In the process, she has made a research of numerous roads and passage near the main streets today. This became the basis of the postcards found at the offsite.
In the old days, people were walking small passage in the mountains and along the river for hundreds of years. Small communities were located along this passage. Since the end of 1970’s tunnel and bridge construction started rapidly to change people’s life in the mountains. We are even able to find today a large number of construction works in the region to connect different places efficiently and straightly based on the idea invented after modernism.

Forgotten road in Matsudai area. By the construction of straight road and new bridge the old bridge is being taken away.

There still exists old roads beside all the new tunnels and bridges. After seeing Silpa Gupta’s work, please look carefully when you drive through the region, We are able to see many “forgotten roads”. Considering the relationship between people’s life and roads, or understanding of distance from one place to another, we are able to realize that we are not merely forgetting the roads, but may be forgetting and losing something other as well. Through the artwork, our understanding and vision toward the region may change.