Bharti Kher’s inquiry in the realm of the domestic and its dramas finds its perfect counterpart in the Freud Museum.
This Breathing House equally explores Freud’s family life as well as his theories, creating a dialogue with the house. Referring to Maresfield Gardens as an organism, a ‘breathing entity’, Kher overlays, subverts, conserves and erases memories – of herself and of her own life, of her family and of the people who lived here. She adds traces to the house to suggest conversations past and present that engage with Freud’s references to the mind as a complex energy system. Kher extends the conversation to include the body.
Bloodline (2000), a glowing red tower stands in the middle of the hallway, from floor to ceiling, like a vein, binding the house together. Consisting of red glass bangles that recollect the sound of women moving through a space, it is an introduction to Kher’s idea of the house as a living breathing space.
Life-size casts of Kher’s parents sit in the study. Her exploration of the materiality of body casting, conserving and preserving is continued in The Chimera series, the casts of faces of loved ones. Kher explains: “You take the first imprint of the skin and then you freeze it and then you cover it. So it is like a time capsule. You encase something to preserve it.”
Bharti Kher (B. London, 1969) studied at the Middlesex Polytechnic, London, 1987 – 1988 and received a BA Honours in Fine Art, Painting at the Foundation Course in Art & Design at Newcastle Polytechnic, Newcastle, 1988 – 1991.
Kher’s work has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide. Recent solo presentations include: ‘In Her Own Language’, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, part of The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia (2016); ‘three decimal points. Of a minute of a second of a degree’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich (2014), ‘Misdemeanours’, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2014), Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London, England (2012).
Bharti Kher lives and works in New Delhi, India.