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The Glass House - Grosvenor Vadehra (preview)

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

LONDON’s Grosvenor Vadehra Gallery is hosting an exhibition of work by Hema Upadhyay, entitled The Glass House, until June 2, 2007.

In The Glass House, her first solo show in London, Upadhyay tackles notions of migration, isolation, of a global sense of displacement, and the need to belong. In her work Dream a wish, wish a dream, she recreates the Dharavi slum, situated in India’s financial capital Mumbai, on a 3D micro scale.

In this work, she reflects on the reality of her newly adopted city “Mumbai, where space is all but real estate, and where the landscape proliferates with duplex slums and sky-scraping monstrosities. Here, real space is built of fake concrete and fictive spaces concretise into the real.” Her work conjures up an image of a world that exists literally below the surface, mysterious and invisible, carrying suggestions of secrets and lies, romance and violence.

Other works included in the exhibition are large format watercolours that demonstrate the largely autobiographical aspect of Upadhyay’s work. In these mixed media works, she incorporates photographs of herself, thus becoming the visible protagonist.

Upadhyay was awarded the 10th International Triennale-India, New Delhi in 2001. On display was her much discussed work The Nymph and the Adult which features nearly 2000 life size cockroaches seemingly running across a bare white wall. The viewer is both repulsed and yet fascinated by the life-like creatures.

This work draws viewers’ minds to the political and military tension in the South Asian Subcontinent, reminding them of the myth that in the event of a nuclear holocaust these creatures may be the only living creatures to survive.

Her work, which convincingly addresses issues that straddle the politics not only of gender and sexuality, of communalism and consumerism, but also of education in a bustling and continuously predatory urban environment, has been exhibited internationally in both solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Japan, Paris and the UK (Blackburn).

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 5:30pm; Saturday 11:00am to 4:00pm.

Grosvenor Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6PX.

For more information call 020 7484 7979 or visit the website.