(born 1969) is one of India’s best-known contemporary artists. Her
work encompasses painting, sculpture and installation, often incorporating
bindis — the popular forehead decoration worn by women in India —
which in Kher’s hands become an epidermal filter, transforming objects
and dissolving the distinction between two and three dimensions.
Kher’s works are radically heterogeneous. Sculptures she has made since the mid-2000s combine animal with human body parts to create hybrid female figures that confront the viewer with a compelling mixture of sexuality and monstrosity. In contrast, her bindi ‘paintings’ are abstract and aesthetic, turning the mass-produced consumerist items into artworks of sumptuous beauty.
Overarching themes are the notion of the self as a multiple and culture’s openness to misinterpretation. She exploits the drama inherent in objects, tapping into mythologies and the numerous diverse associations a thing can bring: ‘I am like a magpie that takes what it needs and turns an old shiny button into a beacon’ the artist has said. ‘Most of us are products of our lives.’