November 7 – December 20, 2014

sepiaEYE is pleased to present OUT AND ABOUT: New York and New Delhi, a solo exhibition of the work of Sunil Gupta. Two pivotal bodies of photographs, Christopher Street (1976) and  Mr. Malhotra’s Party (2007-2012), will be featured together with a selection of video work.

Gupta’s series of photographs, Christopher Street, was realized during the mid-1970s when he spent a year in New York in pursuit of a master’s degree in business administration. Changing focus from business to a concentration in photography after enrolling in the New School, where he was exposed to an extraordinary group of mentors including George Tice, Philippe Halsman, and Lisette Model, this period became the turning point for his artistic practice.

I spent my weekends cruising with my camera, it was the heady days after Stonewall and before AIDS when we were young and busy, creating a public gay space such as hadn’t really been seen before. In retrospect these pictures have become both nostalgic and iconic for a very important moment in my personal history.

In the 1980s Gupta worked on a series of constructed documentary color photographs of anonymous gay men in monumental architectural spaces in Delhi, titled Exiles. Then, after a thirty-five year absence, Gupta returned to live in India; the time corresponded with an intense lobbying campaign to change the colonial anti-sodomy law in India. Since the LGBT community is still under fire politically, private parties and the web are the spaces where people meet. 

In Mr. Malhotra’s Party, Gupta visualizes the latest virtual queer space through a series of portraits of people who identify their sexuality as “queer” in some way. As they look directly into the camera they are willing to identify themselves—they become a part of an imaginary party:

There are no gay bars in Delhi but parties do happen and the way they get away with it is to post a notice saying that it’s a private party. The place we always went to had a different name every week. One day it was called Mr. Malhotra’s Party. Malhotra is a typical name that comes from the Punjabi refugees of the Partition of India in 1948, and like hard working migrant Punjabis everywhere in the world, they built New Delhi.

Sunil Gupta is a photographer, artist, educator, and curator based in London and New Delhi. Born in New Delhi in 1953 and educated at the New School for Social Research (1976), West Surrey College of Art & Design (1981) and The Royal College of Art (London, 1983), he has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years. Gupta has curated over 30 exhibitions, and has organized conferences, lectures, and presentations internationally. His work is in public collections including George Eastman House (Rochester, USA), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tate Britain, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Harvard University.


Exhibition dates: November 7 – December 20, 2014

ICP Lecture: November 5, 7 pm.

Press Release (PDF)

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