Revisiting ‘Zen Space’: An exhibition by Satish Gupta


It is not often that you meet with a master-artist, who mesmerises you with his ethereal and profound philosophy of life, translated into art.

Indeed, it was our good fortune that Wisdom Winds’ team had a chance of meeting with acclaimed sculptor Mr. Satish Gupta, during his solo exhibition at the India Habitat Center (IHC).

For the first time in 25 years, the Sanskriti awardee artist exhibited art pieces—sculptures, paintings and haikus—in the capital, and the excitement was palpable among art lovers of the city. But, for us at Wisdom Winds, it had a unique significance.

Presented by Gallery Art & Soul, the solo exhibition—Zen Space—displayed the artist’s consolidated works of eight paintings, 10 sculptures, and 72 haikus. As we walked through the art pieces, we felt the energy of Zen spirit, and the mysticism that made us reflect on the Buddha’s teachings.

The day turned more magical when we met Mr. Satish Gupta in the foyer. As we walked through the sculptures, Mr. Gupta encompassed his philosophy in these beautiful words, “We all are Buddhas, we all are same, we are all born same, and, if we go to the core we will find that all things are same, whether it is plants or trees or any other thing.”

A simple, yet, very powerful thought, and it is the essence of the Zen teachings that is reflected in his art too. The main attraction of the exhibition was undoubtedly the sleeping Buddha’s head reclined at an angle. The life-size work, displayed at the Atrium of IHC, took everyone by surprise.

While, the Buddha’s serene image made people to pause and contemplate about life for a few moments, the reverse side of the sculpture was even more mesmerising. The head of the sculpture was patterned like a cave, adorned with a sleeping Buddha, along with rows of Buddhas. However, the hypnotic images of Buddhas were not made up of rock, but were sculpted out of copper! Interestingly, this sculpture is a recollection of the devastating tsunami that hit South East Asia in 2004. In the artist’s words, “It speaks of the tremendous pain and suffering I saw and felt all around myself.”

Another captivating showcase was that of five Bodhisattva statues, showing five different Buddhist postures–the Buddha giving teachings, the Buddha in meditation, earth touching Buddhabhūmisparśa mudrā, the Buddha in Abhaya Mudra: Protection, and Buddha depicted through five different elements (air, water, earth, space and fire). The five Bodhisattva were–Amitabha (Fire element), Ratnasambhava (Earth element), Vairochana (Space element), Amoghasiddhi (Air element) and Akshobhaya (Water element).

Describing the sculptures, Mr. Satish Gupta said, “We all are Bodhisattvas; just need compassion to realise it.” Another beautiful installation was that of a wheel depicting the oneness of environment, known as SHUNYA–The Empty Zen Circle. A similar wheel showcase was of a meditation mandala, which rotates half way and then comes back. In our humble attempt, we have tried to capture the artist’s works in images.

As we conclude this piece, we leave you with a captivating thought from the artist, “As you grow older you realise that you know very little. In fact you know nothing at all, and if you know that you know everything that there is to know.”

Mr. Satish Gupta is famous for his life-size installations, copper sculptures, paintings, drawings and calligraphy. Recently, the artist also collaborated with Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi over a sculpture-painting titled ‘Om NAMO Shivay’, as a part of a fund-raising art auction. The solo exhibition of sculptures in copper and painting mixed media–Zen Space–was organised at the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, from March 23–March 31, 2016.

Click here to catch the glimpses of the event.