Born in London, Bharti Kher moved to India in 1993 and her work draws from the experiences in both Eastern and Western cultures. In this piece, Kher appropriates an Indian icon, the bindi, using a readymade to form a pattern on the mirror. In utilizing the bindi, a small circular symbol typically worn by Indian women on their foreheads, Kher's work comments on class, feminism and the relationship between traditional and contemporary culture. Whether representing the all-seeing third eye of Shiva or acting as an indicator of a woman's marital status, Kher meticulously places hundreds of bindi's into a lively spiral. In doing so, the artist suggests the transgression of the bindi from a significant symbol now universally identified with Indian culture.
"Kher plays on the role of the bindi in contemporary art. Mass-produced stick-on bindis are the low-brow versions of the Bindu (with a capital B), a conceptually loaded aesthetic and spatial device, valorized and self-Orientalized by modern Indian artists and architects. Kher's use of pedestrian bindis is an intellectual and cultural inversion of the mythology of the modern Bindu. By repeating the bindi endlessly and using it in subversive ways to cover surfaces that range from rexine (imitation-leather) carpets and broken cups to fiberglass animals and hybrids Kher pokes fun at the transcendent potential of the hallowed Bindu."
Kanu Kartik Agrawal, The In-Between Worlds of Bharti Kher, An Absence of Assignable Cause, exh. cat., Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and Nature Morte, New Delhi, 2007.