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Venice honour for Indian artist

New Delhi, April 28: Subodh Gupta believes in going that extra distance. And the accolades, he says, come naturally. Like the Venice Biennale.

Come June and the Delhi-based artist will be packing his bags for the Italian city as the sole representative of the Indian art fraternity at the Biennale ' one of the most significant events on the international calendar for contemporary art.

Along with 48 others from across the globe, the visual artist will be displaying his work at the exhibition, titled Always A Little Further. As part of the Biennale, the exhibition ' slated to begin at the Arsenale in Venice in the second week of June ' will encapsulate the latest global trends in sculpture, installation and video art.

'Venice is special,' says the visual artist who has also participated in Biennales in Havana, Busan and Moscow.

Gupta, who is primarily into sculpture and installation art these days, first received global acclaim in 1997 for his installation 29 Mornings, now in the collection of the Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan.

The following years have seen him displaying his works regularly at several galleries in Geneva, New York and Paris.

Though he does not want to reveal the nature of his work to be displayed at the forthcoming extravaganza, the 41-year-old hints it is going to be an improvisation of his installation Curry that had been displayed at the Moscow Biennale this year.

Gupta, who began his career as a painter after graduating from the College of Arts and Crafts, Patna, in 1988, began to practise installation art from the mid-nineties.

'I still do painting though,' he says. 'But I wanted to develop into a complete visual artist who has the freedom to choose the medium best suited for expressing a particular idea. I also dabble in video art, which is a relatively modern form of art.'

Gupta, who won the Unesco-Ashberg scholarship and the Bose Pacia award in 1997, has also been a visiting lecturer at the 'Ecole des Beaux-arts, Paris.

Though the Venice Biennale is a plume in the artist's cap, Gupta believes he still has miles to go.

'I want to be focused on visual art as a whole,' says Gupta, who studied theatre before he opted for a fine arts degree.

Acting clearly is still quite a passion for Gupta and he fondly recalls how he played a two-minute cameo as a gangster in the 2003 Bollywood production Haasil, directed by his friend Tigmanshu Dhulia.

'In the future, I want to create art out of film,' he says. 'Though I am yet to decide how to go about it.'

For the moment, though, it's Venice that's on Gupta's mind. And a packed international schedule that follows. The visual artist feels that is only taking things 'a little further'.

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