Sunil Gupta - A Practice

Jan 24, 2023

The Kunstraum Leuphana University Lüneburg is delighted to host a presentation of the photographer, activist, and curator Sunil Gupta on the evolution of his interests in the representation of politics to a formally discrete politics of representation. Having moved from Delhi to Montreal as a teenager in 1969, to New York in 1976, and to London in 1978, how have these various migrations informed this evolution and his decision to move his practice for the period 2005-2012 back to Delhi? Initially interested in modernist photography, Gupta systematically expanded his early focus through an embrace of post-colonial, post-modernist identity politics movements in the 1980s, bringing homosexuality and race to the fore. This process led to a shift from the commercial art world towards community building and activism using formal and non-formal education, writing, editing and curatorial tools, coalescing his lived experiences with the political and aesthetic consequences of art making.

Sunil Gupta is a British/Canadian citizen, (b. New Delhi 1953) MA (Royal College of Art) PhD (University of Westminster) who has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. In the 1980s, he reconstructed documentary images of gay men in Delhi, “Exiles” (1987). His recent (2008—2012 and ongoing) series “Mr. Malhotra’s Party” updates this theme during a time in which queer identities are more fluid. His early documentary series “Christopher Street” (1976) was shot when Gupta studied under Lisette Model at the New School for Social Research and became interested in the idea of gay public space.