Modern and Contemporary Art from India
February 25, 2011 through September 4, 2011, San Jose Museum of Art
Acrylic on canvas, bronze
91 x 68 inches (canvas)
14 x 12 ½ x 17 inches each (bronze sculptures)
Private collection
Photo: Courtesy Haunch of Venison, New York and London

Jitish Kallat
Born 1974, Mumbai (formerly Bombay)
Lives and works in Mumbai

In Universal Recipient, Jitish Kallat portrayed the chaos of his home city of Mumbai perched precariously on the head of one of its millions of citizens. The figure wears a uniform and presumably works as a security guard. His likeness, perhaps taken from an identification card and thus overly processed, copied, and exposed, represents the throngs who navigate the city everyday. The jumble of machines, animals, and humans that constitute the urban turban is both idea and reality, an acknowledgment of the city’s inextricable role in the psyche of its citizens. The two bronze owls that support the painting are replicas of those that adorn the busy Victoria Terminus train station in Mumbai. The unknown waste at the left conveys the lack of respect for its subject.