About Bharti Kher: Alchemies

A celebration of diversity, discovery and personal identity, opening on Saturday 22 June.

Displayed in the Underground Gallery and surrounding gardens, Alchemies is an unmissable, powerful exhibition of sculpture and 2D work by one of the world’s leading contemporary artists.

Admission is included in your General Admission ticket.

The title of this new exhibition refers to Alchemy – an ancient practice that included trying to change ordinary metal into gold, and Bharti Kher’s work has these ideas of magical transformation at its heart.

Mythology plays an essential role and is a major source of inspiration. Stories of imagined creatures and spirits who live between worlds, bodies and time align perfectly with Kher’s thinking. She blurs boundaries between animals, humans, nature and objects. The results are often hybrid beings that combine the everyday with the imaginary and the extraordinary. When visiting the light-filled indoor gallery you will find a powerful group of hybrid figures gathered together – part women, part animals, part goddesses.

Many of these sculptures are cast from real bodies of women known to the artist. Kher describes these beings as “mythical urban goddesses” who are, “part truth, and part fiction, part me, and part you”.

A white sculpture of a woman with extended antlers.
Sculpture of a woman poised on one leg, the other in the air, draped in a silver sari.

Warrior with Cloak and Shield conveys the ability to be strong and vulnerable at the same time. Her shield is a huge banana leaf and her cloak is a shirt hanging from her enormous antlers. Neither appear capable of protecting her. Although her antlers are cumbersome and would impede her movement, they give her an air of magic. She is a contradictory, mysterious, and a quietly powerful presence.

Cloud Walker is inspired by the Dakinis of Tibetan mythology. Meaning ‘sky dweller’ or ‘sky dancer’, Dakinis inhabit the skies and embody all things feminine. They are manifestations of energy and truth who can be peaceful or wrathful. Cloud Walker is a fierce and compassionate divinity that exists between worlds, between sleeping and waking, and between life and death.

A colourful print made up of bindis in a circular pattern.

Bharti Kher has generously donated a limited edition print – Mimesis – in support of YSP.

All proceeds support YSP’s charitable mission to encourage access to outstanding art and creative learning for everyone.

For more information on how to acquire this exclusive artwork, download the sales sheet.

Visit YSP Shop to purchase the exhibition guide and other mementos inspired by Alchemies.

A South Asian woman wearing black overalls, standing between figurative sculptures in her studio.

“When I make the work in the studio, so many forces are at play: the material and its narrative and needs, my hands and their energies, the space and its dynamic as a holder of potential. The bodies and remnants of voices that leave their traces and essence in the body casts. Positives and negatives fly around me. All of it helps me see better, to sense the temperature, to hear what is physical, but to make the work sing I have let go of all of it. And that’s how the alchemies of the studio come into being”.

- Bharti Kher

Kher was born in 1969 in London and raised in the UK. Growing up as a young Asian in an English suburb in the 1970s and 80s gave her a sense of being different. In 1993 when she moved to New Delhi, India, she used her experience of feeling like an outsider looking in to shape her diverse artistic practice.

Read the press release to find out more.

Supported by the Henry Moore Foundation, the Bharti Kher Supporters’ Circle, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi, Hauser & Wirth, Nature Morte, Perrotin, RMZ Foundation, and The Girlfriend Fund.

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