Tate Modern Talk

Bhupen Khakhar: Truth is Beauty

Image by Bhupen Khakhar Truth is Beauty catalogue
Self-produced catalogue, Truth is Beauty and Beauty is God, Gallery Chemould, 1972. Source: Geeta Kapur and Vivan Sundaram Image courtesy: Asia Art Archive

Join this talk by curators and specialists on Bhupen Khakhar

​From the beginning of his artistic career, Bhupen Khakhar expressed a commitment to presenting the world as he saw it and experienced it. Often celebrated for his bold and honest approach to his life as a gay man in India during the late twentieth century, he stated in the catalogue to his 1972 exhibition at Gallery Chemould, Bombay that he wanted to reach beauty by truth alone.

This event takes its name after the same exhibition and self-written catalogue, Truth Is Beauty and Beauty Is God. Bringing together three speakers who offer a unique insight into a specific period of the artist’s career, this panel discussion aims to introduce and situate the artist’s practice and life within his particular contexts.

Themes explored include Khakhar’s use of the biography, iconography, the visual language of the street, and more broadly his personal experiences in and of modern India. Speakers include Geeta Kapur, Sonal Khullar and Karin Zitzewitz, and is chaired by Chris Dercon.

In partnership with Paul Mellon Centre and Asia Art Archive.

This event is related to the exhibition Bhupen Khakhar


Deepak Ananth

Deepak Ananth is an art historian based in Paris. He teaches at the Ecole Supérieure d’Arts et Médias in Caen, Normandy. He has written on a range of modern and contemporary European and Indian artists, mostly for museum publications. His curatorial projects include exhibitions of contemporary and nineteenth century French art, Surrealism, the drawings of Roland Barthes, the place of India in the western imagination and exhibitions of contemporary Indian art in Paris, Brussels, Rome, New York and Tokyo.

Chris Dercon

Chris Dercon is an art historian, a documentary filmmaker and cultural producer. He was Director, Tate Modern, until April 2016 and has led several major cultural institutions including; PS1 Museum in New York, Witte de With – Center for Contemporary Art and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Haus der Kunst in Munich. From September 2016 he will return to Germany as intendant of Volkesbühne Berlin.

Geeta Kapur

Geeta Kapur is a Delhi-based critic and curator. Her essays are widely anthologized and her books include Contemporary Indian Artists (1978); When Was Modernism: essays on contemporary cultural practice in India (2000); forthcoming, Critic’s Compass: Navigating Practice. Her curatorial projects include: ‘Dispossession’, Johannesburg Biennale (1995); ‘Bombay/Mumbai’, Century City, Tate Modern (co-curation, 2001); ‘subTerrain’, House of World Cultures, Berlin (2003); ‘Aesthetic Bind’, Chemould, Mumbai (2013-14). She has been a jury member of the Venice, Dakar and Sharjah Biennales. In 2009 Geeta Kapur was awarded the Padma Shri for her contribution to Art by the Government of India.

Sonal Khullar

Sonal Khullar is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 (University of California Press, 2015). Her current research focuses on conflict, collaboration, and globalization in contemporary art from South Asia.

Karin Zitzewitz

Karin Zitzewitz teaches art history at Michigan State University. Her book, The Art of Secularism:  The Cultural Politics of Modernist Art in Contemporary India (Hurst & Co. Publishing, 2014), was a New Republic book of the year and won the Edward C. Dimock Prize from the American Institute for Indian Studies.  

 This event has been provided by Tate Gallery on behalf of Tate Enterprises LTD

Tate Talks is supported by The J Isaacs Charitable Trust

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

2 July 2016 at 14.00–16.00