A penny for belief


Stainless steel, coins, oil

Tray: 4.5 × 70 cm (1 3/4 × 27 9/16 in.) Pedestal: 46 × 82 × 82 cm (18 1/8 × 32 5/16 × 32 5/16 in.)

Subodh Gupta's A Penny for Belief puts coins together on a thali, a traditional Indian steel tray, bathed in oil. "In the United Kingdom, China and India, people toss coins into different things: oil, water and empty jars. But they all believe in tossing them," he says. In this enigmatic readymade, he questions rites and private and universal beliefs.

Born in 1964, Gupta is inspired by what he sees in New Delhi and around the world. In the 2000s, he started focusing on sculpture and made conceptual works using items from everyday Indian life, particularly in the home. Aware of India's disparate social and economic realities, the artist seeks to foster dialogue between Eastern and Western cultures.

The Pinault Collection presented Gupta’s A Penny for Belief during the "Qui a peur des artistes?" (“Who’s Afraid of Artists?”) show at the Palais des Arts in Dinard in 2009.