Internationally renowned artist Sunil Gupta presents his first solo project in Yorkshire

The Art House marks the first solo exhibition by Sunil Gupta by re-examining his important project, ‘Lovers: Ten Years On’ and premiering a new collaborative work Lovers Revisited, 40 years on since the series began

Sunil Gupta: Lovers: Ten Years On & Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh: Lovers, Revisited, 15 June–31 August 2024, The Art House

The Art House re-examines the important project, ‘Lovers: Ten Years On’ by critically acclaimed photographer Sunil Gupta, and premiers a new collaborative work Lovers Revisited, 40 years on since the series began.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The exhibition will revisit Gupta’s significant project, Lovers: Ten Years On which he first began in 1984 to reframe the lives of gay couples and challenge commercial stereotypes in visual culture. Approaching a milestone 40th anniversary, and coinciding with Pride Month, the artist will present a selection of the original series, alongside brand-new large-scale photographs shown for the very first time, for the premiere of Lovers, Revisited, made with artist collaborator, and husband, Charan Singh.

Nicola & Willy, Paris 2023 from Lovers Revisited by Sunil Gupta and Charan SinghNicola & Willy, Paris 2023 from Lovers Revisited by Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh
Nicola & Willy, Paris 2023 from Lovers Revisited by Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh

With a career spanning more than four decades, Gupta has maintained a visionary approach to photography, producing work that is pioneering in social and political commentary. The importance of giving space to Lovers: Ten Years On extends beyond its significance as it stood in the 1980s, by creating a thought-provoking opportunity to reconsider its positioning in today’s society.

Lovers, Revisited premieres new portraits made in collaboration with artist Charan Singh. Gupta and Singh are both recognised for their distinctive style and approach to photography. Recently their practices came together creating exciting dialogues between their work. As an extension to the original project, Gupta and Singh have created large-scale digital colour works by using the same camera lens. They document couples today, from all over the world, as well as reshooting one of the participants from the original series.

Gupta moved to the UK in the late 1970s during a time when the Gay Movement was gaining momentum and challenging the idea that “homosexuality” was a mental disorder. Gupta has always focused on representation and racial sensibilities, being politically driven in both gay and multicultural activism and later Aids/HIV activism. In 1984, he began creating portraits to reframe the lives of LGBT+ couples in response to challenging stereotypes in visual culture, which often depicted the community as exclusively promiscuous sexual beings. Set within domestic environments, Gupta created narratives and identities which, at that time, were unseen or not breaking through.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, the arrival of AIDS/HIV [HIV was first termed in 1986] had a drastic impact on the community. This was not just due to the virus itself, but also because of society’s response, which was fuelled by vicious campaigns in the media to label queer people as sick and irresponsible or heavily saturated images of ill gay men.

Sunil Gupta, Lovers - Ten Years On, Brian & Pas 1984/85Sunil Gupta, Lovers - Ten Years On, Brian & Pas 1984/85
Sunil Gupta, Lovers - Ten Years On, Brian & Pas 1984/85

The timing for this project goes beyond a celebration of the original series’ milestone. It is a reminder of the past struggle and ongoing importance of visibility for queer communities at a time when the UK grows less safe for LGBTQIA+ people – which is why this body of work can act as a pillar for connection with communities and discussions on representation and politics of visibility.

Alongside Lovers: Ten Years On & Lovers, Revisited, The Art House is proud to present The Promise of Beauty, the first major solo exhibition in the UK by Charan Singh.

Sunil Gupta: Lovers: Ten Years On & Sunil Gupta and Charan Singh: Lovers, Revisited, 15 June–31 August 2024

The Art House, Drury Lane, Wakefield, WF1 1TE. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 09.30-16.00. Free entry! For more details visit the-arthouse.org.uk