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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Global, Indian and Western contexts in Art



No present art is isolated from its social, cultural, religious, historical milieu. In my book Mona Lisa does not smile anymore I have compared Indian art with European art in a-historic context. The reason I choose to be a-historic is that there are certain underlying tendencies in art that are like a milling stone and do not float in the current of time. Art of any time proclaims to be an advancement over earlier period and it announces itself modern, rooted in present and carrying futuristic vision. Art does not solve problems of the world but it definitely emerges from the problems of the globe. Europe had through time subjugated and subsumed the individual will into a mechanical systemic impersonal Will. The very power of State challenges the freedom of art artists and people of society. The individual angst of artists because of such regimentation affected deeply the art of modern times. The alienation, loneliness, isolation, separation, denial of freedom, routines and segmentation of humans is reflected in the birth of Expressionism and Existentialist philosophy and literature of Dostoevsky, Franz Kafka, Sartre, Camus, Andre Gide, Alberto Moravia.
India in contrast always had a social order where shared life, time, religious practices, innumerable festivals, community dinners, singing dancing and music and a collective sharing in community life. This has a far reaching and positive influence on the life and expectations therefrom. The modern and the pre-modern in life and in art in India exists without and apparent contradictions. The process of solving the opposition between the modern and pre- modern is rather slow in Indian art and life. This on account of a different point of view about time.
These are important questions that have to be answered in the context of global art and in understanding modern and present art practices from India, Asia, Europe and USA. The question I deal with in the book Mona Lisa does not smile anymore.

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