Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Modern Painting

Contemporary Indian art has travelled a long way since the days of Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore and his followers and even Amrita Sher-Gil. Broadly, the pattern followed is this. Almost every artist of note began with one kind of representational or figurative art or the other tinged with impressionism, expressionism or post-expressionism. The irksome relationship of form and content was generally kept at a complementary level. Then through various stages of elimination and simplifications, through cubism, abstraction and a variety of expressionistic trends, the artists reached near non-figurative and totally non-figurative levels. The 'pop' and the 'op', the minimal and anti-art have really not caught the fancy of our artists, except for very minor aberrations. And, having reached the dead and cold abstraction, the only way open is to sit back and reflect. This copy-book pattern has been followed by a great number of artists, including senior and established ones. As a reaction to this journey into nothing, there are three new major trends: projection of the disturbed social unrest and instability with the predicament of man as the main theme; an interest in Indian thought and metaphysics, manifested in the so called 'tantric' paintings and in paintings with symbolical import: and more than these two trends is the new interest in vague surrealist approaches and in fantasy. More important than all this, is the fact that nobody now talks of the conflict between form and content or technique and expression. In fact, and in contradiction to the earlier avowal, almost everybody is certain that technique and form are only important prerequisites to that mysterious something of an idea, message or spirit, that spark of the unfathomable entity that makes such man a little different from the other.

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