Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930 1990
Author: Sonal Khullar
Publisher: Univ of California Press
The purpose of art, the Paris-trained artist Amrita Sher-Gil wrote in 1936, is to "create the forms of the future” by “draw[ing] its inspiration from the present.” Through art, new worlds can be imagined into existence as artists cultivate forms of belonging and networks of association that oppose colonialist and nationalist norms. Drawing on Edward Said’s notion of “affiliation” as a critical and cultural imperative against empire and nation-state, Worldly Affiliations traces the emergence of a national art world in twentieth-century India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan ambitions and orientations. Sonal Khullar focuses on four major Indian artists—Sher-Gil, Maqbool Fida Husain, K. G. Subramanyan, and Bhupen Khakhar—situating their careers within national and global histories of modernism and modernity. Through a close analysis of original artwork, archival materials, artists’ writing, and period criticism, Khullar provides a vivid historical account of the state and stakes of artistic practice in India from the late colonial through postcolonial periods. She discusses the shifting terms of Indian artists’ engagement with the West—an urgent yet fraught project in the wake of British colonialism—and to a lesser extent with African and Latin American cultural movements such as Négritude and Mexican muralism. Written in a lucid and engaging style, this book links artistic developments in India to newly emerging histories of modern art in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Drawing on original research in the twenty-first-century art world, Khullar shows the persistence of modernism in contemporary art from India and compares its function to Walter Benjamin’s ruin. In the work of contemporary artists from India, modernism is the ground from which to imagine futures. This richly illustrated study juxtaposes little-known, rarely seen, or previously unpublished works of modern and contemporary art with historical works, popular or mass-reproduced images, and documentary photographs. Its innovative art program renders newly visible the aesthetic and political achievements of Indian modernism.
Bhupen Khakhar (1934–2003) was active in India from the late 1960s. A gentle radical, his luminous paintings addressed issues of class, gender and sexuality with sensitive, often tragicomic nuance. This publication presents a fresh take on his artistic, social and spiritual interests. Significant essays on Khakhar’s artistic influences are accompanied by focused responses to key works by leading writers, curators and artists. Khakhar’s unique voice is revealed in excerpts from the last interview before his death in 2003, and in a facsimile reproduction of the artist’s book Truth is Beauty and Beauty is God, out of print since 1972. With personal and touching contributions by those who knew him, this richly illustrated publication is an essential reference to one of the most compelling and unique voices in twentieth-century art, as well as a significant contribution to the field of international modernism. 0Exhibition: Tate Modern, London, UK (01.06-06.11.2016) / Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Berlin, Germany (18.11.2016-06.03.2017).
Here are 5 scintillating interviews that capture the magic and the mystery of the world of the contemporary Indian writer. U R Anantha Murthy, Bhupen Khakhar, Mahasweta Devi, Krishna Sobti and M T Vasudevan Nair offer insights into the art and craft of writing, share their hopes and fears and reveal that unique creative urge which makes their work what it is.
Fiction Is A Great Piece Of Art. Literally. Here`S A Selection Of Three Stories, A Play, And A Novella, Along With 13 Sketches, By Writer-Painter Bhupen Khakhar. He Was At Ease With Words As Much As He Was With His Brush. A Collector`S Item, This Volume Is A Wonderful Juxtaposition Of Two Complementary Creative Processes.
The book argues that there is no monolithic homosexuality; there are only homosexualities, that is, there are as many reasons for being gay as there are gays. Some people are born gay, some have gayness thrust upon them, and some do, indeed, achieve to great gayness. Representation of homosexuality/homoeroticism, as it is understood today, is thus a western import. The act and public/social discourses on same-sex love are still illegal; it is, according to many, against the Indian ‘tradition’; and a sense of ‘history’ is seriously problematic when we dig out for a past tradition of homoerotic love and desire. Hoshang Merchant, through an examination of texts, films, poetry, attempts to analyse and crack the codes of sexual (mis)conduct in contemporary India, giving short histories of the fate of several gay writers and explaining the difficulties of ‘coming out’.
In this first scholarly work on India's great modern poet, Laetitia Zecchini outlines a story of literary modernism in India and discusses the traditions, figures and events that inspired and defined Arun Kolatkar. Based on an impressive range of archival and unpublished material, this book also aims at moving lines of accepted genealogies of modernism and 'postcolonial literature'. Zecchini uncovers how poets of Kolatkar's generation became modern Indian writers while tracing a lineage to medieval oral traditions. She considers how literary bilingualism allowed Kolatkar to blur the boundaries between Marathi and English, 'Indian' and 'Western sources; how he used his outsider position to privilege the quotidian and minor and revived the spirit of popular devotion. Graphic artist, poet and songwriter, storyteller of Bombay and world history, poet in Marathi, in English and in 'Americanese', non-committal and deeply political, Kolatkar made lines wobble and treasured impermanence. Steeped in world literature, in European avant-garde poetry, American pop and folk culture, in a 'little magazine' Bombay bohemia and a specific Marathi ethos, Kolatkar makes for a fascinating subject to explore and explain the story of modernism in India. This book has received support from the labex TransferS: http://transfers.ens.fr/
This volume investigates how four socially constructed identities (race, gender, class and caste) can be rethought as matrices designed to accumulate various kinds of socio-economic values and to translate and transfer these values from one group to another. Essays in the anthology also attempt to compare the mechanisms deployed by various groups to consolidate identificatory investments. Drawn mainly for the fields of literary and cultural studies, the essays are grouped in four categories. Essays collected under ‘Theoretical Approaches’ scrutinize the relative value of various approaches; those collected under ‘Considerations of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation’ examine the interaction between these three categories in formation of identities; those grouped under ‘Comparative Analysis of African-American and Dalit Writing’ provide comparative analyses of the literary productions of these two oppressed groups; and, finally, those under ‘The Persistence of Racialized Perceptions’ focus on the role of ideologically inflected perception of European colonizers and the persistence of such perception in the categorization and treatment of colonial migrants to the metropolis.
This Book Traces The Evolution Of Baroda As An Important Centre Of Contemporary Art And Art Education, From The 1800S- 1900S. Art In Its Historical Context Art, And Education As Life -Vocations ; Art As An Effective Deterrent To Dehumanization ,The Formation Of A Distinct Vision Of Art Through A Mingling Of The Past And Present The Immediate And The Distant These Are Some Of The Complex Issues That The Book Attempts To Articulate Through Its Discussion Of The Work Of Three Generations Of Artists In Baroda.
Bhupen Khakhar's legacy lives on as one of the most radical Indian painters of his generation. Working in Baroda and gaining recognition throughout the 80's and 90's, Khakhar was a pioneering voice in queer aesthetics in context of South Asian modernism. This paper examines the last phase of his career before his death in 2003, in which the artist traded out images of homoerotic jouissance for pictures depicting gore, disease, and the macabre. I argue that death's intimate connection with queer identity helps provide an ontological bridge between his earlier work and his 'late style.' I first give an overview of the stakes of inserting a queer visual lexicon in the modern moment, comparing India's experience of modernity to the canonical moment in nineteenth century France for corollaries. before giving a broad overview of the artist's biography, as well as the scholarship that has already been conducted on him. I then discuss an early monograph that was published by friend and fellow artist, Timothy Hyman, to establish the limiting way in which his sexuality is often discussed as a bounded 'period' in his life's work. I finally propose an alternative mode of accessing his 'late style' by queerness's links to mortality, in an attempt to open up the discourse on Khakhar into more flexible categories.
This book explores the contemporary art of India in a volume as colorful, vibrant, and diverse as the country itself. Chalo means "Let's go!" in Hindi and the enthusiasm of that expression is evident throughout the pages of this catalogue for an exhibition at the Essl Museum in Austria. Encompassing photography, and installation, the book features more than one hundred works by artists and collectives from all over India. Themes of identity, urbanization, spirituality, and politics reflect the country's recent transformation into a global power. Accompanying the reproductions are essays that explore the impact of the economic and cultural revolution on India and focus on the modernart of specific geographic regions throughout the country. Looking beyond the popular Bollywood-influenced images of twenty-first-century India, this important volume reveals the complex artistic practices taking place throughout the country.