Friday, August 08, 2008

De-privileging the masculine spectatorial gaze in context-less galleries

A Chronology of Modern Indian Art and Thematic Considerations By Debashish Banerji
by Debashish on November 18, 2005 10:25PM (PST)

An Introduction to the history of modern Indian art along with an approach to its categorization, as expressed in the curatorial practice of the exhibition "Contours of Modernity" held at the SOKA University, Irvine from February-April, 2005 and curated by Debashish Banerji and Nalini Rao. more » 1 Attachment Leave Comment Permanent Link

In concluding this section, I would like to draw attention to the powerful body of art produced by contemporary Indian artists focusing on gender issues. The homoerotic fantasies of Bhupen Khakkar or the feminist polemics of Nalini Malani, Arpana Caur, Arpita Singh, Gogi Saroj Pal, Nilima Sheikh and others constitute a prominent direction of contemporary Indian art. It is unfortunate that the present exhibition has not been able to adequately represent this stream. This omission has been entirely logistical and the curators of the exhibition hope to remedy this lacuna in future presentations.

Moreover, with the exception of photography, logistical reasons have also been responsible for the omission of work in contemporary media other than painting, such as printmaking, video, computer, installation or performance art. The attempt to de-privilege the masculine spectatorial gaze from its vantage as viewer in context-less galleries or possessor of collections, has led increasingly to the movement of art from the pictorial space of walls to more intimate and participatory social contexts. This may be seen as a movement from the modern to the postmodern in art, and, since the late 1980s, increasing numbers of Indian artists are presenting their ideas, interpretations and social questions in these forms.

Artists like Vivian Sundaram, Ranbir Kaleka, Subodh Gupta and Ajay Sinha have been at the vanguard of Indian installation arts and producing some of the most exciting contemporary artworks of our time. It is regretted that we could not present any of this work at this exhibition, but we are hopeful that the quality of the works that we have been able to present will generate enough interest and support in the community to enable us to offer a more thorough representation of modern Indian art and its diverse tendencies in the near future. Keywords: Art Attachments: ContoursHistoryandGrouping.doc (58KB)

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