Contemporary art: a result of emerging cultures
Art and its definition are always a matter of individual insight. His diversity has allowed him to possess multiple understandings and the potential to influence culture, politics and economics. In addition, the dictionary defines art, “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination, especially in the production of aesthetic objects”. (Merriam-Webster) While every era has its own unique way of drawing crowds, some artists could nurture the energy of the everyday objects around them and inspire them with new power and meaning. One of them is written by this famous Russian novelist, who says: “Art is the activity by which a person, having experienced an emotion, intentionally transmits it to another” – Leo Tolstoy.
But whatever the definition, it’s been around for as long as humans have been around as cave paintings, hieroglyphics, paintings, or carvings, to name a few. Have you ever wondered what the term is for today’s art form? Well, it’s known as contemporary art and is generally misunderstood with modern art. According to the English language, “modern” and “contemporary” are synonyms. Unfortunately, these two terms present two different times of creation, approaches and their functionality in the art world. Here is an overview of the difference between contemporary art and modern art in India.
Modern art in India is a little different from that of the West. Modern art in the West refers to a period between the second half of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th century. It consists of a range of artistic movements, philosophy and literature, such as symbolism, futurism, surrealism, expressionism, pop art and others. And the development of industrialization and the global interaction of economic and political activities have cultivated a culture of modern urbanization. A twentieth-century critic, Clement Greenberg, spoke of the core of modernism in his essay Modernist painting. He says, “the heart of modernism lies in using ideas representative of a certain discipline to critique that particular discipline itself.” He also talks about how realist and illusionist art has used âart to hide artâ while modernism uses âart to draw attention to artâ. Modern art consists of many psychologies, theories of time and space, communist politics and principles, and several other factors in its work. Modern Art was the representation of the thoughts of the time.
However, modern art in India took root under the British Raj. A deep desire for freedom and independence had become the idea of ââthe first modernist paintings in India. Before political struggles, Raja Ravi Verma, father of modern Indian art, depicted Indian subjects in an academic painting style. Her artwork required knowledge of context, and her portrayal of Indian issues, especially women, in an almost photographically realistic manner, was new to the Indian subcontinent. After that, Nandalal Bose, Abanindranath and Rabindranath Tagore, and a few, created works of art with the essence of modern Indian art. Modern art in India is also region specific due to its illustration with many movements like The Bengal School, The Progressive Artists Group, The Madras Art Movement, and many more.
On the surface level, contemporary art and modern art in India appear to be similar. But the essential difference is that the first contemporary artists generally lived in the post-colonial era and did not find the demand for a distinctively Indian identity. Indeed, globalization, digitization and liberalization have given access to new technologies, perspectives on art, media, and even better devices and materials for making art. Although this idea of âânovelty is Modern, it extends to Contemporary Art in this way.
Another important characteristic of contemporary art is the importance of space and the viewer. Contemporary art is a conversation between spectators, artists and space. Whereas modern art was limited to the artist and the viewer in a conventional gallery or museum. The use of public spaces flourishes in Contemporary Art; for example, the use of warehouses for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale or the use of stations for the Chennai Photo Biennale. Another form of art in public space is street art, a powerful platform for reaching audiences that motivates street artists in a number of ways. Some of the most exciting street art around Bangalore creates narratives between Cubbon Park, MG Road and Majestic metro stations and the areas around them, for example, Mural inside Cubbon Park metro station by Artez.
Let us admire some of the contemporary Indian artists and their works of art which have captured people’s imaginations.
Mumbai-born Atul Dodiya is one of the most popular contemporary Indian artists. His work is sought after by art lovers. Dodiya’s paintings are in the same sales as some of the most important and famous modernists like Tyeb Mehta and Francis Newton Souza, whose works quickly became recognizable among art fanatics. Dodiya’s paintings are influenced by these artists and many others with the reinterpretation of their traditional style through a contemporary perspective. His work engages both with Indian political and artistic history in a way that will remain in the memory of his viewers.
Bharti Kher, born in London, moved to New Delhi to fully engage in her role as a contemporary artist. His work has enabled him to become one of the most popular contemporary Indian artists. It presents an amalgamation of painting, sculpture and installation. She frequently incorporates bindis, the popular forehead decoration worn by Indian women, in her work. They are mainly animals and nature. His work has been crowned with success at worldwide auctions. She displayed a strong relationship with the body, her stories and the spirit of things. Inspired by a wide range of sources, she employs the readymade in the broad arc of meaning and transformation. Thus, his works cross time, using reference as a counterpoint and challenge as a visual tool.
The well-established contemporary artist follows the artistic formats of Jitish Kallat to create paintings, sculptures and photographs, to name a few. Much of his work is based on his encounters with the multisensory environment of Mumbai as well as the events that contributed to its creation. Its style emphasizes its concern for the socio-political history of the city. He also suggested the ironies of the lives of migrant workers and workers in the cities of India, and addressed the problem of painting in an era dominated by mass media, writes the art dealer and collector, Amrita Jhaveri, in A guide to 101 modern and contemporary Indian artists.
Shilo Shiv Suleman
Shilo Shiv Suleman, a Bangalore-based contemporary artist who made a big impression at Burning Man Festival in 2014 with her unique interactive installation, created a Fearless Collective mural inside KR Market in Bangalore’s oldest flower market . She practices the intersection of magical realism, art for social change and technology. She created street art near Jyoti Nivas College in Koramangala, which is part of the Fearless Collective, which formed in response to the Delhi gang rape in 2012. She uses art to speak out against gender-based violence. Take a walk to the 1st A crossroads to admire the vibrant room.
Pop art secured the place of cartoons in contemporary art, but comics also began to encroach on the practices of artists outside of pop art. Satish Acharya is an Indian cartoonist from Kundapura, Karnataka. He was featured on âUnited Sketchesâ as a professional Indian cartoonist and included in Forbes India’s â24 Intellectualsâ list in 2015. He got his post as a political cartoonist with the Mumbai-based English tabloid Midday in 2013 and has contributed to the Daily Cartoon Chronicle for nine years. His work on the Charlie Hebdo massacre has been regarded as one of the most powerful cartoons about tragedy by foreign media. It has been published in newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, Time, and The Guardian. While India is famous for its traditional works of art, a new generation of artists is creating its identity.
Nonetheless, art increasingly fills our everyday spaces and brings them to life in brilliant and unique ways. It’s a huge part of culture, which shapes ideas and provides a deeper understanding of emotions, self-awareness, and more. We are at a time when the importance of the creative economy is growing. Art is becoming fundamental as closely as possible to all industries and to innovation in the art ecosystem. The world of contemporary art paves the way for a better understanding of the subject, a peaceful but captivating work climate and a victorious inclination to finish.