Monday, August 6, 2012

Thematic exploration of post-independence Indian art

A significant show of Indian art ‘Approaching Abstraction’ is the second of a three-part series at the Rubin Museum of Art, Chelsea.

It examines art from post-independence and post-Partition India. Building on the explorations between abstraction and figuration begun in ‘The Body Unbound’, it distinguishes streak of abstraction in modernist Indian art from that in Euro-American modernism. The idea is to show the independent trajectory of Indian abstraction, especially during post-Independence phase.

In addition to paintings, it includes experimental films created by painters like M.F. Husain, Akbar Padamsee and Tyeb Mehta in the late 1960s, displaying them for the first time in a holistic museum context, juxtaposed with the respective artist's paintings.

Spelling out the purpose of the event, an accompanying essay notes: “For many of the top artists at the core of our progressive artistic and intellectual discourses in this time period, figuration was an apparent link to socio-political and broader community concerns. Abstraction was considered more personal and individualistic in nature. At the same time, it was also linked to international trends visible in modern art.

The exhibition continues the thematic exploration of art from post-independence and post-Partition India launched with ‘The Body Unbound’. It builds on and expands the framework suggested by the first part of the series: to explore the relationship between figuration and abstraction in Indian modernist art.

It will help define and discern the characteristics that distinguish abstraction in modernist Indian art from abstraction in Euro-American modernism, and show the individual, independent trajectory of abstraction in India after Independence.”

The thematic show, curated by Beth Citron, incorporates an audio tour to help define the individual, independent trajectory and characteristics of abstraction in India after Independence. The next two parts of this series, entitled ‘, titled Modernist Art from India”, will be hosted later this year. ‘Approaching Abstraction’ and Radical Terrain’ will focus on abstract art and the modern Indian landscape, respectively.

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