February - March 2018

Contemporary Trajectories

After the "Retro Realism in Post Modern World" this chapter examines contemporary trajectories in the contemporary world of the visual arts in India, mainly in painting and sculpture. This is explored through the works of four mid-career contemporary artists in India. Herein we explore the ways in which these artists venture forth in their individual trajectories, at once emboldened and hemmed in by the forces of the market, religion, the current turbulent political scenario, as well as the more immediate and confused paths that contemporary art in India is following. We have used the word 'trajectories' to show the individualism of each artist's career, while also exploring whether such individualism is at all possible in the current situation, or if they are all shades of the same.

Brajmohan Arya
The history of art in our times can be viewed as a pendulum swinging between the urge to copy and the urge to invent - both being valid traditions. It is obvious that we are now far removed from the former, with our following the Enlightenment moment of European history. Instead of relating to external facts, visible for all to see, artists today prefer to retreat inwards and conduct a specialized dialogue within limited circles of their own, commenting not on their attitudes to reality, but on their relation to art itself. Hence the somewhat reclusive nature of present day works, which err by chasing the swing of the pendulum with zeal – total abstraction. So the painter reconciles the dual attractions of art and reality with skill. He or she cannot therefore be accused of replacing the poetry of invention with the prose of fact. In this way the work is a bridge between worlds. But every mind and every culture has a more or less tendency in these directions. Arya so far as one can see, works his way from an idea downwards, proceeds deductively, starting from some ideal conceptions, and seeking in realities visible illustrations of time-tested existences. Well, this is one way of approaching his work.

Rahul Mukherjee
Rahul Mukherjee is a visual artist works at Baroda. His works range from painting to installations to sculpture. He did his Bachelors in Fine Arts with specialisation in Painting from College of Art, Delhi and Masters in painting from Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda. His art works deal with the space, the imagined limitations of paintings, the construction of his installations and the interpretations that he consciously lets his works manifest, all telling the story about existence or human presence today can only be suggested in abstractionism.

Shilpa Nikam
A line embodies a lot more than what it implies. A line which runs between two countries defines their territorial boundaries, while the unreachable yet visible horizon line represents a union of intangible entities. For her this very line helps to divide the space into several units, and is a key element of her works. There are certain other invisible lines drawn on unmapped territories of the human psyche- emotional once, of love, hate, ego, avarice etc. An imbalance of any of these lines could result in disharmony, in the miss-functioning of the very ecosystem of humanity. Be it a family unit, society, a nation or the entire world, lines of control are employed for the balance to be maintained.

Whether a social, political, or personal identity, one is subjected to a constant battle of dominance and subjugation based merely on the employment or defiance of these mental or physical lines of control. While these rules and regulations help to harmonize the difference in humanity, ironically, at some point these same rules and regulations restrict humanity. Her works address these conflicts zones that all of humanity carries within, expressed and unexpressed. The very lines that divide are the ones that unite and connect

Shardul Kadam
The socio-political conditions of the days have always fascinated Shardul Kadam, as art is not devoid of what happens in the society he feels. While he might not take on too literally individual events in his works, the social and political flavour of the times certainly informs his penetrating works.

Kadam's work is not just decorative. All these experience formulate the imagery, if not the subject itself. Layers of meanings may unfold as the viewer tries to search beyond the basic aesthetics of the works. Kadam wants to make the viewer neither happy nor sad. His works are like our lives, fine and ideal on the surface, but broken and worn out within. His works reveal the hidden shadows that are less apparent.