Sunday 3 February 2019

Contemporary Art through My Vision

"I don’t think about Art when I am working. I try to think about my Life.” - Jean Michel Basquiat (American Artist)
The above lines are what each & every artist all over the globe can relate to & agree even more. All artists whether dead or alive had or have this in their mind; maybe sub-consciously, while they were or are making an art piece. Their life, culture, upbringing, beliefs, eating habits, body language etc.; each & everything is some way depicted in their work. The artwork/paintings, right from those on various cave walls ages ago up to the colorful canvases, sculptures & all the other art categories if studied carefully depict the gradual evolution of that respective stream art.

While art has its own language, I firmly believe that it does get modified depending on the time/era it is used in. If I speak of it today it sums up in the term Contemporary Art, that is seen everywhere these days. Whether you talk of Italy, Canada, China, Japan, India or any other place the most common thread/color/medium all the artist come up to is Contemporary Art.

I belong to a creative field where we believe anything & everything is to be expressed & it can be expressed. I have seen the society changing from “Women come below Men” to “Gender Equality where men also are seen supporting Feminism” globally. Every transition in the society comes up like a trauma for the people witnessing this transition. This is what the artists try to portray through their work.

As our Indian society slowly started westernizing now & also while it was forced to change during the British rule, artists had very less freedom & were criticized for all they made too. This continues even today. Contemporary artists are aware of it & yet are increasing day by day. While our western counterparts have learned from their mistakes & now there are quite a number of people who really appreciate Contemporary Art & respect the artists even more. Personally speaking, Contemporary art is an ice-breaker for those aspects of the society that I conveniently shut my eyes to.

The artists with their artwork create amazing sensory alarms that force all my senses to wake up in full attention.

Example: James Turrell’s work installed in Guggenheim (2013)

Their artworks actually embed meaning in materials directly or indirectly, that since my childhood were taught as non-living things, things that basically mean nothing & make no difference. But, their use in various artworks means differently & is often the most important ingredient as well.

Example: Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx in Domino sugar factory in Brooklyn (2014)

The work of Eric Gregory Powell called Tomorrow (The collection of Ullen’s Center for Contemporary Art, 2013) is what I call, an amazing slap right across the face of those who preach that one has to be under control at all times & need to lead a life that is acceptable to the society. But, what about tomorrow? Will you see it? What about your dreams? Who will fulfill them, when & how?

Example: Eric Gregory Powell called Tomorrow (2014)

The universal fact about being human is never ridiculing someone for their flaws. Whether the Indian or Western Contemporary Artists both know that their respective society, culture or belief system is absolutely blind to some specific points. That is why they bring that under spotlight & end up being criticized for it the most. India is known for its diversity & thus it becomes more difficult for artists here. If a certain artwork is welcomed with open arms by one culture, it is equally or at times even hated by another. The virtues & beliefs of each culture/religion in India are very different though they all teach the same values. Thus it becomes difficult for Contemporary Artists to actually come up with something the entire loves. 

I conclude by saying that Indian or Western whichever route you choose to view Contemporary Art, it is most important to remember that first comes YOU-The Viewer. If you as a person understand, disagree, like or dislike it, society eventually will do the same. 

You are the society & the society is by you.

Vidhi Joshi 

Art Writer Team

2019 @Art Blogazine 

(PS: This article is not written for commercial use.)