ASA12: Arts and aesthetics in a globalising world

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, 3rd-6th April 2012

(Plen1)

Plenary 1

Location Convention Centre Auditorium I
Date and Start Time 04 April, 2012 at 11:00

Convenors

None listed.

Short Abstract

The first plenary

Long Abstract

The first plenary

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Art Under Siege: Perils and Possibilities of Aesthetic Forms in a Globalizing World

Author: Patricia Spyer (Leiden University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores two instances of the fate of images in war, foregrounding the relationship between aesthetic transformation and sociopolitical change, the conditions under which images move, and the play of absence and presence in art under siege.

Long Abstract

As examples from around the globe show, objects, object worlds, the natural and built environment are--with humans and animals—implicated in violence--unmoored, disfigured, or redrawn by its traces, signs, or denial. Devastatingly transformative, violence often compels a turn to novel forms of expression. This paper explores two instances of the fate of images in war, foregrounding the relationship between aesthetic transformation and sociopolitical change, the conditions under which images move, and the play of absence and presence in art under siege. No Show is a film based on the "Empty Frame Tours" conducted at Leningrad's Hermitage Museum during WWII to thank soldiers for moving collections to secure surroundings via a tour that led them past the empty frames where the pictures once hung. No Show's take on this remarkable history stages the phantasmatic presence of images but also how these treasures' absence operated in the service of presence—that of national Soviet identity emblematized by the Hermitage. Based on fieldwork in Indonesia, the second example focuses on huge Jesus Christ billboards that arose on the ruins of a Muslim/Christian war. For Christians the street images cover over deep anxieties about not being "seen" or protected during the violence—by the Indonesian state, its potential stand-ins like the United Nations or former Dutch colonizer, or more radically by God himself. In contrast to NO SHOW the visual presencing of Christ does not constitute a re-presentation of something assumed to be there but issues instead from a highly unsettling absence.

Art History and Its Discontents in Global Times

Author: Parul Dave Mukherji (School of Arts and Aesthetics)  email

Short Abstract

What becomes of nationalist art histories when the world shrinks into a planet? The talk will explore the disciplinary crisis in the study of Indian art brought on by globalization and examine the anthropological turn that led to the formation of the discipline of visual studies in its wake.

Long Abstract

What becomes of nationalist art histories when the world shrinks into a planet? The impact of globalization is most felt in the withering away of the frame of the national modern that manifests differently within “new” art history and contemporary art practice in India. While within the former, it is marked by the cultural studies turn that led to the formation of visual studies, contemporary art practice responds to globalization by invoking the figure of an ethnographer after which is modeled the self description of an artist. In both the cases, anthropology offers critical tools to address questions of temporality and spatiality or territoriality of art practice. If the thrust of art writing shifts from the “when” to the “where” of art, how does it make visible new objects and cultural practices ? The paper will also examine the current disenchantment with postcolonialism and explore its political purchase in present reorientation of the discipline of art history.

Revisiting the post-colonial in the work of three contemporary women artists

Author: Gayatri Sinha  email

Short Abstract

Gayatri Spivak’s seminal text Can the Subaltern Speak with its reflections on Sati and structures of power appeared in 1984. Since then, the post-colonial imprint has encountered and mingled with other traces, and trajectories, including gendered subjectivity and representation. This paper examines leading post colonial identity issues in the work of three women contemporary artists, within the frame of nation, body/gender and environment.

Long Abstract

Gayatri Spivak’s seminal text Can the Subaltern Speak with its reflections on Sati and structures of power appeared in 1984. Since then, the post-colonial imprint has encountered and mingled with other traces, and trajectories, including gendered subjectivity and representation. This paper examines leading post colonial identity issues in the work of three women contemporary artists, within the frame of nation, body/gender and environment.

The artistic imagination in ruptured landscapes

Author: Jyoti Sahi  email

Short Abstract

Folk art has influenced modern Indian art. Modernity is global, but folk art is rooted in local culture. The elemental, links folk art to modern aesthetics. The ecological significance of tribal art gains a new currency in modern art. Connecting modern with primal art affirms the universal in art.

Long Abstract

Folk forms of art have influenced modern art in search of an Indian identity. Modernity has a global scope, but folk art is rooted in a local culture. The use of elemental materials, fused with a mythic world view gives to primal forms of art a timeless value. This art has an archetypal dimension, arising from life’s rhythm. The elemental basis of folk art links it to modernist approaches to the image in which a dialogue with materials is seen as an essential function of the imagination. In a globalized culture, the work of art is absorbed into a market economy. By co-opting the local Adivasi or folk artist into the urbanized world of modern art, the traditional image maker experiences a ruptured landscape. Changes in the natural environment in which artistic practices formed a ritual pattern, are further disrupted when image making is divorced from its mythic function. In attempting to see the relevance of a primal world view for modern art, the ecological significance of aboriginal myths and symbols have a new currency. Art affirms the perennial relationship between the human community and the natural environment. It is in this sense that modern artists are drawn to the primitive. The danger is to romanticize about the past. Art as creative expression does not develop, as the imagination is integral with being human. The art of pre-historic times is as authentic as modern art. The link between modern art forms and the art of folk artists affirms the universal in art.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.