The first exhibition in the three-part Modernist Art from India series, The Body Unbound focuses on representations of the figure and the body in modernist art from India after that nation’s independence in 1947.
Figuration has been a long, sustained tradition in Indian art and Indian artists had already begun to incorporate secular and non-courtly figures into their works prior to Independence. Post-Independence, notions of the figure and body became connected with the creation of new cultural identities as well as the broad social and political concerns facing a new nation.
Reflecting on the predominant concerns of India’s artists in the decades after Independence, The Body Unbound considers the artistic and psychological significance of figurative modes in these paintings. As India’s artists negotiated professional, social, and political spaces for themselves in a changing nation, the way in which they represented the body continued to evolve. The exhibition will include works from the early 1940s to the mid-1980s, ranging from traditionalist representations of Indian villagers and townspeople to representations of the metaphysical “man” to the socially and politically charged narrative representations that predominated in the 1980s.
Curated by Beth Citron
This exhibition was supported, in part, by the Vadehra Art Gallery and the Dedalus Foundation, Inc.
The Body Unbound will be followed by the subsequent exhibitions Approaching Abstraction and Radical Terrain.