A Chronology of Modern Indian Art and Thematic Considerations

By Debashish Banerji

 

(Click this link to see the Contours of Modernity Picture Gallery

 

The regime of modernity in India can be said to begin from the turn of the 17th/18th c. with the setting up of trading interests in Calcutta by the British East India Company. The British occupation of India swiftly replaced the indigenous miniature schools with naturalistic Company Painting and institutional forms such as art salons and art schools generated a new breed of Indian elite painters who turned to oils and water colors in a British style, though often with Indian subjects from myth, portraiture or landscape. Raja Ravi Verma (1848-1906) of Kerala was among the most well-known and popular of this first generation of western-style artists. Around the turn of the 19th/20th century, the nationalist (swadeshi) movement in Bengal spawned a new movement in art, where the artist Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951) and his students broke away from western painting styles and self-consciously sought aesthetic standards and techniques rooted in Indian and Japanese traditions. Later designated “The Bengal School”, the fantasy-laden paintings of this movement served as a pervasive influence for many artists throughout India because major practitioners of this school became heads of art pedagogical institutions by 1925. Particularly, the influence of this school in Bengal has been a major one into present times due largely to the practices of the art school, Kala Bhavan, at Rabindranath Tagore’s creative educational center in Shantiniketan, where Abanindranath Tagore’s foremost disciple Nandalal Bose headed a progressive offshoot of this school. Contemporary artists, featured in our show who can be seen as continuing in some way the legacy of the Bengal School, include Ganesh Pyne, Ramananda Bandyopadhyay, Lalu Prosad Shaw, Shakti Burman, Biswarup Datta and Anjan Chakrabarty. 

 

The Bengal School’s attempt at defining an Indian ‘national’ style was not without contestation or alternate formulations and artists such as Abanindranath’s brother Gaganendranath Tagore and their uncle, the famous poet, Rabindranath Tagore were among the earliest to embrace western modernist idioms in their work. While Gaganendranath expressed a critical sensibility through his expressionistic cartoons and evoked magic worlds using a Cubist-influenced style, Rabindranath mined the inchoate forms of the subconscious in a mode reminiscent of German Expressionism. These two were also responsible for India’s first exhibition of western modernist painting, with a showing of the Bauhaus artists in Calcutta in 1922. The late 20s and 30s of the century saw the gradual growth of other approaches towards Indian modernisms. Jamini Roy (1817-72) in Bengal adopted a decorative iconic style based on folk scrolls which became a powerful influence for later painters of Bengal. Artists like Ramananda Bandyopadhyay, Biswarup Datta and Paresh Maity, featured in this exhibition, are some who have assimilated this trend.

 

Amrita Sher Gill (1913-31), of half-Punjabi and half-Hungarian descent, was among the first of 20th c. Indian artists to be trained in Paris and fashion a personal artistic style combining Gaugin’s post-Impressionism with the frescos of Ajanta. The fact that the successive art movements of modern Europe drew on non-western sources for inspiration becomes here mirrored in an Indian seeking for affiliations with western modernism. The recognition of modernity as a global phenomenon emanating out of Europe and productive of forms of cultural critique with international applicability becomes the basis for developing indigenous national or regional adaptations or reflections of these forms. A cross-cultural vocabulary thus comes into existence where, for instance, Matisse can find a regional echo in Jamini Roy and both come to settle in the contemporary adaptations of Paresh Maity, another artist featured in our exhibition.  This looking westwards for an international idiom gained momentum in the 1940s, along with an impending sense of national independence – India attained political independence in 1947 - with the formation of a number of artist’s collectives in major cities such as Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi and Madras.  The Calcutta Artists’ Group, founded in 1942, was among the earliest of these, with a number of its members expressing leftist sentiments and traveling to Paris for training. Similar modernist ideals and tendencies were behind the Progressive Painters’ Association founded in Madras in 1944, the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) in Bombay in 1947 and the Delhi Silpi Chakra in Delhi in 1949. One of the painters of the Delhi Silpi Chakra, Ram Kumar, also with leftist proclivities and trained in Paris, went on to become one of India’s most celebrated painters of semi-abstract landscape and is being presented in our exhibition. Another art institution from New Delhi which was founded in 1951 and has come to foster a new breed of prominent contemporary artists is the Triveni Kala Sangam. At its inception, the art division of Triveni was headed by K.S. Kulkarni, a role presently fulfilled by Rameshwar Broota, one of the artists in our exhibition. Two of Broota’s eminent students, who have gone on to become instructors at Triveni and have earned international recognition for their art are Vasundhara Tewari and Surinder Kaur, also featured here.

 

The Progressive Artists’ Group of Bomaby deserves special mention as the most vocal and assertive of these collectives of the 40s, several of whose members have assumed iconic status in India’s modernist canon. The founding members of this group were M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, K.H. Ara, S.K. Bakre, H.A. Gade and S.H. Raza. In our exhibition, we showcase works by three of these influential pioneers of the Indian modern – F.N. Souza, M.F. Husain and S.H. Raza. Grouped in the year of India’s independence and citizens of a cosmopolitan culture, each of these three major painters hail from a minority religion of India, the first being born Roman Catholic and the other two Muslim, and each has staked a distinctive claim as a visual spokesman for the national modern. Each of these has also been hugely influential as a formative source for different directions of contemporary Indian art. Souza can be seen as the most individualist of these artists, his paintings exerting powerful expressionistic distortions to landscapes and human forms, suggestive of a sexuality intensified through repression. Husain, the most celebrated living Indian artist today, aligned himself from the beginning with a Nehruvian project of secular nation-building, and has woven eclectic modern myths from varied religious and popular sources in his works. Raza, beginning with abstraction, has settled into an experimentation with the mystical geometric forms of Tantra, a message of personal transformation that has gained increasing popularity since the 1960s.

 

The 50s and 60s saw the consolidation of a rich and varied Indian modern through the assimilation of the successive vocabularies of modernist movements of Europe and America into regional perceptions and ontologies. This was particularly fostered by the founding of regional centers of art headed by artists with articulate ideologies. The Baroda School of Art and the Madras College of Art are two such schools. The Baroda School, initiated by the lyrical Bengal school derived modernism of N.S. Bendre, developed an exciting artistic and art critical voice in the 60s, which veered away from internationalism and abstraction to figuration and regionalism. Two major artists of this school are Bhupen Khakkar and Gulammohammed Sheikh, who eschewed prevailing canons both of a western modernism and a rural or traditional indigenism to open up an urban popular space for Indian modernism. The Madras School, among the early art institutions established by the British in India, underwent a transformation under the leadership of K.C.S. Paniker, who was also instrumental in the founding of an artist’s village named Cholamandalam near Madras (now Chennai). In his own work, Paniker utilized the geometric mystical symbols of Tantra, though with an intent more visual and aesthetic than spiritual. In doing this, he opened up a new direction for an indigenous form of modern abstraction, which fused the iconic and calligraphic visual aesthetics of artists such as Paul Klee with Indian folk and mystical meditative designs. This coincided with the enhanced interest and presentation in the 1960s of Tantric Art by Ajit Mookherjee and others and led to an important field of Indian abstract exploration, where spiritual practices are brought together with pure visuality to engender internal transformations. This trend in art has been termed Neo-Tantra after the traveling exhibition of that name which toured Europe and North America in 1984-6. We have already mentioned the work of S.H. Raza in this regard. Other Neo-Tantric artists featured in this exhibition include G.R. Santosh, Biren De and Sohan Qadri. Younger artists in our exhibition, such as Biswarup Datta and Amrita Banerji also make use of visual metaphors taken from this direction, though not with any principled adhesion to the forms or ideas of Tantra. The influence of Neo-Tantra can also be seen fused with an American Op Art inspiration in the paintings of diasporic artist, Anil Revri, featured in our exhibition, who lives and works in Washington, D.C.

 

The seeking for a modern indigenism in the work of Paniker was paralleled by a number of other artists from different parts of India, such as K.G. Subramanyan, also from the Baroda School and J. Swaminathan, whose own paintings showed a mysticiam similar to Paniker’s, and drew on Indian folk and tribal patterns as well as the iconic arrangements of Paul Klee. Swaminathan founded Group 1890 with a number of other artists, with the aim of expressing an immediacy based on regional and local experience. Artists affiliated with this movement presented in our exhibition include Laxma Goud and Manjit Bawa. T. Vaikuntham, another artist presented here, was a student of K.G. Subramanyan from the Baroda School, and also exemplifies this form of indigenism.

 

The acceptance of visual vocabularies of western modernism as an international affiliation for the global condition of modernity took a further step with the increased technological and economic integration of the world since the 1980s. This has led to diasporic Indian populations all over the world, who, rather than finding an international voice for a regional experience, are presented with the reverse dilemma of articulating global experiences in terms of a subjectivity often formed in India or under conditions of an Indian upbringing. Though several artists who have made their mark in India have gone on to reside abroad – and several such, like S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza and Sohan Qadri have already been noted in this introduction and featured in this exhibition – a number of artists of Indian origin or upbringing have grown into prominence in the artistic milieu of the west. A major name of this kind is Anish Kapoor from the U.K. In the U.S., a well-recognized name of this kind is that of Natwar Bhavsar, who lives and works in New York. Natwar’s cosmic abstractions and Anil Revri’s focused optical meditations present a context-free internationalism, like that of Anish Kapoor, which is an important direction in diasporic art. Both these artists are featured in the present exhibition. However, another perspective on the diasporic experience is that presented by photographer and installation artist, Allan D’Souza, of Los Angeles, who is also presented in this exhibition. Allan’s work provides us with intelligent social and psychological commentaries on nation, identity and belongingness. Allan works from the outside of national boundaries to explore their effects on the human psyche.

 

Thematic Considerations:

For the purposes of the present exhibition, we have chosen to view contemporary Indian art through the prismatic lens of Myth, Social Landscaped and Self.

Myth:

The interface between fact and fiction is an ambiguous one within human consciousness. It is in recognition of this that Nietzsche made his famous pronouncement “There are no facts, only interpretations.” Incidents are selectively formatted within human consciousness and come to assume a narrative form determined by internal forces. These forces are an index of the roots of belonging of a person – traditions which are unconsciously shared or consciously accepted. Facts format themselves in terms of fictive narratives even as they unfold, but as they recede into the past, such selective formatting takes on a more distinct form as they approximate archetypes. This is the dimension of myth, an internal form which ties reality together for those who accept it. Myths may be received or myths may be created – received myths course through the life-blood of a society, unconsciously orienting its habitus through tradition; created myths bring together new orientations into society and redirect, reverse or innovate tradition. From the early modern period, Indian artists have made a prominent use of myths in their paintings. As pointed out by Benedict Anderson in his work “Imagined Communities” the nation is imagined as a community by its founders. National myths play an important role in this imagination and its propagation. The art of Abanindranath Tagore is a very interesting case in point where a variety of mythical tropes establish a number of possibilities of an Indian modern identity. Abanindranath’s paintings draw us into a fictional world which shifts between received pan-Indian mythologies, innovated regional folklore and created personal myths. While the depiction of pan-Indian mythologies furthers the project of nation-building, regional and local myths often resist such a monolithic project by positing alternate versions of community. Personal myths, for their part, are a quintessentially modern device, in the sense of being products of a fluid identity, selecting eclectically from diverse traditional sources and synthesizing these creatively to express a subjectivity which seeks a comfortable habitation in a perpetually changing world.

 

Following this early initiation by myth-makers such as Ravi Verma and Abanindranath Tagore, a mythical expression has been sought by a number of modern Indian artists. In the present exhibition, for example, M.F. Husain’s work, aligned from the beginning with the project of imagining a secular India, has expressed itself by  weaving together popular mythologies taken from a variety of religious and secular sources. The idea of secularism in India, lacking as it does, a historical foundation in a division between church and state, as in Europe, has been one which largely accepts a plurality of religions within its scope. Husain’s mythologies seamlessly span Hindu Puranic tales, Christian saints and themes, Islamic calligraphy, imperial and national histories, rural continuities and Bollywood actresses. Other myth-makers in the present exhibition include a number of artists from Bengal, who following in the wake of Abanindranath Tagore and Jamini Roy, have either translated the quotidian into personal myths such as with Ganesh Pyne or regionalized and personalized pan-Indian icons such as with Ramananda Bandopadhyay, Biswarup Datta and Shakti Burman. With Anjan Chakrabarty, creative myths of a cross-cultural variety often present conundrums as in the painting “Colloquy” exhibited here, which depicts practitioners of the three major religions of India, Hindu, Muslim and Christian, in dialog over what meets their eyes in a mirror. Amrita Banerji’s ‘Ganesha’ reconstitutes the traditional mythic image using personal mystical symbols – the conch shell or tear of compassion, the divine swan which can separate truth from falsehood, the coiled serpent energy, Indra the Lord of the lightnings of intuition riding above the eyebrows. Her work has often been characterized as Neo-Tantric and often shares a visual idiom with this school, though it refuses to be bound within that framework. She also explores personal symbolic terrains based on her spiritual practices as a follower of the modern Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo, as in ‘Key to Gnosis’, where the gold eye of the Supermind opens itself through psychic ascension based on a surrender to the Divine Mother.

 

Social Landscape:

Landscape has been a genre of painting given independent prominence in western and far eastern traditions. In pre-modern western landscapes, the attempt has been to capture a pre-existent aesthetic in nature, pristine and free of human habitation or a powerful spiritual presence which has been able to absorb the human presence harmoniously into itself. In far eastern approaches to landscape, a slightly different effect has been attempted – that of presenting the vastness or grandeur of the spirit in nature as something overwhelming which dwarfs the external reality of the human yet renders itself accessible to human subjectivity as an object of contemplation. In pre-modern Indian art, landscape has seldom been treated as an object of spiritual contemplation or aesthetic enjoyment in and by itself; rather, it has formed the setting for narrative or affective depictions of human and/or divine existence. The advent of modern approaches to landscape, particularly as evidenced since post-Impressionism, has been to see nature as marked by human subjectivity, of human consciousness as the receptor and presenter of nature, hence of the art of landscape as an aspect of human consciousness. The individualistic emphasis in such an approach has been further modified in more contemporary approaches which recognize geography as socially and politically determined. Nature is no longer pristine, nor is it enough to see the world as a biosphere, an ecological unit where the human co-exists with other living beings, it is much more proper to call the earth today a psycho-sphere, where all is marked by social and political consciousness, a name-determined realm of contestations. Thus the genre of landscape is being seen for our purposes here in a broader context of psychological, social and political terrains, where consciousness appropriates nature, engages in inscribing it with contested realities or struggles to release it in an act of spiritual renunciation/liberation.  An artist like F.N. Souza, for example, more commonly known for his portraits of distorted males, where sexual energy is intensified through powerful repression, turns a similar intent to the expressionistic depiction of a Mexican landscape. Just as his human depictions, though anonymous, hint at his own upbringing as a Roman Catholic, ‘Mexican Landscape’ seeks affiliation in the Catholicism of Mexico, causing nature to bristle with an underlying sexuality. Ram Kumar, who is better known for his semi-abstract landscapes, where the timeless essence of holy cities like Varanasi is captured using thick and flat textures of luminous paint, is featured in the present exhibition through one of his earlier works, where a nondescript mother and son stand huddled against abstract forms evoking a city with a menacing appearance and hinting at the personality-erasing threat of the contemporary urbanscape. Vasundhara Tewari also utilizes landscape to reflect on the inner and outer worlds of the artist. In the painting featured here, the cow and the wall form the dialogic partners of an everyday space already sedimented with prehistoric memory, where the taboos and separations of modernity emblematized by new constructions are constantly encroached on by subjectivity.  Diasporic artists, such as Natwar Bhavsar and Allan D’Souza take an approach to the internal landscape less concerned with national or regional issues. In the case of Bhavsar, abstract implosions of color are reminiscent of the spectacular formations and energy diffusions found in photographs of deep space or of molecular realities. But for Bhavsar, these seemingly hyper-real objectifications of ultra-modern imaging are equable to more updated and accurate contemporary representations of internal and spiritual realities. With Allan D’Souza, the questionable and politically weighted character of ‘natural’ landscapes is explored through constructed photographs of man-made surfaces implanted with the artist’s own body parts. In the series of photographs titled “Terrains” displayed here, for example, the artist’s body residues, such as hair, eyelashes, earwax, etc. are arranged on pieces of paper painted with acrylic and then photographed. The results are carefully designed to resemble or imitate 19th c. American landscape paintings of rugged unpeopled frontiers, signs of the virile colonization of virginal territories by white man. D’Souza’s use of abject materials to revisit this space, inscribing it with his body residues, calls to mind the decimation of the American Indian and its ironic repopulation by another kind of ‘Indian’, the Indian American as well as the spiritual poverty of the gesture. Likewise, D’Souza’s little sculptures, ‘Sacred Cows’ and ‘Little Death’ use twisted paper tissue, beard shavings and semen to construct little throw-away objects reminiscent of cows and humans, and poking fun at the sacrosanct character of social taboos and glorified masculine subjectivity.

 

The Self:

Whereas thinking about the ‘self’ in art has usually brought to mind the genre of self-portraits, for us this category points to the concern with identity which pervades modernity and nationality. Again, here, this concern makes its appearance from the early phases of modern Indian art and has remained an important issue, in spite of the contemporary aversion to identity politics. Looking, once more, for the foundations of Indian modernism to Abanindranath Tagore, we find there repeated attempts at the genre of self-portraiture and portraiture in general. Portraiture in pre-colonial times in India tended to be contextual or allegorical, locating the subject within a setting of social or mythical action. Thus identity was diffused over a social or political landscape. In the early modern use of this genre, there is an exclusive foregrounding of the subject, in keeping with western practice. Thus, individuality and human character or emotion is given prime or exclusive importance. In the early modern portraiture of the Impressionsits, for example, that of Manet or Renoir, a greater interest in the social dimension returns, the portraits often placed in social settings meant to bring out the fleetingness or hollowness of modern emotions or give voice to the angst of modernity. Abanindranath begins making portraits as character studies, but the dimension of subject-formation within a social and political context is never far from his faces. From the late 1920s he turns towards a new kind of portraiture, that of ‘masks’, where individual faces are depicted in the form of peel-off masks, often reminiscent of the Noh masks of Japan. Faces here are social accretions, put in place by the dynamics of name-calling and mutuality. As in the case of myth, the self can also be a received archetype or a created syncretic construction or a dynamic personal selection, attempting to preserve its difference from homogenizing national or regional idenitities. Vaikunthan, for example, following a modern indigenism, gives us a proliferation of regional archetypes, the self as idiosyncratic traditionalist, exotic but self-contained, negotiating reality on their own terms. A similar indigenism works in the case of Laxma Goud, whose rural Andhra women exude an earthy regionality, free of any classical idealism, pastoral and sensual. A call to primal simplicity and an alternate regional aesthetic is the message of identity here. Rameshwar Broota, on the other hand, distills a bleak essence of the human condition with his hirsute ape-like monumental forms standing blankly in dark landscapes. An unrelieved monotony and stark animality seem like unbreakable chains invisibly tied to this form of self, which is less national or individual than the global anonymous image of dehumanized modernity. As against this, Paresh Maity’s lyrical images of gentle lovers drenched in deep colors in settings with playful symbols open up more positive possibilities of selfhood, where the affective essence transforms reality into a visionary private kingdom, capable of contesting from within the objectifying regime of technology. Following a similar line of affective redemption and color saturation is Maity’s more senior fellow-Bengali artist, Ramananda Bandyopadhyay. A student of Nandalal Bose and in the lineage of Abanindranath Tagore, his paintings, such as Vaishnav or Bhagavat Dampati, present images of human affect under the intense suffusion of mystical mood, transformative of earthly conditions. A similar lyricism can be found in the works of Anjali Ela Menon, though her figures often betray a pathos of absence which renders them monumental. The work of Bikash Bhattacharjee presents another aspect of the modern Indian self, that of the decrepitude and moral corruption of urban bourgeois life. Utilizing a photographic hyper-realism, Bhattacharjee presents his subjects in an unflattering light, where their facial blemishes become magnified into an underlying repulsiveness. In the painting displayed in this exhibition, he portrays himself in a surreal cyclonic landscape with his decapitated head in his hands.

 

However, it is hardly possible to speak adequately about the self in the Indian context without acknowledging the processes of questioning the stablility of the ego and the transpersonal practices of yoga which run like an invisible river through much of traditional Indian culture and continues to find a variety of manifestations in modern times. While spirituality in the Indian context is justifiably seen by many as a trite buzzword or an essentialized form of cultural economy prioritized by Orientalists and used as a convenient device of modern self-labeling by nationalists, spiritual practices continue to proliferate in a variety of ways throughout the subcontinent and the quest for the liberation of consciousness from every form of subjection continues to be an individual possibility not merely for Indians but as an active discursive field available to the world. Contemporary Indian artists, while they have been wary of exotic or romantic definitions of Indian spirituality, have not kept themselves incubated from the expression of specific ideas, practices and experiences emanating from yogic traditions. In our consideration so far, we have already had occasion to speak of several such approaches. However, one important stream of contemporary Indian art, which explores the processes of self-transformation, needs special mention here, as it has grown in prominence as a pan-Indian movement and has tended to expand into an international phenomenon. This is what has been termed Neo-Tantra, following the hugely successful exhibition of that name, which traveled Europe and America in 1984-6. Neo-Tantric artists use a common visual vocabulary of abstract geometric form, and in this find a visual parallel in the movement towards geometric abstraction in western modernism, including such attempts as those of Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Mark Rothko and later, the movement of Op Art in America. These attempts, tending towards a purely optical experience, which aim at engendering transformational changes in the consciousness through a bypassing of the dimension of ‘understanding’, find a common aim and method in Tantric meditational diagrams or yantras, and it is this common ground which becomes the space of exploration of contemporary Neo-Tantric artists. In my outline of the history of modern art in India, I have already made mention of the part played by K.C.S. Paniker in initiating this genre, as of the publicity given to Tantric art by Ajit Mookherjee and others. In our exhibition, we carry works by four of the original artists who were exhibited in the Neo-Tantra show: S.H. Raza, G.R. Santosh, Biren De and Sohan Qadri. The symbolism of Tantra is a powerful iconic device, incorporated to a different degree by all these artists. The visual metaphors of Tantra include the trikona, ascending and descending triangles, representing various levels of earthly aspiration and transcendental response respectively; the linga, phallic icon embodying the inexhaustible, infinite potentiality of spirit, the yoni or vagina, standing for the mystery of the birth in time of the timeless; the bindu or point representing the seed of the eternal and the infinite manifest through the impregnation of time and space, becoming immanent in every instant and every particle; and the kundalini or coiled serpent, consciousness latent at the base of the manifest, that 'uncoils' itself as evolution in time. Raza needs little introduction as a contemporary Indian artist. Much celebrated, this Paris-based artist was among the founder-members, along with Husain and F.N. Souza, of the Progressive Artists’ Group of Bombay in 1947.

 

Raza’s use of Tantric symbols in grid-like patterns also emulates forces of nature. Biren De’s work achieves its effect through a pulsating intensity of color, while Sohan Qadri scores his paper surface with a knife to invite the eye into the searing white intensity of the rising mercurial kundalini or suspends silver dots in the air to gather attention to the still point, bindu, center of the void, circumferenceless infinite circle. G.R. Santosh, with his brilliant constitution of psychedelic forms with Tantric elements probes the inner experience in its relationship with the outer structure of consciousness. Along with the haunting images of these artists may be grouped the diasporic art of Anil Revri. Though Revri would hardly call himself a Neo-Tantric artist, his sophisticated networks of directed lines and dots, set up force fields that draw the vision into a journey which is dynamic in its meditative power and engages the perception in an act of “magical engineering.”

 

In concluding this section, I would like to draw attention to the powerful body of art produced by contemporary Indian artists focusing on gender issues. The homoerotic fantasies of Bhupen Khakkar or the feminist polemics of Nalini Malani, Arpana Caur, Arpita Singh, Gogi Saroj Pal, Nilima Sheikh and others constitute a prominent direction of contemporary Indian art. It is unfortunate that the present exhibition has not been able to adequately represent this stream. This omission has been entirely logistical and the curators of the exhibition hope to remedy this lacuna in future presentations. Moreover, with the exception of photography, logistical reasons have also been responsible for the omission of work in contemporary media other than painting, such as printmaking, video, computer, installation or performance art. The attempt to de-privilege the masculine spectatorial gaze from its vantage as viewer in context-less galleries or possessor of collections, has led increasingly to the movement of art from the pictorial space of walls to more intimate and participatory social contexts. This may be seen as a movement from the modern to the postmodern in art, and, since the late 1980s, increasing numbers of Indian artists are presenting their ideas, interpretations and social questions in these forms. Artists like Vivian Sundaram, Ranbir Kaleka, Subodh Gupta and Ajay Sinha have been at the vanguard of Indian installation arts and producing some of the most exciting contemporary artworks of our time. It is regretted that we could not present any of this work at this exhibition, but we are hopeful that the quality of the works that we have been able to present will generate enough interest and support in the community to enable us to offer a more thorough representation of modern Indian art and its diverse tendencies in the near future.