Landscape, the figurative and also the figure located in landscape occupy Indian modernist artists, signficantlymore so than in European or North American modernist tradition. In part this is down to the refusal on the part of most artists to commit totally to abstraction, unlike say, their European counterparts. And in part, the continued references to figure and the landscape seem to be away of asserting a national identity to the modernist experiments Indian artists undertook. Partha Mitter has argued the Industrial Revolution in the West and the subsequent alienation and angst that indivuals felt fed into the radical distortion and fragmentation of European modernism. However Mitter argues that India, in the first part of the 20th century at least, was still largely a non-industrial country that was socially cohesive and this shaped the modernism that its artists collectively began to explore. The figure of the common man or woman ensconced in a native landscape can be understood as an articulation of indigenous modernism; Typical is the artist Sudhir Patwardhan's aim which he described as "to make figures that can become self-images for the people who are the subject of my work." Or as Geeta Kapur wrote in "Contemporary Indian Artists": "The sense of community belongs as much to the past as to the future."
This two-part exhibition staged in New York and London aims to tease this points out through the presentation of works from across the twentieth-century (and some, indeed from the current century). Landscape and figure are the pivots for the project - a number of works show the figure dissolving into, or being almost a constituent part of the landscape. Other works veer towards being wholly landscape and some others, being almost wholly figurative.
Part I of the show took place in our New York gallery between October 28th and November 20th and Part 2 of the show that will take place in our London gallery from 25th November through to 8th January 2011. The artists in Part II of the show are: Rameshwar Broota, Avinash Chandra, Jogen Chowdhury, Ganesh Haloi, M.F.Husain, George Keyt, Akbar Padamsee, Sudhir Patwardhan, Shyamal Dutta Ray, Jehangir Sabavala, Sadequain, F.N. Souza, Viren Tanwar and T. Vaikuntham.