Expanding horizons

The recent times have seen several changes in the way art is being made, curated and perceived.

Published: 08th May 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th May 2022 02:46 PM   |  A+A-

An artist busy painting on walls over theme of COVID-19 in Bhubaneswar

Image used for representational purpose only. (File photo| Biswanath Swain, EPS)

Recent times have seen several changes in the way art is being made, curated and perceived. As the world is witnessing a global pandemic, the breakout of war, a grave socio-economic crisis and vast environmental issues, artists have taken these issues into consideration and their art has been a mirror to society, reflecting and pondering on these issues that plague humankind today.

The artists today have a very different approach to the troubled times we are currently faced with. The younger artists are looking beyond and are exploring different mediums and alternate spaces. It’s very interesting to see how they are exploring sustainable mediums like discarded/found objects, recyclable material, thread, fabric and holographs in an experimental manner. 

Using sustainable materials, the young contemporaries are relooking at lost histories, migration, sociopolitical and environmental issues. A lot of them, through their art, reflect on the grave environmental crisis the planet is in. Artists like Ghana Shyam Latua engage with the primal role of the environment and the conflict between natural and manmade environments highlighted through the needle pricks on paper that define his practice.

While artist Kaushik Saha comments on the consumerist society by using materials like re-used rubber tubes of old bicycle tires, old-tin sheets once used for hoardings etc, Anil Thambai explores the idea of labour in architecture through his different perspectives rendered on Sun-hemp (recycled) paper. Other young artists like Suman Chandra have worked on coal mines and the changes it has caused to the landscape and Meghna Singh Patpatia also goes back to recycled materials and found objects to create a visual observatory of the synergy of natural and manmade elements.

Moving to newer mediums, the widespread reach of technology has revolutionised the way in which we function in our everyday lives. In fact, I feel it has created an alternate space of being, a virtual one in nature. This alternate space, fuelled by technology, opens up vast possibilities for the arts. Today, there are many emerging contemporary artists who are experimenting with technology and art, exploring new mediums like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the newly popular NFTs.

In a recent exhibition, I saw works by Harshit Agrawal, a young Indian contemporary artist, who has vastly experimented with the human-computer interaction in the realm of arts, often juxtaposing traditional art media and computer-generated content to produce art. Another artist I have engaged with is Shilo Shiv Suleman, an award-winning Indian artist whose work lies at the intersection of Magical Realism, Art, Technology and Social Justice. She has closely worked with technology to create installations that are activated by the beating of your heart, apps that react to your brainwaves and sculptures that glow with your breath. This kind of art is only possible at the current date as it requires a strong ecosystem of technology to sustain and experiment. 

Coming to the collectors, there has been a growing interest in art of all forms. At the recently concluded India art fair, it’s very interesting to see how collectors and the newer audience are responding to different art. The real-time issues have always existed for all generations of artists but today, thanks to the advancing technology, we have vast means of expression. Art is not limited to the framed canvas on the wall anymore, and as we expand to new mediums and technologies, it comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. However, with NFTs on the rise and technological advances every day, is it safe to say that the future of art is tech? Or will it co-exist with art created with oil, pen, ink, watercolour? Only time will tell. 

Sunaina Anand

sunaina@artalivegallery.com

Founder and Director, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi 



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