28.05., 19.00 Uhr
This paper will focus on Indian and Japanese efforts to create a regional discourse of art within transcultural modernism which emerged in the early twentieth century. In this period, the worldwide circulation of ideas and artistic styles was the outcome of a print culture that created a ‘virtual cosmopolis’ of Eastern and Western intellectuals, giving rise to an alternative form of modernism in both India and Japan. Behind this ‘movement’ were the great Indian poet Tagore, the leading Japanese art theorist Okakura Tenshin and several likeminded Europeans. Tagore’s belief in alternative cosmopolitan values based on ancient Indian thought as well as Okakura’s slogan ‘Asia is one’ helped create a powerful though shortlived vision of regional anti-colonial modernity.
Partha Mitter is Professor Emeritus of art history at University of Sussex, England, and has been Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Board (UK) Project ‘Modernity and National Identity in Art, 1860s-1940s: Japan, India and Mexico’. He is the author of Much Maligned Monsters. A History of European Reactions to Indian Art (1977), Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850-1922 (1994), Indian Art (2001) and The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-garde 1922-1947 (2007).