University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre of South Asian Studies Seminars > The travails of a migrating concept - art in the crossfire between the 'religious' and the 'aesthetic'

The travails of a migrating concept - art in the crossfire between the 'religious' and the 'aesthetic'

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My talk is positioned in the interstices of art history and a history of concepts (Begriffsgeschichte) not framed by national boundaries. It investigates the migrant journeys of the concept of art to regions beyond the West. The focus here is on South Asia, a context marked by strong iconophilic traditions and practices where the modernist concept of art enters into relationships with local and regional understandings of visuality and the image. Studying processes of transculturation involves examining both linguistic translations as well as tensions between normative idioms and art practice. Such processes are not only syncretic but produce fresh fissures within delicately balanced structures of disjunctive contemporaneity. Taking the example of the heated controversies surrounding the work of the modernist artist M.F. Husain, the talk will draw attention to art’s difficult location within a domain that seeks to hold the religious and aesthetic in a single frame

This talk is part of the Centre of South Asian Studies Seminars series.

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