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The Bombay and Calcutta progressives


Playfulness and not conforming to one style
KG Subramanyan Artist
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In your own personal terms, did you feel you were able to integrate some of the elements of this play and this virtuosic facility?

Yes, true.

Into your own art?

Yes, I have been, I suppose. At least in various things, I have been able to do that, and in fact, even in the way I work, I sit and scribble and overdo things, overlay things, then change then use paper cuts. Sometimes when I do a thing for designing a children’s book, that thing, the playfulness that comes into it, comes and affects the work. So, there is a kind of useful interchange, but of course how it comes and how effective it is, is for other people to say. I don’t really sort of try to find out where it happens or it doesn’t.

If I use a phrase like ‘it released you’, that implies that previously you would have been blocked.

Well maybe, I don’t know. The whole question is the normal system is that if you are thinking in terms of conforming to a certain kind of a style, you are being blocked, and that is what I try to cut across.

KG Subramanyan (1924-2016) was an Indian artist. A graduate of the renowned art college of Kala Bhavana in Santiniketan, Subramanyan was both a theoretician and an art historian whose writings formed the basis for the study of contemporary Indian art. His own work, which broke down the barrier between artist and artisan, was executed in a wide range of media and drew upon myth and tradition for its inspiration.

Listeners: Timothy Hyman

Timothy Hyman is a graduate of Slade School of Fine Art, London, in which he has also taught. In 1980 and 1982, he was Visiting Professor in Baroda, India. Timothy Hyman has curated many significant art exhibitions and has published articles and monographs on both European and Indian artists.

Duration: 1 minute, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: 2008

Date story went live: 10 September 2010