Historicizing Subjectivity in Modernism: Indian and Polish Contexts

Bipin Balachandran

Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, Kerala

     Volume III, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF


The subjectivity of a modern artist as it was ideated in fin-de-siècle Europe was of a decontextualized creative persona striving to express its innermost feelings. The rationale thus created imbued with a belief in the universality of creative genius in man was successful in maintaining self-perpetuating concepts of international modernism which could perform a decisive role in the transnational and temporal frame work of the discourse on Art. The exclusiveness and elitism with regard to the Euro-centric views felt within this dominant discourse were, however, confuting its rationale. Moreover, the numerous alternative narratives emerged out of the encounter with the project of imperial modernization in the ‘underprivileged’ regions had their own versions of modernism which had to primarily uphold their national or ethnical loyalties.  Large part of art history written in the early twentieth century in these regions can be seen getting to grips with the dilemma of modern artists over reconciling national loyalties and international aspirations. By citing two contexts of India and Poland, one from a former colony of Europe and the other from within Europe, this paper tries to elucidate the formation of subjectivity in modern art.

Keywords: Subjectivity, Modernism, Indian Modern Art, Nationalism, Poland, Historicity

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