“Art Beyond Boundaries”

“ The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible” – Arthur C Clarke The topic of Art Beyond Boundaries can be dealt from any of the four angles of the conceptual framework of Art: the Artist, the Artwork, the World and the Audience. The boundaries crossed by the Artists and the Artwork gets debated very often – across ages how artists have always explored new ideas, challenged established art practices and even questioned what is “art”. Today I am tempted to start the discussion from outside in – i.e. the “World” and the “Audience”. The World essentially means the environmental context of the artwork – it could be socio-political scenario, personal or collective experiences, different movements and styles, innovations and technology etc. Today, the most prominent agent of change is of course, technology. It has made the world as small and as flat as our cellphone screen. Internet and social media have made us truly global citizens. This also has fuelled art world’s growing enthusiasm for all things digital. Museums and galleries have come to see it as a useful marketing tool. Initiatives like Google Art Project have built a greater awareness of the public in Art. Artists themselves have responded to sites like Instagram in creative ways to reach their “Audience”. The way artists today build followers through posting their artworks is an indication of very real enthusiasm and engagement of the public. It’s also a sign of an audience taking ownership of Art, the very definition of which has changed. Today, a great art is not really about the medium or the style, but more about the story it tells, its clarity of communication and the reaction it evokes in us. Today’s artist is an interdisciplinary practitioner. He is combining drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and videography and also inviting audience participation through performance art. And in middle of all these changes, the boundaries between and Artist, his Artwork, his World and his Audience is merging at a phenomenal rate. This is probably the best age to be an artist. He enjoys the most amount of freedom in the entire scheme of things. While his “World” seems to be moving in one direction, which is towards the future, he has the full liberty to move back and forth between past, present and future. He has as much freedom to paint on the cave walls with charcoal, as he has to create a “virtual reality” game with technology. Artists are indeed having a time of their lives! So is there any boundary left for them to mess around with? Samuel P Huntington in his book ‘The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking of the World Order’ said that the fundamental conflict in the world would not be ideological or political, but cultural in nature. If Art needs to cross any boundary today, it is the boundary of culture. Sometimes, the most effective way for this to happen is to physically step into a strangers land. The objective of the project Art Beyond Boundaries was to act as a catalyst. To cross that first boundary of geography, by bringing together an eclectic group of national and international artists, with distinctive art practices, under the same roof. From there on, the artists took their own personal journeys. They explored the landscape, streets, people, and even the weather of the city. They engaged in dialogues with each other, sharing information, experiences, history and culture. Through various talks presented by eminent art personalities, the concept of ‘boundary’ was discussed and debated. Taking bits and pieces from all these experiences, emerged the individual concepts. The show is an end result of these artists pushing their own limits- both outer and inner. While the works reflect their distinct personalities, we can also identify the subtle layer added to their language, as a result of the residency experience.

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