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Between Reality and Dream

The Aesthetic Vision of K. G. Subramanyan

K. G. Subramanyan is one of the most influential Indian artists, teachers, and theorists of the twentieth century. Born in 1924, Subramanyan has lived and worked during a transformative period in Indian history, one shaped by the contradictions of colonialism and nationalism, tradition and modernism, and indigenism and globalization. From 1950 to his retirement from teaching in 1989, he helped shape the aesthetic vision of the art departments at the Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda and the Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan. With great clarity, sensitivity, and wit, he continues to inspire generations of artists and scholars through his prolific writings, lectures, and art.
Between Reality and Dream is the first major study to examine the formation and significance of Subramanyan’s polymorphic aesthetic vision of art and culture within the context of modern India. It analyzes the many influences Subramanyan absorbed in India and abroad while elucidating his unique contributions to contemporary Indian art theory and practice. By providing both practical methods for artists and a visionary way of living, Subramanyan’s ideas have shaped the art scene in India for more than half a century.

188 pages | 30 color plates | 6 x 9 | © 2013

Art: Art Criticism

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Table of Contents



1              The Historical Position

                Encounters with the Outside World

2              Developing a Critical Attitude

                The Rise of Indian Nationalism

3              ‘Imagining’ an Indian Present from a Traditional Past

4              ‘Synthesis is our Tradition’

                Reconciling the Home and the World

5              Between the Traditional and the Modern

                Lessons from Santiniketan

6              Encountering the World

7              A Marvellous Real

                Fusing Fragments into Bahurupee

8              Articulating a Polymorphic Vision

                ‘Between Reality and Dream’

9              Conclusion

                An Artist of Modern Life



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