Change is necessary. Without change, everything becomes stagnant and eventually struggles to die. There is not a single aspect or element of human life that has not witnessed the transformation, gradual or instantaneous. Art, out of all such genres have more intriguing transition than any other field.
Previously, artists used to harness their skill to depict eye-catching and exquisite paintings of Gods, Kings, and all the elite people of the society. Art was done moreover to document the human society. Artists were not famed as much as they are now. And only a few selected and sophisticated sections of society had access to art.
Today, it’s the opposite. Common people have an easy access to the paintings and artists are highly applauded and rewarded for their work. The emergence of so many artists tells us that the number of people who love art is also increasing.
It is the time of contemporary paintings. Wherever you go, you would find a long list of contemporary artists and their totally unique way of thinking. Although, if you are a toddler in the art field, observing a contemporary art for the very first time would be a bit tough for you. This is because contemporary style offers you the freedom to use your imagination.
A by-product of modern art movements such as Minimalism and Pop Art, the contemporary form allows both the artists and art lovers to freely decode the painting with their own experiences and imagination.
In a study, researchers have found that whenever you see a contemporary art or a modern painting, your mind’s creative flair is excited to 10% upward. This proves that contemporary artworks act as a stimulus to our creativity.
So next time you are looking for an Indian contemporary art or an abstract painting, remember, something amazing is going inside your head.
The basics of understanding a contemporary art
This is quite primitive. While a lot of people think that deciphering the intent of contemporary paintings is quite tough, it isn’t.
All you have to do is to keep an empty mind with no perceptions. Forget all you know about art (momentarily and figuratively) and focus only on the painting in front of you. This helps you in slowly getting connected with the painting.
Do not try to dig out the meaning from the beginning, instead, first try to flow with the colours, with the loose brush strokes, and with the impressionable colour combinations.
For example, if you would look at the Indian contemporary art masterpiece from V.S.Gaitonde or S.H.Raza, you would see that these million dollars valued paintings do not connect with you instantaneously.
Contemporary artwork requires your time. The more you would look at contemporary work the more you can read between the lines. There is no singularity nor a definitiveness in contemporary paintings. One thing that is fixed in contemporary field is the dynamism.
Starts with the basics when you are observing a contemporary work like the material used to make it, the canvas, the colour strokes, the contrasting nature of designs, and the vagueness that is uniformly spread.
Reading these elements would offer you a kickstart in understanding the contemporary paintings.
Look at the texture of the contemporary artwork closely. See if the texture is thick or not. A thick or multi-layered texture reflects that the artwork was created quite carefully and aesthetically.
Since you have covered all the visual elements now, it is time to go beyond what you see.
It is important to understand the non-described elements of a contemporary painting using your own understanding. As per experts, contemporary paintings can be often broken into multiple iconographies with varied meanings.
Look for an iconographic approach while finding an inner meaning in the contemporary artworks. For example, seeing the Indian contemporary art of M.F. Husain would offer you a correct sense of iconography.
In some of the contemporary works, iconography is too obvious, while in others it may not be easy to concur with.
Now, as you have decoded the inner embedded representation that the artist is trying to showcase through his/her work, it’s time to think.
This is the step where you process out your experiences with the given elements and formulate a specific interpretation. Remember, interpreting a contemporary work is not a science.
This is so because science always gives us one answer while a contemporary art can give you more than one. It’s all about how close you get to the intent of the artist.
Use all the ingredients from Step 1 and Step 2. Mix it with all the experience and intellect you possess and try to come up with a meaning. This meaning, by all means, will be either closely or distantly associated with artist’s emotions depending on how well you jot down all the steps mentioned.
I hope all the steps mentioned here will ease your efforts in interpreting the meaning of Indian contemporary artworks.