This book is an ethnographic study of the travelling art exhibition Indian Highway that presented Indian contemporary art in Europe and China between 2008 and 2012, a significant period for the art world that saw the rise and fall of the national exhibition format. It analyses art exhibition as a mobile "object" and promotes the idea of art as a transcultural product by using participant observation, in-depth interviews, and multi-media studies as research method. This work encompasses voices of curators, artists, audiences, and art critics spread over different cities, sites, and art institutions to bridge the distance between Europe and India based on vignettes along the Indian Highway. The discussion in the book focuses on power relations, the contested politics of representation, and dissonances and processes of negotiation in the field of global art. It also argues for rethinking analytical categories in anthropology to identify the social role of contemporary art practices in different cultural contexts and also examines urban art and the way national or cultural values are reinterpreted in response to ideas of difference and pluralism.
Rich in empirical data, this book will be useful to scholars and researchers of modern and contemporary art, Indian art, art and visual culture, anthropology, art history, mobility, and transcultural studies.
Table of Contents
List of Figures. List of Plates. Acknowledgments. Preface by Monica Juneja 1. Along the Indian Highway: An Introduction 2. "Cancel That Flight to Delhi…": Serpentine Gallery, London 2008 3. "Indianness and the Urgency of Transmission...": Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo 2009 4. "There Might be an Indian Background, But the Theme is Global": HEART Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning 2010 5. Transcultural Dissonances in the Contemporary Art World: Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome 2012 6. Indian Highway VI Finally on Its Way to China: Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing 2012 7. Shared Exoticisms or the Limits of the National Exhibition: Some Final Observations
Cathrine Bublatzky is a visual and media anthropologist and Assistant Professor at the Department of Visual and Media Anthropology, Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, Germany. As a trained photographer she received her Magister in Anthropology with a focus on South Asian History and Visual Anthropology in 2008. In her research and teaching, she investigates contemporary visual practices in the field of art and photography, with a main interest in migration and diasporic studies, citizenship, and urban contexts in South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.