Art Histories Lecture
How does a civilization express its thoughts on death and rapture? Is one’s place in the cosmos fated by destiny, or does a body have its own agency? Are the values of men constructed differently from those of women? These questions are considered in this talk through multifaceted understandings of heroic, yogic, ascetic, seductive and dangerous bodies in an exploration of the richness of India’s art and thought. The lecture introduces a major exhibition which is on show at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels until January 5th 2014. It presents a variety of Indian aesthetic meditations on the role of art and representation. The body is revealed not only as the subject of art, but as the repository of the values, preoccupations and aspirations of times ancient, medieval and modern, popular as well as classical. This comprehensive introduction to the plurality of approaches to the body is illustrated with the finest examples of Indian art, diverse in their geographical spread, chronology, patronage, religion and material.
Naman P. Ahuja is Curator of the exhibition "The Body in Indian Art" at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, and Associate Professor of Indian Art at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.