R B Bahskaran
Bhaskaran is one of India’s most celebrated contemporary artists. Born in 1942, Bhaskaran was one of the protagonists of the Modern Indian art movement, a role that he has traversed with great skill and understanding. He argued against the idea that Indian art had to be that, that it had to contain ideas and motifs from the histories of Indian art production. It is through voices like his thata critical analysis of the formation of Modernism in India was made possible and questions of what it was to be an artist working in India meant and what responsibilities, if any, came with this role
A leader of what is becoming known as the Madras Art Movement of the 60’s he both rebelled and led from the front as he accepted the Role of Director of the Lalit Kala Akademi, Indian’s leading Academy of the Fine Arts, in the troubled period at the turn of the century when the Public institutions were riddled with corrupt politics.
Bhaskaran’s work becomes particularly interesting when taken in the Indian context. Whilst he denied the need to be Indian in a contemporary art context at the same time he did not go out of his way to remove or destroy those motifs that are immediately identified as Indian. He cleverly questions this dynamic through his chosen imagery.
Ultimately whether it is subconscious or not, Bhaskaran as a leading artist who emerged from the backdrop of art production of the South of India, of Madras and now Chennai, in his work we can enjoy the extraordinary use of line and of mark making, so synonymous with the South.