primitive, tribal art, as one axis, is already loaded and then there is the modem which signals the future, so that we have some kind of a maxim built into the comparison. Somewhere in this is another alternative which is getting sidetracked.
What is also important is the absence of certain means — if certain means were deliberately not employed despite being there. They were available, but they were used differently. If it is colour, for example, and if we take this notion of flatness — Indian pictorial space was not flat but had depth of a different kind. If this is made 115 possible by means other than those of naturalism, using colour as an element, for instance, then we should ask — how does colour become a narrative mode? Where the space and colour work in conjunction, as in Bhagwat painting, and we see a relation between an image and another through colour, or between two sets of sequences, then this eventually results in building up a narrative — which would not be based on theatric emotion in the western sense.
What Fm trying to hint at is that it was a conscious system, it was not a primitive system. In Giotto it was at best a phase, whereas here it is a continuing premise. Our tools are unfortunately from Europe.
GK: I agree with you that here we have a different system, and you are asbolutely right in pointing to colour as signifying this different system, as a clue.
What I don't agree with you about is when you say that the means available to the Renaissance painter were available to the Indian painter which he consciously rejected. It is not true to say that the Indian or Chinese painter had at his command the entire philosophic tradition that was developed over hundreds of years in Europe before and during the Renaissance. Just as the alternate modes of visual structuring, for example, developed in the Indian or far eastern traditions, were not cognizant in the west. I would like to maintain a discreteness, as I am sure Gulam would, between alternative traditions.
This is not the main theme of our present discussion but I am not sorry it has ended here. We may start with large concepts like the national imagination and allegorical form, like myth, modernism, and the avant-garde. But for many of us here the nitty gritty of things, the elements with which forms are put together, and the minute differences in material and structure make enormous sense in that it changes the meaning of an art work and of the entire signifying system of which art is a constitutive part.
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