chapter  3
28 Pages

“Indianness and the urgency of transmission …”

Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo 2009
ByCathrine Bublatzky

With the second venue, the exhibition at the Astrup Fearnley Museum in the Norwegian capital of Oslo is introduced. This chapter is based on participant observation in the exhibition space and a longer conversation with museum director and main curator Gunnar Kvaran. The discussion critically engages with the exhibition as liminal zone within the museum walls in which the curatorial ideas of seeking a particular Indian originality in the art are developed and represented. This leads to the observation of the effective power of art and relational aesthetics as they enable the production of social relation in relation to an artwork and as they are analysed along with several artists and their works and some further observation on the exhibition. The following discussion goes beyond approaches of cultural essentialism and turns towards the self-perception of Indian contemporary artists as “citizens of the world”. Proceeding with the critique of the exhibition from the previous chapters, additional commentaries and critical positions on the notion of Indianness and its history as a national identity marker since the late 1990s are interwoven with the main issues raised in the conversation with the curator. The last section concludes with the “laboratory” effect as envisaged by the curators.