Each one has his reasons: for one art is a flight; for another, a means of conquering. But one can flee into a hermitage, into madness, into death. One can conquer by arms. Why does it have to be writing, why does one have to manage his escapes and conquests by writing? Because, behind the various aims of authors, there is a deeper and more immediate choice which is common to all of us. We shall try to elucidate this choice, and we shall see whether it is not in the name of this very choice of writing that the engagement of writers must be required.
Each of our perceptions is accompanied by the consciousness that human reality is a ‘revealer’, that is, it is through human reality that ‘there is’ being, or, to put it differently, that man is the means by which things are manifested. It is our presence in the world which multiplies relations. It is we who set up a relationship between this tree and that bit of sky. Thanks to us, that star which has been dead for millennia, that quarter moon, and that dark river are disclosed in the unity of a landscape. It is the speed of our auto and our airplane which organizes the great masses of the earth. With each of our acts, the world reveals to us a new face. But, if we know that we are directors of being, we also know that we are not its producers. If we turn away from this landscape, it will sink back into its dark permanence. At least, it will sink back; there is no one mad enough to think that it is going to be annihilated. It is we who shall be annihilated, and the earth will remain in its lethargy until another consciousness comes along to awaken it. Thus, to our inner certainty of being ‘revealers’ is added that of being inessential in relation to the thing revealed.
One of the chief motives of artistic creation is certainly the need of feeling that we are essential in relationship to the world. If I fix on canvas or in writing a certain aspect of the fields or the sea or a look on someone’s face which I have disclosed, I am conscious of having produced them by condensing relationships, by introducing order where there was none, by imposing the unity of mind on the diversity of things. That is, I think myself essential in relation to my creation. But this time it is the created object which escapes me; I can not reveal and produce at the same time. The creation becomes inessential in relation to the creative activity. First of all, even if it appears to others as definitive, the created object always seems to us in a state of suspension; we can always change this line, that shade, that word. Thus, it never forces itself. A novice painter asked his teacher, ‘When should I consider my painting finished?’ And the teacher answered, ‘When you can look at it in amazement and say to yourself “I’m the one who did that!”’
Which amounts to saying ‘never’. For it is virtually considering one’s work with someone else’s eyes and revealing what has been created. But it is self-evident that we are proportionally less conscious of the thing produced and more conscious of our productive activity. When it is a matter of poetry or carpentry, we work according to traditional norms, with tools whose usage is codified; it is Heidegger’s famous ‘they’ who are working with our hands. In this case, the result can seem to us sufficiently strange to preserve its objectivity in our eyes. But if we ourselves produce the rules of production, the measures, the criteria, and if our creative drive comes from the very depths of our heart, then we never find anything but ourselves in our work. It is we who have invented the laws by which we judge it. It is our history, our love, our gaiety that we recognize in it. Even if we should regard it without touching it any further, we never receive from it that gaiety or love. We put them into it. The results which we have obtained on canvas or paper never seem to us objective. We are too familiar with the processes of which they are the effects. These processes remain a subjective discovery; they are ourselves, our inspiration, our ruse, and when we seek to perceive our work, we create it again, we repeat mentally the operations which produced it; each of its aspects appears as a result. Thus, in the perception, the object is given as the essential thing and the subject as the inessential. The latter seeks essentiality in the creation and obtains it, but then it is the object which becomes the inessential.
The dialectic is nowhere more apparent than in the art of writing, for the literary object is a peculiar top which exists only in movement. To make it come into view a concrete act called reading is necessary, and it lasts only as long as this act can last. Beyond that, there are only black marks on paper. Now, the writer can not read what he writes, whereas the shoemaker can put on the shoes he has just made if they are to his size, and the architect can live in the house he has built. In reading, one foresees; one waits. He foresees the end of the sentence, the following sentence, the next page. He waits for them to confirm or disappoint his foresights. The reading is composed of a host of hypotheses, followed by awakenings, of hopes and deceptions. Readers are always ahead of the sentence they are reading in a merely probable future which partly collapses and partly comes together in proportion as they progress, which withdraws from one page to the next and forms the moving horizon of the literary object. Without waiting, without a future, without ignorance, there is no objectivity.
1. The author holds that:
1. There is an objective reality and a subjective reality.
2. Nature is the sum total of disparate elements.
3. It is human action that reveals the various facets of nature.
4. Apparently disconnected elements in nature are unified in a fundamental sense.
2. It is the author’s contention that:
1. Artistic creations are results of human consciousness.
2. The very act of artistic creation leads to the escape of the created object.
3. Man can produce and reveal at the same time.
4. An act of creation forces itself on our consciousness leaving us full of amazement.
3. The passage makes a distinction between perception and creation in terms of :
1. Objectivity and subjectivity.
2. Revelation and action.
3. Objective reality and perceived reality.
4. Essentiality and non-essentiality of objects and subjects.
4. The art of writing manifests the dialectic of perception and creation because
1. reading reveals the writing till the act of reading lasts.
2. writing to be meaningful needs the concrete act of reading.
3. this art is anticipated and progresses on a series of hypotheses.
4. this literary object has a moving horizon brought about by the very act of creation.
5. A writer, as an artist,
1. reveals the essentiality of revelation.
2. makes us feel essential vis-à-vis nature.
3. creates reality.
4. reveals nature in its permanence.
Have you ever come across a painting, by Picasso, Mondrian, Miro, or any other modern abstract painter of this century, and found yourself engulfed in a brightly coloured canvas which your senses cannot interpret? Many people would tend to denounce abstractionism as senseless trash. These people are disoriented by Miro’s bright, fanciful creatures and two-dimensional canvases. They click their tongues and shake their heads at Mondrian’s grid works, declaring the poor guy played too many scrabble games. They silently shake their heads in sympathy for Picasso, whose gruesome, distorted figures must be a reflection of his mental health. Then, standing in front of a work by Charlie Russell, the famous Western artist, they’ll declare it a work of God. People feel more comfortable with something they can relate to and understand immediately without too much thought. This is the case with the work of Charlie Russell. Being able to recognize the elements in his paintings—trees, horses and cowboys—gives people a safety line to their world of “reality”. There are some who would disagree when I say abstract art requires more creativity and artistic talent to produce a good piece than does representational art, but there are many weaknesses in their arguments.
People who look down on abstract art have several major arguments to support their beliefs. They feel that artists turn abstract because they are not capable of the technical drafting skills that appear in a Russell; therefore, such artists create an art form that anyone is capable of and that is less time consuming, and then parade it as artistic progress. Secondly, they feel that the purpose of art is to create something of beauty in an orderly, logical composition. Russell’s compositions are balanced and rational; everything sits calmly on the canvas, leaving the viewer satisfied that he has seen all there is to see. The modern abstractionists, on the other hand, seem to compose their pieces irrationally. For example, upon seeing Picasso’s
friend of mine asked me, “What’s the point?” Finally, many people feel that art
should portray the ideal and real. The exactness of detail in Charlie Russell’s
work is an example of this. He has been called a great historian because his
pieces depict the life style, dress, and events of the times. His subject matter
is derived from his own experiences on the trail, and reproduced to the
smallest detail. Guernica
I agree in part with many of these arguments, and at one time even endorsed them. But now, I believe differently. Firstly I object to the argument that abstract artists are not capable of drafting. Many abstract artists, such as Picasso, are excellent draftsmen. As his work matured, Picasso became more abstract in order to increase the expressive quality of his work.
was meant as a protest against the bombing of that city by the Germans. To
express the terror and suffering of the victims more vividly, he distorted the
figures and presented them in a black and white journalistic manner. If he had
used representational images and colour, much of the emotional content would
have been lost and the piece would not have caused the demand for justice that
it did. Secondly, I do not think that a piece must be logical and aesthetically
pleasing to be art. The message it conveys to its viewers is more important. It
should reflect the ideals and issues of its time and be true to itself, not
just a flowery, glossy surface. For example, through his work, Mondrian
was trying to present a system of simplicity, logic, and rational order. As a
result, his pieces did end up looking like a scrabble board. Miro created
powerful, surrealistic images from his dreams and subconscious. These artists
were trying to evoke a response from society through an expressionistic manner.
Finally, abstract artists and representational artists maintain different ideas
about ‘reality’. To the representational artist, reality is what he sees with
his eyes. This is the reality he reproduces on canvas. To the abstract artist,
reality is what he feels about what his eyes see. This is the reality he interprets
on canvas. This can be illustrated by Mondrian’s Trees series. You can actually see the progression from the early
recognizable, though abstracted, Trees,
to his final solution, the grid system. Guernica
A cycle of abstract and representational art began with the first scratchings of prehistoric man. From the abstractions of ancient
to representational, classical Egypt ,
returning to abstractionism in early Christian art and so on up to the present
day, the cycle has been going on. But this day and age may witness its death
through the camera. With film, there is no need to produce finely detailed,
historical records manually; the camera does this for us more efficiently.
Maybe, representational art would cease to exist. With abstractionism as the
victor of the first battle, may be a different kind of cycle will be touched
off. Possibly, some time in the distant future, thousands of years from now,
art itself will be physically non-existent. Some artists today believe that
once they have planned and constructed a piece in their mind, there is no sense
in finishing it with their hands; it has already been done and can never be
6. The author argues that many people look down upon abstract art because they feel that:
1. Modern abstract art does not portray what is ideal and real.
2. Abstract artists are unskilled in matters of technical drafting.
3. Abstractionists compose irrationally.
4. All of the above.
7. The author believes that people feel comfortable with representational art because:
1. they are not engulfed in brightly coloured canvases.
2. they do not have to click their tongues and shake their heads in sympathy.
3. they understand the art without putting too much strain on their minds.
4. paintings like
do not have a point. Guernica
8. In the author’s opinion, Picasso’s
created a strong demand for justice since Guernica
1. it was a protest against the German bombing of
2. Picasso managed to express the emotional content well with his abstract depiction.
3. it depicts the terror and suffering of the victims in a distorted manner.
4. it was a mature work of Picasso’s, painted when the artist’s drafting skills were excellent.
9. The author acknowledges that Mondrian’s pieces may have ended up looking like a scrabble board because
1. many people declared the poor guy played too many scrabble games.
2. Mondrian believed in the ‘grid-works’ approach to abstractionist painting.
3. Mondrian was trying to convey the message of simplicity and rational order.
4. Mondrian learned from his Trees series to evolve a grid system.
10. The main difference between the abstract artist and the representational artist in matters of the ‘ideal’ and the ‘real’, according to the author, is:
1. How each chooses to deal with ‘reality’ on his or her canvas.
2. The superiority of interpretation of reality over reproduction of reality.
3. The different values attached by each to being a historian.
4. The varying levels of drafting skills and logical thinking abilities.
The teaching and transmission of North Indian classical music is and long has been, achieved by largely oral means. The raga and its structure, the often breathtaking intricacies of tala or rhythm, and the incarnation of raga and tala as bandish or composition, are passed thus, between guru and shishya by word of mouth and direct demonstration, with no printed sheet of notated music, as it were, acting as a go-between. Saussure’s conception of language as a communication between addresser and addressee is given, in this model, a further instance, and a new, exotic complexity and glamour.
These days, especially with the middle class having entered the domain of classical music and playing not a small part in ensuring the continuation of this ancient tradition, the tape recorder serves as a handy technological slave and preserves, from oblivion, the vanishing, elusive moment of oral transmission. Hoary gurus, too, have seen the advantage of this device, and increasingly use it as an aid to instructing their pupils; in place of the shawls and other traditional objects that used to pass from shishya to guru in the past, as a token of the regard of the former for the latter, it is not unusual, today, to see cassettes changing hands.
Part of my education in North Indian classical music was conducted via this rather ugly but beneficial rectangle of plastic, which I carried with me to
when I was an undergraduate. One cassette had stored in it various talas played upon the tabla, at various tempos, by my music
teacher’s brother-in-law, Hazarilalji, who was a teacher of Kathak dance, as well as a singer and a tabla player. This was a work of great
patience and prescience, a one-and-a-half hour performance without any
immediate point or purpose, but intended for some delayed future moment when
I’d practise the talas solitarily. England
This repeated playing out of the rhythmic cycles on the tabla was inflected by the noises—an irate auto driver blowing a horn; the sound of overbearing pigeons that were such a nuisance on the banister; even the cry of a kulfi seller in summer—entering from the balcony of the third floor flat we occupied in those days, in a lane in a Bombay suburb, before we left the city for good. These sounds, in turn, would invade, hesitantly, the ebb and flow of silence inside the artificially heated room, in a borough of
West London, in which I
used to live as an undergraduate. There, in the trapped dust, silence and heat,
the theka of the tabla, qualified by the imminent but intermittent presence of the suburb, would come
to life again. A few years later, the tabla
and, in the background, the pigeons and the itinerant kulfi seller, would inhabit a small graduate room in Bombay . Oxford
The tape recorder, though, remains an extension of the oral transmission of music, rather than a replacement of it. And the oral transmission of North Indian classical music remains, almost uniquely, a testament to the fact that the human brain can absorb, remember and reproduce structures of great complexity and sophistication without the help of the hieroglyph or written mark or a system of notation. I remember my surprise on discovering that Hazarilalji—who had mastered Kathak dance, tala and North Indian classical music, and who used to narrate to me, occasionally, compositions meant for dance that were grand and intricate in their verbal prosody, architecture and rhythmic complexity—was near illiterate and had barely learnt to write his name in large and clumsy letters.
Of course, attempts have been made, through the 20th century, to formally codify and even notate this music, and institutions set up and degrees created, specifically to educate students in this “scientific” and codified manner. Paradoxically, however, this style of teaching has produced no noteworthy student or performer; the most creative musicians still emerge from the guru-shishya relationship, their understanding of music developed by oral communication.
The fact that North Indian classical music emanates from, and has evolved through, oral culture, means that this music has a significantly different aesthetic, and that this aesthetic has a different politics, from that of Western classical music. A piece of music in the Western tradition, at least in its most characteristic and popular conception, originates in its composer, and the connection between the two, between composer and the piece of music, is relatively unambiguous precisely because the composer writes down, in notation, his composition, as a poet might write down and publish his poem. However far the printed sheet of notated music might travel thus from the composer, it still remains his property; and the notion of property remains at the heart of the Western conception of “genius”, which derives from the Latin gignere or ‘to beget’.
The genius in Western classical music is, then, the originator, begetter and owner of his work—the printed, notated sheet testifying to his authority over his product and his power, not only of expression or imagination, but of origination. The conductor is a custodian and guardian of this property. Is it an accident that Mandelstam, in his notebooks, compares—celebratorily—the conductor’s baton to a policeman’s, saying all the music of the orchestra lies mute within it, waiting for its first movement to release it into the auditorium?
The raga—transmitted through oral means—is, in a sense, no one’s property; it is not easy to pin down its source, or to know exactly where its provenance or origin lies. Unlike the Western classical tradition, where the composer begets his piece, notates it and stamps it with his ownership and remains, in effect, larger than, or the father of, his work, in the North Indian classical tradition, the raga—unconfined to a single incarnation, composer or performer—remains necessarily greater than the artiste who invokes it.
This leads to a very different politics of interpretation and valuation, to an aesthetic that privileges the evanescent moment of performance and invocation over the controlling authority of genius and the permanent record. It is a tradition, thus, that would appear to value the performer, as medium, more highly than the composer who presumes to originate what, effectively, cannot be originated in a single person—because the raga is the inheritance of a culture.
11. The author’s contention that the notion of property lies at the heart of the Western conception of genius is best indicated by which one of the following?
1. The creative output of a genius is invariably written down and recorded.
2. The link between the creator and his output is unambiguous.
3. The word “genius” is derived from a Latin word which means “to beget.”
4. The music composer notates his music and thus becomes the ‘father’ of a particular piece of music.
12. Saussure’s conception of language as a communication between addresser and addressee, according to the author, is exemplified by the:
1. teaching of North Indian classical music by word of mouth and direct demonstration.
2. use of the recorded cassette as a transmission medium between the music teacher and the trainee.
3. written down notation sheets of musical compositions.
4. conductor’s baton and the orchestra.
13. The author holds that the “rather ugly but beneficial rectangle of plastic” has proved to be a ‘handy technological slave’ in:
1. storing the talas played upon the tabla, at various tempos.
2. ensuring the continuance of an ancient tradition.
3. transporting North Indian classical music across geographical borders.
4. capturing the transient moment of oral transmission.
14. The oral transmission of North Indian classical music is an almost unique testament of the:
1. efficacy of the guru-shishya tradition.
2. learning impact of direct demonstration.
3. brain’s ability to reproduce complex structures without the help of written marks.
4. the ability of an illiterate person to narrate grand and intricate musical compositions.
15. According to the passage, in the North Indian classical tradition, the raga remains greater than the artiste who invokes it. This implies an aesthetic which:
1. emphasises performance and invocation over the authority of genius and permanent record.
2. makes the music no one’s property.
3. values the composer more highly than the performer.
4. supports oral transmission of traditional music.
16. From the author’s explanation of the notion that in the Western tradition, music originates in its composer, which one of the following cannot be inferred?
1. It is easy to transfer a piece of Western classical music to a distant place.
2. The conductor in the Western tradition, as a custodian, can modify the music, since it ‘lies mute’ in his baton.
3. The authority of the Western classical music composer over his music product is unambiguous.
4. The power of the Western classical music composer extends to the expression of his music.
17. According to the author, the inadequacy of teaching North Indian classical music through a codified, notation based system is best illustrated by:
1. a loss of the structural beauty of the ragas.
2. a fusion of two opposing approaches creating mundane music.
3. the conversion of free-flowing ragas into stilted set pieces.
4. its failure to produce any noteworthy student or performer.
18. Which of the following statements best conveys the overall idea of the passage?
1. North Indian and Western classical music are structurally different.
2. Western music is the intellectual property of the genius while the North Indian raga is the inheritance of a culture.
3. Creation as well as performance are important in the North Indian classical tradition.
4. North Indian classical music is orally transmitted while Western classical music depends on written down notations.
One of the criteria by which we judge the vitality of a style of painting is its ability to renew itself—its responsiveness to the changing nature and quality of experience, the degree of conceptual and formal innovation that it exhibits. By this criterion, it would appear that the practice of abstractionism has failed to engage creatively with the radical change in human experience in recent decades. It has, seemingly, been unwilling to re-invent itself in relation to the systems of artistic expression and viewer’s expectations that have developed under the impact of the mass media.
The judgement that abstractionism has slipped into ‘inertia gear’ is gaining endorsement, not only among discerning viewers and practitioners of other art forms, but also among abstract painters themselves. Like their companions elsewhere in the world, abstractionists in
asking themselves an overwhelming question today: Does abstractionism have a
future? The major crisis that abstractionists face is that of revitalizing
their picture surface; few have improvised any solutions beyond the ones that
were exhausted by the 1970s. Like all revolutions, whether in politics or in
art, abstractionism must now confront its moment of truth: having begun life as
a new and radical pictorial approach to experience, it has become an entrenched
orthodoxy itself. Indeed, when viewed against a historical situation in which a
variety of subversive, interactive and richly hybrid forms are available to the
art practitioner, abstractionism assumes the remote and defiant air of an aristocracy
that has outlived its age; trammeled by formulaic conventions yet buttressed by
a rhetoric of sacred mystery, it seems condemned to being the last citadel of
the self-regarding ‘fine art’ tradition, the last hurrah of painting for
painting’s sake. India
The situation is further complicated in
circumstances in which an indigenous abstractionism came into prominence here
during the 1960s. From the beginning it was propelled by the dialectic between
two motives, one revolutionary and the other conservative—it was inaugurated as
an act of emancipation from the dogmas of the nascent Indian nation state, when
art was officially viewed as an indulgence at worst, and at best, as an
instrument for the celebration of the republic’s hopes and aspirations. Having
rejected these dogmas, the pioneering abstractionists also went on to reject
the various figurative styles associated with the Santiniketan circle and
others. In such a situation, abstractionism was a revolutionary move. It led
art towards the exploration of the subconscious mind, the spiritual quest and
the possible expansion of consciousness. Indian painting entered into a phase
of self-inquiry, a meditative inner space where cosmic symbols and
non-representational images ruled. Often, the transition from figurative idioms
to abstractionist ones took place within the same artist. India
At the same time, Indian abstractionists have rarely committed themselves wholeheartedly to a non-representational idiom. They have been preoccupied with the fundamentally metaphysical project of aspiring to the mystical-holy without altogether renouncing the symbolic. This has been sustained by a hereditary reluctance to give up the murti, the inviolable iconic form, which explains why abstractionism is marked by the conservative tendency to operate with images from the sacred repertoire of the past. Abstractionism thus entered
as a double-edged device in a complex cultural transaction. Ideologically, it
served as an internationalist legitimization of the emerging revolutionary
local trends. However, on entry, it was conscripted to serve local artistic
preoccupations—a survey of indigenous abstractionism will show that its most
obvious points of affinity with European and American abstract art were with
the more mystically oriented of the major sources of abstractionist philosophy
and practice, for instance the Kandinsky-Klee school. There have been no takers
for Malevich’s Suprematism, which militantly rejected both the artistic forms
of the past and the world of appearances, privileging the new-minted geometric
symbol as an autonomous sign of the desire for infinity. India
Against this backdrop, we can identify three major abstractionist idioms in Indian art. The first develops from a love of the earth, and assumes the form of a celebration of the self’s dissolution in the cosmic panorama; the landscape is no longer a realistic transcription of the scene, but is transformed into a visionary occasion for contemplating the cycles of decay and regeneration. The second idiom phrases its departures from symbolic and archetypal devices as invitations to heightened planes of awareness. Abstractionism begins with the establishment or dissolution of the motif, which can be drawn from diverse sources, including the hieroglyphic tablet, the Sufi meditation dance or the Tantric diagram. The third idiom is based on the lyric play of forms guided by gesture or allied with formal improvisations like the assemblage. Here, sometimes, the line dividing abstract image from patterned design or quasi-random expressive marking may blur. The flux of forms can also be regimented through the poetics of pure colour arrangements, vector-diagrammatic spaces and gestural design.
In this genealogy, some pure lines of descent follow their logic to the inevitable point of extinction, others engage in cross-fertilization, and yet others undergo mutation to maintain their energy. However, this genealogical survey demonstrates the wave at its crests, those points where the metaphysical and the painterly have been fused in images of abiding potency, ideas sensuously ordained rather than fabricated programmatically to a concept. It is equally possible to enumerate the troughs where the two principles do not come together, thus arriving at a very different account. Uncharitable as it may sound, the history of Indian abstractionism records a series of attempts to avoid the risks of abstraction by resorting to an overt and near-generic symbolism, which many Indian abstractionists embrace when they find themselves bereft of the imaginative energy to negotiate the union of metaphysics and painterliness.
Such symbolism falls into a dual trap: it succumbs to the pompous vacuity of pure metaphysics when the burden of intention is passed off as justification; or then it is desiccated by the arid formalism of pure painterliness, with delight in the measure of chance or pattern guiding the execution of a painting. The ensuing conflict of purpose stalls the progress of abstractionism in an impasse. The remarkable Indian abstractionists are precisely those who have overcome this and addressed themselves to the basic elements of their art with a decisive sense of independence from prior models. In their recent work, we see the logic of Indian abstractionism pushed almost to the furthest it can be taken. Beyond such artists stands a lost generation of abstractionists whose work invokes a wistful, delicate beauty but stops there.
Abstractionism is not a universal language; it is an art that points up the loss of a shared language of signs in society. And yet, it affirms the possibility of its recovery through the effort of awareness. While its rhetoric has always emphasized a call for new forms of attention, abstractionist practice has tended to fall into a complacent pride in its own incomprehensibility; a complacency fatal in an ethos where vibrant new idioms compete for the viewers’ attention. Indian abstractionists ought to really return to basics, to reformulate and replenish their understanding of the nature of the relationship between the painted image and the world around it. But will they abandon their favourite conceptual habits and formal conventions, if this becomes necessary?
19. Which one of the following is not stated by the author as a reason for abstractionism losing its vitality?
1. Abstractionism has failed to reorient itself in the context of changing human experience.
2. Abstractionism has not considered the developments in artistic expression that have taken place in recent times.
3. Abstractionism has not followed the path taken by all revolutions, whether in politics or art.
4. The impact of mass media on viewers’ expectations has not been assessed, and responded to, by abstractionism.
20. Which one of the following, according to the author, is the role that abstractionism plays in a society?
1. It provides an idiom that can be understood by most members in a society.
2. It highlights the absence of a shared language of meaningful symbols which can be recreated through greater awareness.
3. It highlights the contradictory artistic trends of revolution and conservatism that any society needs to move forward.
4. It helps abstractionists invoke the wistful, delicate beauty that may exist in society.
21. According to the author, which one of the following characterizes the crisis faced by abstractionism?
1. Abstractionists appear to be unable to transcend the solutions tried out earlier.
2. Abstractionism has allowed itself to be confined by set forms and practices.
3. Abstractionists have been unable to use the multiplicity of forms now becoming available to an artist.
4. All of the above.
22. According to the author, the introduction of abstractionism was revolutionary because it:
1. celebrated the hopes and aspirations of a newly independent nation.
2. provided a new direction to Indian art towards self-inquiry and non-representational images.
3. managed to obtain internationalist support for the abstractionist agenda.
4. was an emancipation from the dogmas of the nascent nation state.
23. Which one of the following is not part of the author’s characterization of the conservative trend in Indian abstractionism?
1. An exploration of the subconscious mind.
2. A lack of full commitment to non-representational symbols.
3. An adherence to the symbolic while aspiring to the mystical.
4. Usage of the images of gods or similar symbols.
24. Given the author’s delineation of the three abstractionist idioms in Indian art, the third idiom can be best distinguished from the other two idioms through its:
1. depiction of nature’s cyclical renewal.
2. use of non-representational images.
3. emphasis on arrangement of forms.
4. limited reliance on original models.
25. According to the author, the attraction of the Kandinsky-Klee school for Indian abstractionists can be explained by which one of the following?
1. The conservative tendency to aspire to the mystical without a complete renunciation of the symbolic.
2. The discomfort of Indian abstractionists with Malevich’s Suprematism.
3. The easy identification of obvious points of affinity with European and American abstract art, of which the Kandinsky- Klee school is an example.
4. The double-edged nature of abstractionism which enabled identification with mystically-oriented schools.
26. Which one of the following, according to the author, is the most important reason for the stalling of abstractionism’s progress in an impasse?
1. Some artists have followed their abstractionist logic to the point of extinction.
2. Some artists have allowed chance or pattern to dominate the execution of their paintings.
3. Many artists have avoided the trap of a near-generic and an open symbolism.
4. Many artists have found it difficult to fuse the twin principles of the metaphysical and the painterly.
The endless struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art. The Greek artists were unaware of it. They were spiritual materialists, never denying the importance of the body and ever seeing in the body a spiritual significance. Mysticism on the whole was alien to the Greeks, thinkers as they were. Thought and mysticism never go well together and there is little symbolism in Greek art. Athena was not a symbol of wisdom but an embodiment of it and her statues were beautiful grave women, whose seriousness might mark them as wise, but who were marked in no other way. The Apollo Belvedere is not a symbol of the sun, nor the Versailles Artemis of the moon. There could be nothing less akin to the ways of symbolism than their beautiful, normal humanity. Nor did decoration really interest the Greeks. In all their art they were preoccupied with what they wanted to express, not with ways of expressing it, and lovely expression, merely as lovely expression, did not appeal to them at all.
Greek art is intellectual art, the art of men who were clear and lucid thinkers, and it is therefore plain art. Artists than whom the world has never seen greater, men endowed with the spirit’s best gift, found their natural method of expression in the simplicity and clarity which are the endowment of the unclouded reason. “Nothing in excess,” the Greek axiom of art, is the dictum of men who would brush aside all obscuring, entangling superfluity, and see clearly, plainly, unadorned, what they wished to express. Structure belongs in an especial degree to the province of the mind in art, and architectonics were pre-eminently a mark of the Greek. The power that made a unified whole of the trilogy of a Greek tragedy, that envisioned the sure, precise, decisive scheme of the Greek statue, found its most conspicuous expression in Greek architecture. The Greek temple is the creation, par excellence, of mind and spirit in equilibrium.
A Hindoo temple is a conglomeration of adornment. The lines of the building are completely hidden by the decorations. Sculptured figures and ornaments crowd its surface, stand out from it in thick masses, break it up into a bewildering series of irregular tiers. It is not a unity but a collection, rich, confused. It looks like something not planned but built this way and that as the ornament required. The conviction underlying it can be perceived: each bit of the exquisitely wrought detail had a mystical meaning and the temple’s exterior was important only as a means for the artist to inscribe thereon the symbols of the truth. It is decoration, not architecture.
Again, the gigantic temples of
massive immensities of granite which look as if only the power that moves in
the earthquake were mighty enough to bring them into existence, are something
other than the creation of geometry balanced by beauty. The science and spirit
are there, but what is there most of all is force, unhuman force, calm but
tremendous, overwhelming. It reduces to nothingness all that belongs to man. He
is annihilated. The Egyptian architects were possessed by the consciousness of
the awful, irresistible domination of the ways of nature; they had no thought
to give to the insignificant atom that was man. Egypt
Greek architecture of the great age is the expression of men who were, first of all, intellectual artists, kept firmly within the visible world by their mind, but, only second to that, lovers of the human world. The Greek temple is the perfect expression of the pure intellect illumined by the spirit. No other great buildings anywhere approach its simplicity. In the Parthenon straight columns rise to plain capitals; a pediment is sculptured in bold relief; there is nothing more. And yet—here is the Greek miracle— this absolute simplicity of structure is alone in majesty of beauty among all the temples and cathedrals and palaces of the world. Majestic but human, truly Greek. No superhuman force as in
; no strange supernatural
shapes as in Egypt ;
the Parthenon is the home of humanity at ease, calm, ordered, sure of itself
and the world. The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their
joyous strength. They set their temples on the summit of a hill overlooking the
wide sea, outlined against the circle of the sky. They would build what was
more beautiful than hill and sea and sky and greater than all these. It matters
not at all if the temple is large or small; one never thinks of the size. It
matters not how much it is in ruins. A few white columns dominate the lofty
height at Sunion as securely as the great mass of the Parthenon dominates all
the sweep of sea and land around India .
To the Greek architect man was the master of the world. His mind could
understand its laws; his spirit could discover its beauty. Athens
27. From the passage, which of the following combinations can be inferred to be correct?
1. Hindoo temple—power of nature. 2. Parthenon—simplicity.
3. Egyptian temple—mysticism. 4. Greek temple—symbolism.
28. Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of Greek architecture, according to the passage?
1. A lack of excess. 2. Simplicity of form.
2. Expression of intellect. 4. Mystic spirituality.
29. According to the passage, what conception of man can be inferred from Egyptian architecture?
1. Man is the centre of creation.
2. Egyptian temples save man from unhuman forces.
celebrate man’s victory over nature. Temples
4. Man is inconsequential before the tremendous force of nature.
30. According to the passage, which of the following best explains why there is little symbolism in Greek art?
1. The Greeks focused on thought rather than mysticism.
2. The struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art.
3. Greek artists were spiritual materialists.
4. Greek statues were embodiments rather than symbols of qualities.
31. “The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength.” Which of the following best captures the ‘challenge’ that is being referred to?
1. To build a monument matching the background colours of the sky and the sea.
2. To build a monument bigger than nature’s creations.
3. To build monuments that were more appealing to the mind and spirit than nature’s creations.
4. To build a small but architecturally perfect monument.
The painter is now free to paint anything he chooses. There are scarcely any forbidden subjects, and today everybody is prepared to admit that a painting of some fruit can be as important as a painting of a hero dying. The Impressionists did as much as anybody to win this previously unheard-of freedom for the artist. Yet, by the next generation, painters began to abandon the subject altogether, and began to paint pictures. Today the majority of pictures painted are abstract.
Is there a connection between these two developments? Has art gone abstract because the artist is embarrassed by his freedom? Is it that, because he is free to paint anything, he doesn’t know what to paint? Apologists for abstract art often talk of it as the art of maximum freedom. But could this be the freedom of the desert island? It would take too long to answer these questions properly. I believe there is a connection. Many things have encouraged the development of abstract art. Among them has been the artists’ wish to avoid the difficulties of finding subjects when all subjects are equally possible.
I raise the matter now because I want to draw attention to the fact that the painter’s choice of a subject is a far more complicated question than it would at first seem. A subject does not start with what is put in front of the easel or with something which the painter happens to remember. A subject starts with the painter deciding he would like to paint such-and-such because for some reason or other he finds it meaningful. A subject begins when the artist selects something for special mention. (What makes it special or meaningful may seem to the artist to be purely visual— its colours or its form.) When the subject has been selected, the function of the painting itself is to communicate and justify the significance of that selection.
It is often said today that subject matter is unimportant. But this is only a reaction against the excessively literary and moralistic interpretation of subject matter in the nineteenth century. In truth the subject is literally the beginning and the end of a painting. The painting begins with a selection (I will paint this and not everything else in the world); it is finished when that selection is justified (now you can see all that I saw and felt in this and how it is more than merely itself).
Thus, for a painting to succeed it is essential that the painter and his public agree about what is significant. The subject may have a personal meaning for the painter or individual spectator; but there must also be the possibility of their agreement on its general meaning. It is at this point that the culture of the society and period in question precedes the artist and his art. Renaissance art would have meant nothing to the Aztecs—and vice versa. If, to some extent, a few intellectuals can appreciate them both today it is because their culture is an historical one: its inspiration is history and therefore it can include within itself, in principle if not in every particular, all known developments to date.
When a culture is secure and certain of its values, it presents its artists with subjects. The general agreement about what is significant is so well established that the significance of a particular subject accrues and becomes traditional. This is true, for instance, of reeds and water in
of the nude body in Renaissance, of the animal in China Africa.
Furthermore, in such cultures the artist is unlikely to be a free agent: he
will be employed for the sake of
particular subjects, and the problem, as we have just described it, will
not occur to him.
When a culture is in a state of disintegration or transition, the freedom of the artist increases—but the question of subject matter becomes problematic for him: he, himself, has to choose for society. This was at the basis of all the increasing crises in European art during the nineteenth century. It is too often forgotten how many of the art scandals of that time were provoked by the choice of subject (Gericault, Courbet, Daumier, Degas, Lautree, Van Gogh, etc.).
By the end of the nineteenth century there were, roughly speaking, two ways in which the painter could meet this challenge of deciding what to paint and so choosing for society. Either he identified himself with the people and so allowed their lives to dictate his subjects to him: or he had to find his subjects within himself as painter. By people I mean everybody except the bourgeoisie. Many painters did of course work for the bourgeoisie according to their copy-book of approved subjects, but all of them, filling the Salon and the
year after year, are now
forgotten, buried under the hypocrisy of those they served so sincerely. Royal Academy
32. When a culture is insecure, the painter chooses his subject on the basis of:
1. The prevalent style in the society of his time.
2. Its meaningfulness to the painter.
3. What is put in front of the easel.
4. Past experience and memory of the painter.
33. In the sentence, “I believe there is a connection” (second paragraph), what two developments is the author referring to?
1. Painters using a dying hero and using a fruit as a subject of painting.
2. Growing success of painters and an increase in abstract forms.
3. Artists gaining freedom to choose subjects and abandoning subjects altogether.
4. Rise of Impressionists and an increase in abstract forms.
34. Which of the following is NOT necessarily among the attributes needed for a painter to succeed:
1. The painter and his public agree on what is significant.
2. The painting is able to communicate and justify the significance of its subject selection.
3. The subject has a personal meaning for the painter.
4. The painting of subjects is inspired by historical developments.
35. In the context of the passage, which of the following statements would NOT be true?
1. Painters decided subjects based on what they remembered from their own lives.
2. Painters of reeds and water in
faced no serious problem of
choosing a subject. China
3. The choice of subject was a source of scandals in nineteenth century European art.
4. Agreement on the general meaning of a painting is influenced by culture and historical context.
36. Which of the following views is taken by the author?
1. The more insecure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.
2. The more secure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.
3. The more secure a culture, more difficult the choice of subject.
4. The more insecure a culture, the less significant the choice of the subject.
While complex in the extreme, Derrida’s work has proven to be a particularly influential approach to the analysis of the ways in which language structures our understanding of ourselves and the world we inhabit, an approach he termed deconstruction. In its simplest formulation, deconstruction can be taken to refer to a methodological strategy which seeks to uncover layers of hidden meaning in a text that have been denied or suppressed. The term ‘text’, in this respect, does not refer simply to a written form of communication, however. Rather, texts are something we all produce and reproduce constantly in our everyday social relations, be they spoken, written or embedded in the construction of material artifacts. At the heart of Derrida’s deconstructive approach is his critique of what he perceives to be the totalitarian impulse of the Enlightenment pursuit to bring all that exists in the world under the domain of a representative language, a pursuit he refers to as logocentrism. Logocentrism is the search for a rational language that is able to know and represent the world and all its aspects perfectly and accurately. Its totalitarian dimension, for Derrida at least, lies primarily in its tendency to marginalize or dismiss all that does not neatly comply with its particular linguistic representations, a tendency that, throughout history, has all too frequently been manifested in the form of authoritarian institutions. Thus logocentrism has, in its search for the truth of absolute representation, subsumed difference and oppressed that which it designates as its alien ‘other’. For Derrida, western civilization has been built upon such a systematic assault on alien cultures and ways of life, typically in the name of reason and progress.
In response to logocentrism, deconstruction posits the idea that the mechanism by which this process of marginalization and the ordering of truth occurs is through establishing systems of binary opposition. Oppositional linguistic dualisms, such as rational/irrational, culture/nature and good/bad are not, however, construed as equal partners as they are in, say, the semiological structuralism of Saussure. Rather, they exist, for Derrida, in a series of hierarchical relationships with the first term normally occupying a superior position. Derrida defines the relationship between such oppositional terms using the neologism differance. This refers to the realization that in any statement, oppositional terms differ from each other (for instance, the difference between rationality and irrationality is constructed through oppositional usage), and at the same time, a hierarchical relationship is maintained by the deference of one term to the other (in the positing of rationality over irrationality, for instance). It is this latter point which is perhaps the key to understanding Derrida’s approach to deconstruction.
For the fact that at any given time one term must defer to its oppositional ‘other’, means that the two terms are constantly in a state of interdependence. The presence of one is dependent upon the absence or ‘absent-presence’ of the ‘other’, such as in the case of good and evil, whereby to understand the nature of one, we must constantly relate it to the absent term in order to grasp its meaning. That is, to do good, we must understand that our act is not evil for without that comparison the term becomes meaningless. Put simply, deconstruction represents an attempt to demonstrate the absent-presence of this oppositional ‘other’, to show that what we say or write is in itself not expressive simply of what is present, but also of what is absent. Thus, deconstruction seeks to reveal the interdependence of apparently dichotomous terms and their meanings relative to their textual context; that is, within the linguistic power relations which structure dichotomous terms hierarchically. In Derrida’s own words, a deconstructive reading “must always aim at a certain relationship, unperceived by the writer, between what he commands and what he does not command of the patterns of a language that he uses. . . .[It] attempts to make the not-seen accessible to sight.”
Meaning, then, is never fixed or stable, whatever the intention of the author of a text. For Derrida, language is a system of relations that are dynamic, in that all meanings we ascribe to the world are dependent not only on what we believe to be present but also on what is absent. Thus, any act of interpretation must refer not only to what the author of a text intends, but also to what is absent from his or her intention. This insight leads, once again, to Derrida’s further rejection of the idea of the definitive authority of the intentional agent or subject. The subject is decentred; it is conceived as the outcome of relations of difference. As author of its own biography, the subject thus becomes the ideological fiction of modernity and its logocentric philosophy, one that depends upon the formation of hierarchical dualisms, which repress and deny the presence of the absent ‘other’. No meaning can, therefore, ever be definitive, but is merely an outcome of a particular interpretation.
37. According to the passage, Derrida believes that the system of binary opposition
1. represents a prioritization or hierarchy.
2. reconciles contradictions and dualities.
3. weakens the process of marginalization and ordering of truth.
4. deconstructs reality.
38. Derrida rejects the idea of ‘definitive authority of the subject’ because
1. interpretation of the text may not make the unseen visible.
2. the meaning of the text is based on binary opposites.
3. the implicit power relationship is often ignored.
4. any act of interpretation must refer to what the author intends.
39. According to the passage, Derrida believes that:
1. Reality can be constructed only through the use of rational analysis.
2. Language limits our construction of reality.
3. A universal language will facilitate a common understanding of reality.
4. We need to uncover the hidden meaning in a system of relations expressed by language.
40. To Derrida, ‘logocentrism’ does not imply:
1. A totalitarian impulse.
2. A domain of representative language.
3. Interdependence of the meanings of dichotomous terms.
4. A strategy that seeks to suppress hidden meanings in a text.
1. (3) 2. (2) 3. (4) 4. (1) 5. (2)
6. (4) 7. (3) 8. (2) 9. (3) 10. (1)
11. (3) 12. (1) 13. (4) 14. (3) 15. (1)
16. (2) 17. (4) 18. (2) 19. (3) 20. (2)
21. (4) 22. (2) 23. (1) 24. (3) 25. (1)
26. (4) 27. (2) 28. (4) 29. (4) 30. (1)
31. (3) 32. (2) 33. (3) 34. (4) 35. (1)
36. (1) 37. (1) 38. (1) 39. (4) 40. (3)_______________________________________________________________________________________________________