In 1972, Luis Bunuel had made a film called The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie, which had immediately acquired the status of cult film even though the film neither had a conventional plot, nor even coherence of a narrative. In the absence of any category for such a film, which was first of its kind, critics referred to it  as a Surrealist film. Surrealism was the dominant ism of the time and people like Salvador Dali were also making films which they called Surrealist.

Luis Bunuel's film only showcased the world of the bourgeoisie which differed from the real.

Nonetheless, the film of Bunuel was hardly surrealist. To start with it had a clear message, a satire aimed at the bourgeoisie, who lived in an unreal world, oblivious of what was happening outside their secured homes.

4 decades later all that world has changed. Bourgeoisie is the most sought after class in the post-soviet era. But something else is also changing now. The world view which was once exclusive to the Bourgeoisie is today being injected into every man’s mind through the media largely controlled by the corporate big houses. Independent think which used to be the hallmark of the working class even a few decades ago is being replaced now by mass hysteria spanked by the media-corporate-nexus.

Pseudorealism is based on the premise that mass opinion in 21st century is shaped by what the Bourgeoisie want it to be.

Also there had been unprecedented technological explosion in the past 4 decades, so much so that it is today possible to create an image entirely in studio and made to be appear like reality. This is Pseudorealism. The movie world no longer depends on locales and actors to create moving images that are as believable as reality.

This technological explosion, and the domination of the corporate houses over mass media has created an unique 21st century situation where any idea however fantastic can be projected as reality and the masses may be made to believe it.


A recent exhibition of Devajyoti Ray’s 26 paintings all seem to tell this. The exhibition titled “the Discreet Charm of Pseudorealism” is one of the best to have come from Ray, perhaps the most original, articulate and powerful artist from India today.

Pseudorealism as distinct genre of art, though has an Indian origin, is fast becoming the most acceptable art-style of 21st century for its on-the-face expressive elements, simple narrative and uniquely beautiful.


Art Deco and Designing

March 20, 2010

Perhaps no other art movement had such widespread influence as the Art Deco movement that started in Europe sometime in the 1920s and reached United States in the 1930s. Art Deco influenced designing in every field from furnitures to architecture and even car designing and consumer products and of course fashion.

Art Deco Architecture

However Art Deco had never been a single movement but was an amalgamation of many styles like Cubism, Art Noveau and Futurism and in the 1950s, it further gave birth to many other styles and art genres like the Memphis and the Pop Art. The art styles of 21st century like Superflat, Pseudorealism and even some of the post modernist styles show marked influences of Art Deco.

In fashion the influence of Art Deco was felt mostly in the 1940s. However the genre influenced mostly the jewellery and accessories designing. Its influence on the designing of couture had been limited.

Art Deco Head dress

Art Deco influnce in Jewellery designing

 Art Deco entered the Indian Fashion scene quite late and its influence had never been very marked. Indian Jewellery designing had always taken into consideration cost, utility and style and this is exactly what Art Deco always tried to achieve. Hence the influnce of this movement on Indian designing could never be properly delineated.

Dadaism and fashion

November 28, 2009

Dadaism had started in Europe between the two world wars as an art movement that was aimed at discarding everything that was standard in culture. Dadaists had no common point and no specifiv motive, their only aim was rejecting what was prevailing. Without any commonality of motive among the artists, writers and theatre personalities who followed this ism, the movement tended towards anarchyism.

It is today difficult to identify a Dadaist work. Works like Marcel Duchamp’s fountain which is often considered to be the begining of Readymades movement, was also called Dadaist. And similarly the eccentric works of Hanna Hoch was also considered Dadist. Dadism also generated many future genres of art.

It was virtually impossible for the fashion world to remain aloof of Dadism. And Dadaism was perhaps the easiest and the most liberating art movement that the fashionistas could imbibe. In fashion Dadism entered initially through odd fitting dresses for women, then through extra-large sizes of trousers for men. With their sudden rise in popularity, these were soon accompanied with offbeat headgears.

Though Dadism was an art movement, its photography counterpart came via the fashion world. In fashion photography, Dadist ideads helped  photographers to try odd set designs, illusive lighting arrangements and often using combination of lenses to achieve queer images.


Bridget Riley, British artist who came in the 1960s to limelight with her Op Art is today perhaps the most influential persona in fashion world. Op Art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and picture plane, between understanding and seeing. When the viewer looks at them, the impression is given of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibration, patterns, or alternatively, of swelling or waRPING.

The influence of Optical Art is found everywhere from the textile prints to dias arrangements and in photography.

fabric op art

Op Art influenced textile designing

Op Art was initiated by Bridget Riley but then it had many important followers like Jesús Rafael Soto, Jullian Stanczak and Richard Anuszkiewicz. In india, the influence of Op Art came late. Visual artist Devajyoti Ray known mainly for a new variety of Pseudorealism had made series on Bridget Riley taking most of the elements of Op Art.


Devajyoti Ray’s work titled “Smoking Bridget”.

The fashion world has also taken to Op art in the realm of glamour photography. The use of colours and patters in order to create moving 3D impact out of flat surface has been used to the advantage of photography quite often



Klimt and the Fashion World

October 30, 2009

Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918) was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His works were called symbolist as his entire paintings used to covered with myriad symbols.

But what made Klimt’s paintings a major attraction was their abstract air of beauty. His works were highly decorative, dense in the surface and beautiful and strange.


This combination of strangeness and beauty was what made Klimt a toast of the fashion scene in Europe. The fashion world took to Klimt’s conceptions as like none else.

The fall collection of Gucci for the first six years had been prdominantly guided by Klimtism.

The influence of Klimt is found not just in designing, but also in set designing, and photography.


Klimtism makes it possible to put in myriad things together; natural obects like flowers, animals, inanimate substances and amidst all a human figure and yet create a balance. This essential features of Klimtism had infact given a new grammer to fashion photography.

Fashion And Art

October 25, 2009

Fashion and Art had always been closely linked. Art Deco, Futurism, Art Noveau and other isms had been popularized not only by the artists but also by the fashion connoisseurs.
But Fashion always followed art and the opposite had been rare and generally quite subtle. This is because the art world worships originality and the fashion world salutes the popular.
Thus artists have always remained in hot pursuit of something new, something that the worl has never seen before. Fashion Moghuls had however watched the movements sitting on the edge. When a certain movement became popular, Fashion designers then adopted these styles into their lines.
Yet Artists have not remained entirely aloof of fashion. Artists have been influenced by their times and hence influence of contemporary fashion, however subtle had been there in the artists’ lives.
In this blog we are going to discuss the relation between fashion and style and art genres.