Irene López Arnaiz: A Transcultural and Transdisciplinary Modernism. The Meeting of Indian Dances and the Parisian Avant-garde

This paper poses a critical study of Indian performing traditions as one of the numerous and eclectic elements that fostered the forging of western modernism and a more extensive global modernism in a time when, as a result of imperial politics, Europe discovered different cultures and artistic traditions. This investigation shows the essential role these processes of interchange played in the Parisian artistic avant-garde between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. It seems necessary to restore the role of Indian dancers played during their travels to France from 1838 on. In these travels, they revealed the Western audience their performing traditions, which would later become a fertile source of inspiration for both artists and dancers based in the West. Moreover, it is seemingly indispensable to highlight the contribution of “Hindu female dancers” to this same modernism throughout a whole set of complex mechanisms they developed in relation to the image forged around their predecessors. This work thus enhances their invaluable role in the artistic panorama, not only as pioneers of early modern dance, but also as active drivers of the configuration of modernism in other artistic fields in a time when painters and sculptors found in the art of dance the materialization of their own creative concerns.

 

Irene López Arnaiz holds a PhD in Art History from the Complutense University of Madrid. She has a BA in Art History and an MA in Museum and Heritage Studies. She is a member of the Trama Research Project and she currently collaborates with the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in a project of coordination of guides and organization of contents related to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, within the framework of the Corporate Events Programme. Between 2014 and 2018, she was a Predoctoral Fellow at Complutense University of Madrid. She has completed five research stays in Paris and London at Institut national d’historire de l’art (INHA), Centre d’études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (CEIAS, EHEE-CNRS) and Victoria and Albert Museum, financed by several scholarships.


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