Post Realist truth and the Art World – A New Genre of Devajyoti Ray

In between the two world wars, Europe was a war zone for passionate believers of a variety of political ideologies. It also brought into existence a set of thinkers who propagated the view that everything is in the mind and our realities are what we think and dream about. This idea taken to an extreme began a distinct art genre called Surrealism, which produced a series of highly influential artists like Salvador Dali, Max Ernst and Andre Breton.

Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and Fang Lijun – three of the exponents of post-realist art
Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and Fang Lijun – three of the exponents of post-realist art

But Surrealism had very few takers in the third world. Instead, new genre developed in these parts of the world. It was called Magic realism – first developed as a literary genre in Latin America in the early decades of 20th century and then taken up by many visual artists like Frida Kahlo, Paul Cadmus and Marcela Donoso. Compared to Surrealism, Magic realism gives primacy to the hope of magic in an otherwise mundane and difficult world.

Devajyoti Ray with one of his paintings in Pseudorealistic genre
Devajyoti Ray with one of his paintings in Pseudorealistic genre

At the break of 21st century, a new style developed in China, called Cynical Realism which tries to give vent to the need of the artist to express in a society under the dictates of high censorship. Only about three decades old, Cynical Realism has already started acquiring international recognition with artists like Fang Lijun and Yue Minjun creating a new kind of art never seen before.

But beyond ideologies of any kind, today, we live in a post-truth world. Purities of ideologies are giving way to an era of free expression through social media, accessible to almost everyone. Propaganda is thus no longer the monopoly of a small elite. Today almost anybody can tell a story and create an illusion of reality. This is the essence of a new art genre now becoming popular coming out of India. It is called Pseudorealism.

Started by Devajyoti Ray only two decades ago, it is slowly gaining popularity as Ray’s easy to understand works in vibrant colours telling stories of an emerging young India finds resonance among the new generation of art lovers.

Ray’s Pseudorealistic works can be categorized in three distinct story lines. First is the new woman – who smokes, bold in her attire, and often highly opinionated. Second is the world of spirituality, which still holds sway in our lives as new age gurus see a rise in their followings amongst Indian diasporas, across the globe. The third is the desire among the new generation of Indians to rediscover their history and roots, which often takes a comical dimension when taken to an extreme.

Mixed with humour in conception and use of chiaroscuro, Ray’s paintings tell stories which we can all understand and relate to. Each frame is a delight to watch, holding us in the hidden intrigue, left to viewer’s own understanding, much like the doings of our new ever excited society.


13 Comments Add yours

  1. alpanadeo says:

    wow, understanding the painter’s thoughts behind his masterpiece is sometimes hard to understand. But the way you have explained Devajyoti Ray’s work, thy seem to be relatable to its audience.


  2. says:

    To be honest, I didn’t have much idea about these genres of painting. The use of offbeat colours makes Ray’s pseudorealism something out of the world. I love the simplicity yet unique creativity.


  3. Sandy N Vyjay says:

    This is a very interesting read. I like the way you have traced the growth of various art styles, from surrealism to pseudo realism. A ferry fascinating peep into the esoteric world of modern art.


  4. Sindhu Vinod Narayan says:

    Rays pseudorealism looks very interesting. The three categories definitely seem to ones that wil pique lot of interest and eyes too. Thank you for sharing this


  5. Gurjeet chhabra says:

    I am not much into Painting genre. But love the way you explain and review about Devajyoti Ray art.


  6. Neha Jain says:

    Thank you for sharing this with me it’s quite interesting, I am definitely sharing this with my cousin who is a painter


  7. Varsh says:

    While we merely look at the end product it is interesting to know what goes behind creating a piece of art. Loved the vibrant paintings and this post too.


  8. Gunjan Upadhyay says:

    I prefer enjoying the beautiful artworks by various known and less known names and this art world by Devajyoti Ray looks interesting, can so feel the beautiful vibes with them.


  9. rakshanagaraj says:

    Art is perspective and I love the way each one of us can interpret. And also knowing the thoughts that the artist has can be very interesting. Thanks for writing this post and explaining the art.


  10. freemindtree says:

    The pseudorealism genre of art started by Devajyoti Ray seems very interesting take on society and the way an artist sees the world around him.


  11. Imagemakeover says:

    Every painter had their own way of looking at things and it is difficult for a layman to understand what their painting depicts. Very well explained.


  12. Neha says:

    I dont follow much about what is happening in the art scene.. the genre’s the thoughts was all new to me, but this was an interesting read. I liked Ray’s paintings that you have shared here.


  13. Ruchie says:

    Looking beyond painting and understanding them is also an art and I love the thoughts which every painter puts in. Thanks for sharing this.


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