Human life has evolved through millions of years and experiences and a lot of elemental factors contribute to the way we think today.
It is hard to believe but every irregularity in our society, every orthodox belief, every traditional way that we have rejected now, every act of barbarism, every instance of kindness, and almost every experience we had (be it good or not) has paved a holistic way for us to become the humans we are now.
In this context, art has been a constant impetus for us to learn, do mistakes, improve, and come out stronger. Today we have learned that seeing exquisite artwork can transform the entire physiology of our brain.
Suppose you are a fan of paintings of our times, now when you look at an Indian contemporary art and you like it, something miraculous happens in your brain and in your body. Art does stimulate the pleasure centres of our mind and speeds up the blood flow up to 10% in the medial orbitofrontal cortex.
Surprisingly, when our pleasure centres in the brain are excited to a certain threshold, we can experience an upheaved state of consciousness, prosperity, and emotional maturity.
So, how does it happen?
The history of consciousness and art
Humans have adapted a lot of stuff that we today take as myth or simply rubbish. A lot of previous experiences like archaic has been weeded off from our modern history because it doesn’t make much sense.
The earliest known humans come from the magical structure of consciousness, which was indicated by a holistic sense of space and time that exist in every juncture of life. The identification sense of this stage focused on an individualistic and rare characteristic.
In this stage, the consciousness of man was limited to the life of realms and magical spirits.
Post this, a mythic structure of consciousness arises that was inspired by the agricultural revolution. This chapter of consciousness tells us that the entire point of focus was on defining the cause of existence, the true meaning of life and death, the inception of our world and the end of everything.
This life cycle was dominated by the existence and portrayal of Gods and Goddess rather than on the magic and spiritual realm.
A lot of religious paintings that we witness today are a sheer example of this structure of consciousness. It is quite fascinating to see how these structures of consciousness were unknowingly creating the road for us to become rational and more intellectual.
The depiction of Gods and Goddesses in the paintings, and the reflection of religious epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata, were all a part of this mythic consciousness, a lot of which is still quite influential in our society.
Even in the parts and parcel of Indian contemporary art, we can witness the impact of this mythic consciousness.
After this, as we approach closer to the modern world, a mental consciousness hit the human civilisation that can be clearly seen in the frescos and the ancient cave and wall paintings in Indian, Chinese, and Greek history.
The example of the mental structure of consciousness in the art can be clearly witnessed in the impeccable works of Ajanta and Ellora (India).
Renaissance and industrial revolution gave a totally distinctive perspective to humans. Even the artists in this era saw a major transitional shift, which gave birth to movements such as inception of landscapes, portraits, plein air, impressionism, cubism, modernism and at last the contemporary form that is shaping our consciousness presently.
What happens when you observe art?
Ever heard of the term “mirror neurons”?
When you witness an impeccable piece of painting, let’s say an Indian contemporary art, your brain fires the neurons that are the same neurons that are shot in the brain of an artist during the creation of the artwork.
These neurons are hence called the “mirror neurons”. This means that the same piece of art stimulates the brain of an artist that attracted you towards that particular piece of painting.
This is the exact reason that sometimes while observing an impressionist painting or an abstract artwork, you may feel you are dreaming.
It is this astonishing competency of art to blend with our creativity and imagination to take us into a totally new world that makes it simply magical.
If I say that “this is it”, I would be definitely lying because there are still numerous aspects that represent the unbreakable bond between art and consciousness.
For instance, consciousness has completely transformed the artist’s perception of viewing the world. Previously, artists used to look at this world with only a few standpoints, but as our consciousness evolved, multiple perceptions about a single subject or object emerge.
Next time, when you are looking at an abstract painting or Indian contemporary art, remember, your consciousness is getting shaped and influenced by the paintings and vice versa. Thanks!
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