Where Indian art meets global creativity (With Image)January 26th, 2012 - 12:52 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS) Boundaries crumbled when India met Iran, Germany, Britain, US and Africa under one roof at the India Art Fair which opened to the public here Thursday, promising cutting edge creativity as well as classicism.
Bigger and more elegant than its three preceding editions, the five-day fair is hosting 91 exhibitors from 20 countries and displaying over 1,000 art works over a space of 12,000 sq m of fashionable tents designed by Sumant Jaikishan at the NSIC Ground in Okhla.
The theme is young, contemporary and cutting edge that mirrors the latest movements in arts across the globe. Sculptures, installations, mixed media art and innovative art — the dominant features at the fair — are competing for space with conventional paintings and print art.
However, a subtle classicism underlies the explosion of new-age creativity with dedicated sections featuring icons like Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Andre Masson, Henry Moore, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, M.F. Husain and Akbar Padamsee.
The increased foreign participation is high-end and diverse.
Leading international galleries are exhibiting top contemporary artists while Indian galleries have brought the best of the country’s young art. Style and statements are the cornerstone of the fair.
A live installation by artist Vivan Sundaram - “Gagawaka: Making Strange” - a collaboration between Britain-based Walsh Gallery and the Chemould Prescott Road Gallery in Mumbai - drew curious crowds.
The installation of four live models attired in Sundaram’s ensembles made of women’s brassieres, panties, sanitary napkins, plastic hospital sheets and truck tyres made a statement about recycled art and environment. They will move around the space during the fair.
“The energy, quality and gathering is much better than last year. We are seeing new segment of collectors and more and more top level works have gone to Indian buyers… galleries are already selling…Indian buyers are amazing,” Neha Kirpal, founding director of the festival, told IANS at a press preview Wednesday.
She said galleries from Spain and Britain like the Lisson Gallery found buyers on the first day Wednesday.
An insider divulged that a “sculpted skull by Damien Hirst was purchased by an Indian collector” while leading Kolkata-based art auctioneer Vikram Bachhawat made enquiries about another.
“I want to buy a Damien Hirst but I am trying to figure out the modalities. The space and the international collection are great,” Bachhawat told IANS.
“One aim of changing the name of the India Art Summit to India Art Fair was to realign people’s understanding that it was an international art fair - a display, business, interface and education platform,” Kirpal said.
“India is a growing market with very distinguished segments of collectors. The market is beginning to get more open and more Western galleries are showing in non-Western situations,” Greg Hilty, the curatorial director of Britain-based Lisson Gallery, told IANS.
“The country has good curatorial practices and collectors. The response has been very good. The fair is an intersection between international and Indian cultures,” he added.
The prestigious Lisson Gallery, which has represented Anish Kapoor in India, has brought works by one of the world’s top performance artists Marina Abramovic of Yugoslavian origin to the art fair.
“We have so far represented 40 artists in the last three years,” Hilty said.
Maithili Parekh, the director of Sotheby’s in India, said: “A lot of Indian art was sitting alongside international art creating a dialogue between the two global platforms.”
“It also serves as a commercial platform like all fairs because every gallery booth space has been put under one roof,” Parekh said.
Sotheby’s partners the fair with “expertise, education and network”.
The Dubai-based 1×1 Art has brought five leading Iranian artists to India for the first time - along with big Indian names like Chittrovanu Mazumdar and Rameshswar Broota.
“I decided to give the Iranian artists a try in India because I wanted to take my portfolio of artists to the next level. I have been working with the Iranian artists in Dubai,” Malani Gulrajani, the owner of the Dubai-based gallery, told IANS.
The Iranian culture is very different and their lives are fragile, Gulrajani said. “They live in an insecure world and their work reflects their insecurities,” the gallerist said.
This is the best place to see works of other artists, Mazumdar said.
Artist Anjolie Ela Menon observed: “The Indian sections are much better by and large…our installations have more imagination.”
The India Art Fair, which drew 170,000 people in the last three editions is expected to take the tally to over 200,000 this year, the organisers said. The fair will close Jan 29.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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