Internet changing contours of Indian artJuly 27th, 2008 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS
By Madhusree Chatterjee
Gurgaon, July 27 (IANS) There was a time when art was considered an expression of human creativity and emotions. But art in India is fast becoming a craft powered by resource from the internet and technical skills culled from artists who post their works online. The bottom line, says curator Ameeshi Tapuriah, is aesthetic or visual appeal and affordable prices. Her four-day show of contemporary art, “Odyssey”, featuring 26 artists, opened at the arts and culture hub Epicentre in Gurgaon Friday.
“What do you expect the people of a satellite township like Gurgaon to buy? Definitely not signature brands by masters. They cannot afford it. Our works are all priced between Rs.20,000 to Rs.80,000 barring a clutch of senior artists, whose works run into hundreds of thousands. It is this Rs.20,000-Rs.80,000 price segment, which is steering the mass market for art,” Tapuriah said.
Contemporary art is largely meant to cater to the new segments of buyers in the country, mostly the upcoming double-income middle class, which usually purchases art works to decorate their drawing rooms, Tapuriah said.
“Investment is an add-on,” the young curator told IANS.
Consequently, the show organised by Art Panache, a platform to promote contemporary Indian art, brought to the fore the growing impact of the internet and cyber-aided tools in executing works of art designed to feed a buoyant mass market of contemporary art where shooting demand has made prices competitive.
An estimate by the creator The Fine Art Fund, Phillip Hoffman, says the size of the Indian market has grown from $2 million to approximately $400 million in the last seven years.
Artist Dilip Chandolia, whose two-part acrylic-on-canvas series, “Couple”, portraying semi-figurative stylised man and woman locked in an embrace, stood out because of its delicate lines and interplay of reality and abstractions, researched his theme on the internet before beginning work.
The 33-year-old painter from the Sharda Ukil School of Art in Delhi wanted to know “the kind of traumas and emotional strains that a couple went through to keep the relationship intact.
“I looked up the net. Saw several photographs and hand-painted snapshots of couples posted online, read about love and relationship, browsed through different techniques and then started work.
“I also went through the current trends in the art market, the demand and background histories of famous couples and relationship management,” Chandolia said.
Explaining his work, he said the shaded background in scribbled patterns on his canvas symbolised the emotional strain, while the interconnected spirals bordering twined figures denoted the threads that kept the relationship working.
“The arrival of the net has opened up new ideas, new energies, new areas to explore and above all, scope to study your subjects before painting them,” Chandolia said.
Jaipur-based Gopal Namjoshi, a senior contemporary artist, whose work “Bambooscape”, a canvas in mixed media, attracted attention for its freshness and tastefully muted colour scheme, felt as art was a reflection of changing society, it had to pick up from the internet.
“After all, the internet has been instrumental in bringing about social change. Artists need knowledge to develop an idea and internet is the only source, which is easily accessible. Art has become more research-based,” Namjoshi.
The artist, who recently executed a series on cosmic art and another on industrial art dealing with pneumatics or fluid power, had to rely on the internet for resource and background information to firm up his compositions.
“As for influence, even the Indian modern masters have been influenced by the genres from the West. The younger lot can always pick up styles. There is so much available on the internet today,” Namjoshi said. He said India was still not prepared for experimental art.
According to senior artist Ashok Gulati, the internet is keeping the mass trade in art alive.
“It is helping artists copy ideas, themes and colours. Artists are more like labourers today working for a mega industry. The internet is taking away creativity from art,” said Gulati, who was present at the show.
The internet is even changing the commerce of art as the medium makes a giant leap from offline set-ups - galleries - to virtual e-shops on the internet where buyers can interact directly with the artists and ask all they need to know without the risk of sounding na
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