Recession upshot: Quality scores in Indian art (Weekly Art Column, Rainbow Palette, With Images)May 1st, 2009 - 1:22 pm ICT by IANS
By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) The recession is having a positive affect on Indian art. While it is purging the market of bad art and correcting prices, the meltdown is also forcing artists to concentrate on quality rather than quantity since expectations are low in terms of buyers’ response.
An exhibition at the Epicentre in Gurgaon, which closed April 30, proved that in times of economic downturn artists are giving their best shot.
“Creative Convergence”, presented by Art Nouveau, featured multi-dimensional art by a clutch of veteran and new artists.
“You can call the show the journey of a river, collecting different forms of imaginative genres along the way,” curator and gallery owner Ameeshi Tapuriah told IANS.
Digital art vied for attention with traditional art. One of the artworks that caught attention was a three-part series, “The Green God” - a stylised composition of Radha and Krishna in metallic shades of green, blue and black by West Bengal-based Dhananjoy Mukherjee.
An innovative, untitled canvas by advertising executive Lalit Maity portrayed dancing girls and twisted shapes, inspired by music and Indian performance arts. It was rich with shades of a rainbow that had a three-dimensional effect.
Mayura Yadav’s digitally composed “Mood Indigo” was mysterious with a colour of midnight blue and black, while the “Baba-Bibi” collection - a caricature of a portly Indian couple - by Shyamal Mukherjee was colourful and witty.
Spotlight on young artists
Works by young Indian artists Jitish Kallat and Anirban Mitra will be the highlight of global auction house Christie’s day and evening sale of Asian contemporary art May 24 and 25 in Hong Kong.
An overriding theme distinctive to young Indian contemporary artists, says Christie’s, is the urge to address national and philosophical concerns like social reality, political inequality, traditional gender roles, empowerment and relationships.
Kallat’s “Universal Recipient”, estimated at $89,700-115,400, depicts the city of Mumbai and its crowded vistas with “pop-infused” figures, said a press statement issued by the auction house.
Kallat captures the picture of urban cacophony, a theme that the artist had experimented with in his early works. His work also comments on the struggle for existence.
Mitra fuses elements from folk, tribal art, religion, mass media and popular culture. His work “Hide Tide, Low Tide” is a dreamlike landscape which is almost absurd. The abstract frame touches upon social issues, especially consumerism in India.
Global interest in Indian art has established the category as a mainstay of the contemporary scene in New York, London and Hong Kong.
Since modern and contemporary sales of Indian art was launched in New York in 2000, worldwide sale of Indian art by Christie’s has grown from $656,000 to over $45 million in 2008.
Global colours in Indian art
Indian art has gone global in the past decades. Opening out to the world brings new influences, opportunities, audiences, forms of circulation and means of production.
“Where in the World”, a two-month exhibition that closes May 2 at the Devi Art Foundation - a private art archive in Gurgaon, addresses the impact of globalisation on Indian art.
The exhibition curated by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Arts and Aesthetics consists mostly of installations, sculptures and digital art.
The artworks have been sourced from the Lekha Poddar and Anupam Poddar collection. The show flaunts a mix big and small names like Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta, Shilpa Gupta, Sonia Khurana, Sheba Chhachi, Mithu Sen, T.V. Santosh and Sudarshan Shetty.
“Love”, an evocative installation by Shetty, shows a Braille typewriter incessantly typing out the word love. The repetitive production of the wordmimics the mindless reproduction of the word in our daily lives, say the young curators.
“Love begins with a basic human emotion and, at the other end of the spectrum, its a remarkable phenomenon,” Shetty says. The use of Braille also conveys that “love is blind”.
To mark the end of the exhibition, the Devi Art Foundation will organise an open session with the artists May 2.