103 exhibitors from 23 nations at India Art Fair

The fifth edition of the India Art Fair Feb 1-3 featuring 103 exhibitors from 23 countries opened here with a VIP preview Thursday in a new-age art space designed by eminent space designer Sumant Jayakrishnan across 20,000 square metres.

The fair laid out in three adjacent gallery space has separate sections devoted to multi-media art and a speakers’ forum which will host more than 40 speakers over three days at the venue, the NSIC Ground in Okhla.

More than 40 foreign exhibitors have brought a wide and diverse selection of works by Asian, Indian and western artists including original art by Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso.

Almost every emerging contemporary artists from India and south Asia are being represented at the fair with new works.

Addressing the media Thursday, founding director of the fair Neha Kirpal said: “The focus of the art fair given the present business environment particularly in art sector, is on developing a new audiences and initiating new energy in the Indian art market.”

“While it gives those with limited knowledge about art an opportunity to see a diverse spectrum of art, for existing collectors, it offers a brand new line-up of exciting works,” Kirpal said.

A high-powered line-up of partners including Yes Bank, Absolut, Christie’s, Le Meridian, Panerai, Conde Nast India and CNBC are supporting the fair.

Launched in 2008, it has grown to become one of the premier art event in the region. More than 260,000 people have visited the fair in the last four editions.

The panel of speakers at the event is a global mix of experts that include the likes of curator Adriano Pedrosa from Brazil, Akiko Miki from Tokyo, Amin Jaffer from Christie’s, independent curator Sandhini Poddar, Liu Yingjiu from Shanghai, curator Geeta Kapur and Hameed Haroon from the Dawn group in Pakistan.

Art as a business brand has been brought by the Absolut selection – sponsored by the Absolut Vodka known for its art promotionals by 800 artists including Andy Warhol and Francesco Clemente.

The Absolut corner is exhibiting works by brand artists Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and writer Vikram Seth.

This year, the focus of the 10 interactive art projects are cities, societies and transformation.

Some of the projects include “Roots” by Achia Anzi, “Replacement” by Mahbubur Rahman, “M ” by Amitabh Kumar, “The Fall, From the Series of Metropolis and Cityplanners” by Sachin Sebastian and “Collapse and Repair” by Krishna Murari.

“All the Indian galleries in the west, including some of the foreign ones, have a common goal – to get the maximum number of Indian and south Asian artists promoted outside the continent,” Andrew Shea, director of the Aicon, New York, told IANS.

“The lack of liquidity has made people wary about contemporary art. People are buying carefully in the west… The focus is on the masters. We are trying to build the market for Indian contemporary art and capture the museums in US,” Shea said.

The London-based Grosvenor Gallery is concentrating on contemporary artists like Olivia Fraser and Dhruv Mistry, who find easy buyers.

“The market seems to be recovering. I have already sold three India art works by Olivia Fraser during the VIP preview. People like the fact that she does her work manually,” Conor Macklin, the director of Grosvenor Gallery, told IANS.

Delhi-based gallerist, curator and publisher of Take on Art magazine Bhavna Kakar said: “The fair was different this time in terms of production value”. “The organsiers have made an effort to invite more people who matter.”