New Delhi’s Kumar Gallery presents an eclectic mix of works done by India’s renowned and upcoming artists. Its annual show is aptly titled ‘Celebration 2011’. Here is a look at some of the artists whose works feature in it:
B Prabha largely worked in oil. Her signature style was marked by the graceful elongated figures of pensive rural women on a canvas done in a single dominant color. Her paintings explored the emotional realm of Indian women, seeking inspiration from the mental strength exhibited by them under adversities in day-to-day life.
Master-abstractionist Sohan Qadri, averse to creating figurative visuals, prefers to employ signs that are reminiscent of tantric and ritual symbolism. It epitomizes dynamic and flowing energy (Shakti) His practice transforms the very nature of paper - no longer a mere two-dimensional surface, but a dazzling three-dimensional medium.
Considered one of the most talented contemporary artists, Paresh Maity is a wonderful watercolorist. He captures both the beauty of nature and complexities of the human form. The imagery turned more abstract over time. His works exude great evanescent beauty as captured by him during his sojourns all around India and the world.
Young artist Shampa Sircar Das constructs rather unfinished and mystical human forms. Her visual narrative is replete with motifs like scripts, signs and animals. It exhibits an element of surrealism. Lotus is the oft-recurring motif in her paintings. Her strong and vivid palette thrives on an extensive usage of primary colors in various tones. At times, her work done in monochromatic tones of silver and grey, turns introspective.
Amit Slathia’s work reflects his love of the scenic beauty of his home state Jammu as well his brilliancy in figure studies. The colors vividly resemble a pastoral setting, with soothing shades of dry sand. He makes his work animate with all its engaging elements. It’s not merely illustrative. The artist’s work exudes a serene mood in varied ways. Driven by the silence of nature, he is equally fascinated by light, and also by the shadows.
Monday, January 31, 2011
New Delhi’s Kumar Gallery presents an eclectic mix of works done by India’s renowned and upcoming artists. Its annual show is aptly titled ‘Celebration 2011’. Here is a look at some of the artists whose works feature in it:
‘Celebration 2011’ features works in a large format in a wide range of media done by rising stars and stalwarts, including MF Hussain, Sakti Burman, FN Souza, A. Ramachandran, Jatin Das, Satish Gujral, Ram Kumar, K.S. Kulkarni, B. Prabha, Krishen Khanna, Paresh Maity, Arpana Caur, Ashok Bhowmick, Seema Kohli, GR Santosh, A.P. Santhanaraj, Sohan Qadri, Laila Khan, Ramu Das, Amit Slathia, Nabanita Saha, and Shampa Sircar.
Each artist has a unique thematic and stylistic approach that forms the crux of each work on view. For example, Krishen Khanna portrays an engaging socio-political and historical landscape. His minute observation of the life and ordinary people around adds a human touch to his work, as evident in his Bandwallahs series.
Prof. KS Kulkarni’s, the founder member of the Delhi Shilpi Chakra and also the Triveni Kala Sangam, has portrayed the world of peasants, caught in the whirl of urbanized world, revealing their tensions and travails. Both an excellent superb draftsman and a master colorist, he achieved the desired effect through his soft, light brush strokes.
Renowned abstract artist Ram Kumar has created works that proceeded through an alternation of brooding reticence and joyous expressivity. They played out a polarity of emphasis in the context of ‘samsara’ (the sensual participation in the material world) and ‘nirvana’ (the ascetic blowing-out of worldly desires). The sensuousness of the beautiful landscapes done in oil or acrylic is another highlight of his oeuvre.
Sakti Burman's painterly realm evokes a feel of weathered frescos, depicting fascinating figures in once vivid, but now faded hues. They transport the viewer into a dreamy realm. Mythical creatures float on his canvas, depicting tales of courtly romances. They bring to life a magical world - of flutists, comely maidens, exotic flowers, birds and beasts – symbolizing a lost paradise.
The common thread that bind the participants of a new exhibit, entitled ‘A/P2 & Tangible 3’ in Mumbai, is that they are all working at the AQ@Priyasri Artist Studio Baroda, for the show.
Anjali Goel, Deepak Mahakul, Gajanan, Kanika Shah, Naini Arora, Rachana Badrakia, Rakesh Rana, Sumedh Kumar and Tarun Gajjar are among the participating artists.
Naini Arora, a student of Graphics explains that her art practice combines traditional printmaking and technological advancements. In choosing to combine graphic prints with digital work, she looks to ‘join the masses trying to meet their needs in a constantly changing world’.
She explains: “We live in a culture of print and understand that art has always advanced by not discarding tradition, but building upon it. I use the two mediums in conjunction to express the complexities lying beneath our existence in today’s times. The digital prints are images that I manipulate and tease into becoming canvases for my future expression.
She emphasizes on traditional print methods based on expressive and observational drawing. She uses print as a map to take her work forward, through the co-existence of tradition and experimentation.
Tarun Gajjar did his post-diploma from Department of Painting, (Faculty of Fine Arts) in M.S. University. He states: “While studying at the college, I used to frequently go to railway station for sketching. I do feel that railway station has a life of its own. I came across the various interesting things that I kept on portraying on my canvas.
"I have been working on this subject since a long time and I wish to explore many such subjects and forms and my imaginations. Now I am working on ‘speed’, how we live our life in metro cities. I am using train in a metaphorical way. People travel in a train every day. But their life has become so fast that they don’t have time for each other.
His ‘Remembrance’ is based on memories. Time never stops and incidents become memory. The work is about the good memories of his life, whereas ‘Momentum’ is about force, the kind of energy we see in speed. The work depicts force at a very abstract level.
(Information courtesy: Priyasri Gallery)
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Sumedh Kumar from Mumbai did his in BFA in Painting from Hyderabad University and MFA in Graphics from M.S. University. The artist negotiates the essence of impermanency moving out from the literal attitude of print making, amalgamating prints with various magazine cutouts. The works constantly change meanings and their perceptions in the viewer’s mind. His visual vocabulary is generated with an idea of can be & can’t be; hidden & unhidden, see & not hear, touched & but no sense and the invisible properties of the common objects.
The artist has depicted objects of daily usage, mostly recognizable to us, in an unfamiliar situation and a new light, to change our viewpoint and the way of looking at them, thus challenging our assumptions. For example, ‘kitchen’ here is created with utensils that are man-made rather to serve a specific purpose when they are put together.
He mentions: “I’ve tried to show the small link of stories happening with the utensils which are unheard and unseen like the story of glass and spoon or with the bowl and glass, frying pan and flat long spoon so on. I let the viewer use his or her own intuitions. There is a forcible act of fixing in the objects meant to represent the due changes in the modern society.
Elaborating on his work, another participating artist Deepak Mahakul mentions: “There is a rhythm in a nature. It’s a cycle that goes on and on. A continuing process goes just like the tide of sea. Day alternates with night and Winter alternates with summer. Nevertheless rhythm in the physical world is everywhere present in some or other.
"Same way seeds are also the hope for new plants and flowers. New dreams, new faith, new desires… That’s the ‘Rhythm of Life’. It never stops…
(Information courtesy: Priyasri Gallery)
Among the participating artists, Anjali Goel from Haryana accomplished her Bachelors in painting from Kurukshetra University and Masters in Graphics (printmaking) 2009. During this period, she explored many new and traditional techniques of printmaking, and is now working on mix media techniques.
Her semi-surreal works are generated from constantly unraveling drama of everyday life. It is comprised of a multitude of images from nature, birds and beasts, stars in the overarching sky, as well as dreams of distant lands beyond the water.
While juxtaposing her drawings and etching prints denotes the outer society and superficiality of human being, in a way they also comment the counterfeit and stark truth of today society.
Kanika Shah, who belongs to Baroda city, has done her Bachelors in Painting and Masters in Graphics (printmaking).
She also presents the different facets of day-to-day life, using the language of Figurative and Narrative manner. Her work - mostly huge wood cuts and small etching prints - carries recurring images of self and clouds. It depicts the artist’s various moods. She attains perfection with child like drawings.
Rachana’s work is based on materialistic life. She feels that in today's times, the value of human being is decreasing. People are merely running after materialistic life. She adds, ”We are more interested in valuable things in our homes & outside, rather than our private & public relationships with people around us. We forget somewhere the human values and the purpose of our life.”
In her work ‘Crowded Place’, she has tried to show society in the form of beehives with no space to breathe and move. Objects like mosquito net stand for a state of our society where the evil characters are increasing very fast because we provide them energy and chance to grow.
(Information courtesy: Priyasri Gallery)
Saturday, January 29, 2011
New Art Exchange lauds Raghu Rai in its exhibition note as one of the world's leading photographers. It adds: “Working in partnership with commercial gallery Aicon who have spaces in New York, Delhi and London; this is a major retrospective of his work, exploring India’s cultural and social backgrounds and history.
Mapping the artist’s life journey, the exhibition essay points out that Raghu Rai became a photographer in 1965, starting with The Statesman and India Today. He has worked on trailblazing picture essays on social, political and cultural themes. In the last two decades or so, Raghu Rai has specialized in extensive coverage of his home country, to produce over 18 books, including Tibet in Exile, India, Mother Teresa Raghu Rai’s Delhi, The Sikhs, Calcutta, Khajuraho and Taj Mahal.
Earlier serving as an official photographer for Magnum, his fascinating photo essays have duly appeared in many of the world’s top newspapers and magazines including Time, Life, Sunday Times, GEO, The New York Times, The Independent, the New Yorker and Newsweek. He was awarded the Padma Shree, one of India’s highest civilian awards, in 1971. He is one of the few photographers to have received the honor.
Besides winning many awards - nationally and internationally, he has exhibited his works in India and abroad – at the leading venues in London, Paris, Hamburg, Prague, Tokyo, Zurich, Sydney and New York. This special retrospective takes place from January 29, 2011 until April 30, 2011 at the New Art Exchange. It was formed as to steer the development of Nottingham’s first ever dedicated cultural facility for Black contemporary art stream in 2003.
The stupendous structure, which will tower over the Olympic Park, is expected to be one of the popular attractions in the city of London. Under the just released terms of the invitation to tender, companies will be asked to operate the arty attraction on a lease of around a decade. The Olympic Park Legacy Company is looking to appoint an operator by this June.
The 114m tall sculpture, an amazing piece of architecture towering the Olympic Park in London, is likely to cost £22.3m. Largely funded by ArcelorMittal, it’s going to be among the tallest and the most loved pieces of public art in the city once it’s complete. Even as organizers visualize the entire arena to become one of London's most famous landmarks thanks to Anish Kapoor designed structure, London Olympic tower has already sparked a feasibility debate. It has already sharply divided opinion regarding its upkeep.
The OPLC chief executive, Andrew Altman, believes the park could easily generate up annual revenue of £10m through ticket sales, private functions, retail, merchandise etc. A part of the profit will go back into its upkeep and staging events. Its supporters believe the park sure will become as iconic as the world-renowned Eiffel Tower. But critics claim it will spoil the vistas over the Park, as it towers over its neighboring structures.
Altman though thinks otherwise. He has been quoted as saying in the media: “It's a piece of engineering, which should become this great destination. If you glance across the City, you will have the London Eye and the BT Tower. Now you'll also have a lovely landmark in the east. You can go right to the top and get a fantastic view. It will mark the whole landscape."
Friday, January 28, 2011
The practice of artist Mehlli Gobhai addresses a specific formal problem: the split between surface and structure that is a defining characteristic of much modern painting. At another level, it records the dialogue of spare line and burnished field: often, a gradual luminosity emerges from beneath the sombre colors that he layers, one above the other, in strata of roughened and smoothed textures, so that the painting aspires to the condition of leather or parchment sanctified by years of ritual.
For him, the act of painting in series goes beyond mere repetition, and assumes the aspects of intensification, affirmation and renewal. The method connotes a system of correspondences and mutations that unifies an artist's work in time. The artist’s new works are on view at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai. An accompanying essay by art critic Ranjit Hoskote notes:
“Austerely refined as they are, in the taut linearity of their structure and the deep-welling penumbral richness of their colour, Mehlli Gobhai’s paintings have often been thought to be restful. Whether suggestive of cool metal, burnished leather, weathered stone or the edge of luminosity signing a margin of reassurance against the dark, these abstractions have been viewed as meditative pauses: they seem to offer their viewers a temporary reprieve from the frenzied music of life.
However, look more closely, and a different reality manifests itself. While many artists tend to organize their paintings as a pattern of intensity and slack, emptiness and fullness, producing a loose-woven rhythm, the artist develops his pictorial space as a field of competing intensities.”
His is an art of deep coloristic and textural saturation held in counterpoint by geometric precision. The colors and textures may bear subliminal associations, but the sharp linearity and deliberate saturation remind us that the artist registers the primacy of the human imprint of order over the contingencies of nature and chance. These paintings function as energy diagrams, holding a set of forces together through linear symmetries, subtle allusions to the genres vestigially latent within his abstractionist idiom.
(Information courtesy: Chemould Prescott Road)
Thursday, January 27, 2011
In fact, viewing his work is like a manipulation of time in which one may both experience the moment of action as well as view it from above. Born in 1953, he spent his formative in Patiala, and studied at the College of Art in Chandigarh (1970-75). He received a Masters Degree in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London (1987). Underlining his credentials as an artist of international standing, his work has been hosted in many museum exhibitions of Indian contemporary art over the past decade.
In 2007, he was commissioned to create a permanent video installation for Chicago’s new Spertus Museum. His work was included in the Sydney Biennale in 2008, and also formed part of the ‘India: public places, private spaces’ show dedicated to contemporary photography and video art in India at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Incidentally, ‘Sweet Unease’ is the internationally celebrated artist’s first solo in Mumbai. Ranbir Kaleka’s work tends to evoke a sense of the fantastical, at times. An essay by writers Himanshu Bhagat and Supriya Nair (The Mint) explains:
“It’s the multi-layered, long drawn out sophistication of the narratives of each of Kaleka’s installations that complicates them, even more than their conceptualism. In fusing both video art and painting, his practice finds its most spectacular idiom. For example, in ‘The Kettle’, repeated viewings can draw art viewers into a contemplation of time and its illusory effects. It’s as if the artist opens a window through which tales come pouring through.”The crux of this effect is evident in an extended ‘Sweet Unease’ itself. Its characters tend to provoke orientation and disorientation part in their endless, ghost story of a dazzling dance.
Mark Prime, a consultant exhibition designer from the UK, came to Mumbai about five years ago to work on art projects. For Anish Kapoor’s monumental India show, he was invited by Amrita and Priya Jhaveri, as a consultant. Within a month of this grand exhibition, he was asked to design Ranbir Kaleka’s solo show currently on view at Volte in Mumbai.
Giving a backgrounder to it, a news report in The Mint publication (‘A window for stories’ by (Himanshu Bhagat and Supriya Nair) mentions that it may lead art lovers to wonder why it took such a long time to bring his extraordinary vision to this city. That no more is the case, as the vibrant gallery space in the city finally brings together his recent works over the last decade. Peeping into his wonderful oeuvre, the writers elaborate:
“Phantasms rise from tables and walk through eerie, intimate hallways (Fables from the House of Ibaan); birth, growth and death become the thematical underpinnings to a montage about a bird (Man with Cockerel) history plays out along a railway line through a strange, half-alienating play on a film montage (Not From Here). The ethereal effect of his usage of media rests on strong emotional and structural patterns in each work.”The celebrated artist has continued a vibrant vocabulary of figurative painting that crosses from stark realism into whimsical, fantastical narrative. His paintings, both on paper and canvas - in oils as well as mixed media - are almost surrealist in their treatment of scenes from day-to-day life. The lines are suggested, rather than sharply traced, and the colors almost deliberately restrained.
The new retrospective show gives a comprehensive view of unsettling and truly fascinating trans-media art. Art critic-curator and scholar Ranjit Hoskote underlines the fact that his work is imbued with ‘epic disquiet’, a sense that is omnipresent through the concerns and themes of each painted work/ video projection installations on view.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Some of the features of VIP Art Fair are as follows:
- Its revolutionary design lets art collectors view all the works online as never before.
- It employs innovative technology to present the works of art in relation to each other and also in relative scale to the human figure.
- Visitors can opt to zoom in and examine details of a painting. They can have multiple views of a three-dimensional work, and see videos of a multimedia piece.
- Participating galleries offer complete details on works and artists on view, including elaborate catalogue essays, biographies, artist films, interviews, and in-depth information to empower collectors.
- It establishes the interactivity between collector and dealer. The former has the ability to converse with collectors via IM, Skype, and mobiles to discuss artworks on offer in the vibrant virtual booth.
- Dealers can give access to their respective gallery’s back room inventory, and share works in real time in specially-created Private Rooms with clients on their computer screen.
- There are online tours to explore the fair. In fact, these tours form the core to the art fair experience. There is a wide selection of tours to choose from - whether of featured artworks or a customized tour created by critics, curators and collectors.
- Visitors can design a personalized tour to showcase their favorite works, to share them with other art lovers.
- You can navigate the venue with the Fair Map and also with advanced searches on basis of individual choices like an artist’s name, medium or price range.
- Visitors can see specially commissioned short films of private art collections as well as artists’ studios at the VIP Lounge. They can check out fair tours made by other visitors, access status updates on art market news, and learn about new works on view in the Fair.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The writer paints a rosy scenario for the Indian art market in the backdrop of 2010 when SH Raza's ‘Saurashtra’ sold for a record price at Christie's summer auction and Arpita Singh's mural ‘Wish Dream’ yielded a record price at Saffronart's annual Winter Online Art Auction. Having taken a cautious path to recovery, Indian art got back in the recovery mode last year. The news report underlines how the ripples of the slowdown resulted in a cautious approach towards art and exhibitions in 2010.
According to Pooja Sood, chairperson-coordinator of KHOJ, a little conservative approach marked the last year when it came to exhibitions and concepts. And for industry veterans, the market still remains in an indecisive phase. Art experts opine that though the art market is back on a recovery path after the slowdown, still a small group of leading artists like Souza, Raza, Gaitonde, Husain and Tyeb Mehta that find takers. The trend is quite similar to one seen in 2008, when the economic meltdown pushed art on the back foot. The global fall hit prices of the Indian art by over 40%.
For Sunit Kumar of Kumar Art Gallery in Delhi, it's rather difficult to depict the current state of the art market. He underlines the fact that India is not contributing to even a percent of the art market globally. The country is still very young in terms of both value and volumes. However, the things are changing fast. Collectors and investors aggressive before the downturn have now turned more cautious. They are taking stock of the situation, before committing themselves.
A increasing collaboration between artists and international galleries/ museums only points to the global confidence and recognition of Indian art.
With top-end modern artists having stated a rather strong comeback last year, Saffronart CEO & Co-Founder of Dinesh Vazirani sees a definite revival of interest in contemporary Indian art market. Though the sentiment for contemporary artists hasn't picked up favorably, 2011 is likely to see them bouncing back.
In spite of a vibrant art culture in India, the rather narrow collector base remains a worry for the art market. It has tremendous potential that still remains to be tapped. The India Art Summit director Neha Kirpal attributes this to the lack of knowledge about art owing to the limited access/ awareness masses have about art. The art expert has been quoted as saying:
"There are hardly any public spaces that expose people to the wonders of art. With the kind of buying power available with the Indian collectors and the acquisitions they are making, it won't take long for the collector base to grow manifold."Thankfully, a more mature collector base is gradually coming to the fore. "Collectors realize the difference between good, better and the best (art)! They no longer look just at the price tag, but also at the works itself!" an art expert observes. In effect, buyers are looking to acquire works more from a collection point of view than sheer investment purpose. We shall also see the institutional buyers coming back in the fray, most art market players feel.
According to ArtTactic’s Anders Petterson, the international focus will be on contemporary Indian artists who has a strong gallery representation international like Jitish Kallat (Haunch of Venison), NS Harsha (Victoria Miro), Dayanita Singh (Frith Street) and Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher (Hauser & Wirth). They will be the flavor of the international market in 2011.
Monday, January 24, 2011
While the UK bases its display in its 1909 pavilion just along the permanent homes for over 30 other nations constructed in gorgeous gardens during the last century or so, new arrivals will be setting up shop in the wooden roofed barracks structures of the 16th century at the neighboring Arsenale, the captivating complex of warehouses and docks now being ceded to the Venice by the military of Italy.
Temporary exhibits, comprising Chinese art, are already hosted at the site. The host nation has set the perfect example by opting to move its permanent pavilion there. The Arsenale’s takeover by far-flung nations is perhaps a fitting fate for the docks, which sent Venetian vessels out for trade with India, China and the Middle East, helping to transform the city state into a major maritime superpower.
Laid out in year 1104, the docks filled 114 acres and employed 2,000, thus becoming one of the world's largest ever pre-industrial production centers. The Biennale took over the leafy gardens in 1895 next door after the Venice mayor decided to offer a space to local artists meeting at St Mark's Square (Caffe Florian). It’s the world's most influential and also the oldest art fair.
According to art historian and critic Bice Curiger, they can serve as a tool for reflecting upon the issue of identity. Curiger will ask each participating artist to answer specific questions like 'Where do you feel at home?', 'How many nations do you feel inside yourself?', 'If art was a nation what would be written in its constitution? and 'Is the artistic community a nation?'
Apparently not content with their current status as growing economic superpowers, India and China are all set to storm the Venice Biennale, an European cultural bastion. Having hosted the likes of Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud and Henry Moore in its 116-year illustrious history, the prestigious art event is now in talks to give new, permanent pavilion sites to Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Bahrain and the UAE. This was revealed by its president Paolo Baratta to The Art Newspaper.
A Chinese delegation led by the ambassador to Italy paid a visit to the site. He stated he would be surprised if China failed to find a place up one of the permanent pavilions now on offer at disused docks next to the Biennale's main site on the southern tip of Venice. The 2011 edition of the much awaited biannual art showcase will also play host to India for the first time ever in nearly three decades.
There are debutants including Malaysia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh as well as Bahrain also get a foothold in with the UK, represented by noted installation artist Mike Nelson this year. The Venice Biennale curator states the focus is on the contemporary art’s unshackled globalism, sans any objection to Venice's apparent habit of shoving artists into their respective national pavilions. Sometimes the Pavilions are considered anachronistic.
As the prize-giving comes near, there will be national pride at stake. Newcomers look to take on old guard of the modern art after the awarding of top honors to Germany, the US and Sweden in 2009.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
According to ArtTactic founder and managing director Anders Petterson, the momentum will largely be driven by the blue-chip modern Indian art market. Also, parts of the contemporary market are likely to witness a smart recovery. Indications are that the momentum could pick up in the first quarter, as the latest Confidence Survey of ArtTactic for the Indian art market show.
The 'expectation indicator' for the modern art market in India stood 12% above the 'current indicator,' the survey noted. It also pointed to the strong comeback staged by modern Indian art market in 2010, with total auction value rising by 115% from 2009. It also exceeded the 2008 total by close to 16%. Though its total auction value has gone up to $6.97 million during 2010 from $2.7 million in 2009, the contemporary Indian art market is still 75% below the total it achieved in 2008.
At Christie's, the annual auction totals for both modern & contemporary Indian art went up to over $37 million by 2010 from approximately $ 6,00,000 in 2000. Auctions of Indian art are now held up to six times in a calendar year in London, Hong Kong, Dubai and New York, making Indian gallerists feel more optimistic of the market reaching back to its peak, albeit this time in a more mature and cautious way.
With optimism ruling the market, Bhavna Kakar of another Delhi-based gallery Latitude 2, feels that Indian artists are now an integral part of the rapidly growing economy, impacting creative spheres as well. The report by Garima Pant of The MSN News mentions her as saying, "This year, things will be even better since the performance in financial market spheres is exceptionally good and is predicted to continue. And the art market is a reflection of the financial economy of a country."
We reproduce a report by Margherita Stancati in the Wall Street Journal on eve of the India Art Summit. Entitled ‘Who Buys Indian Art?, the writer starts off, stating: “In the next three days, people will be flowing into New Delhi’s Pragati Maidan exhibition center for, the largest trade fair of modern & contemporary Indian art.
Over 60,000 are expected to turn up. Many will be there just to look but others to buy.Last year, over half of the works on display sold out in three days – for a total of around 260-million rupees ($5.7 million). Galleries expect the trend to continue this year and have raised their bets. Although they are bringing in more expensive artworks, the price range remains wide.
This year, price tags go from around 10,000 rupees ($250) for some works of photography to more than $1 million for big-name artists who include Indian Modernists and leading international contemporaries. It may come as no big surprise that the market for modern and contemporary Indian art is still very much tied to its geographical roots: Most buyers are either Indian or of Indian origin.
“The biggest buy base for Indian art is Indians or those who belong to the Indian diaspora,” said Neha Kirpal, the IAS founder and director.Priyanka Mathew, a specialist in modern and contemporary Indian art at Sotheby’s auction house, agreed that “the majority of collectors are from India or non-resident Indians,” something she explained with reference to the limited exposure people outside the country have to Indian art.
But within this category of buyers, things are rapidly changing. As India’s economy is growing, so is the portion of the population that can afford to invest in art. This means many buyers are actually new to the art market – something that was reflected in last year’s summit when around 40% of sales went to first-time buyers. As a result, the profile of collectors is changing too.
Many new buyers are young, well-traveled corporate executives who made big money working in banking or in the country’s software industry. They tend to be more open to the daring trends of contemporary art than their older counterparts, some of whom are long-time patrons of Indian Modernists.However, the market for Indian art is far from mature. “We’ve got a long way to go,” said Ms. Kirpal who described the market as young. A major problem is the lack of infrastructure…
It is not surprising then that the idea of ‘hard and tangible assets’ is gaining ground and popularity amidst today’s economic uncertainty. In this context, art expert Adam Lindemann explains, “Art may not be very hard, but it is tangible, at least; there is an international market (and demand) for it both privately and at auction. If inflation rears its ugly head, people believe that prices of art will inflate along with real estate and most other hard (or tangible) assets.”
According to him, this will also drive prices of vintage automobiles, great furniture pieces, ceramics, antiquities, and most other exceptional collectible, which draw the attention the über-rich internationally. They will be more than willing to acquire such ‘arty’ assets.
The expert cites gold as the best example of increasing value in a depressed economic environment. It is now at an all-time high, having surged to $1,350 from $550 an ounce, a couple of years. Though it carries no intrinsic value other than the one defined by its constant demand in the jewelry industry, it remains the safest thing to put your cash into. “That's exactly how I like to feel about art.”
And where does the value come into play, he feels? Firstly, the acquisitive nature of the collector is something simple economic analysis is not able to account for. Artworks soar above the estimated prices for either they are underpriced, or for speculation that helps them to attain a high price.
Some rare works have been impossible to acquire for decades, and witness ‘pent-up demand’ from genuine collectors waiting eagerly for a shot. But he also sounds a note of caution. The broad health of the art market is still somewhat fictional, he cautions. But art will continue to gain strength as an alternate asset class over time...
Saturday, January 22, 2011
The art market sure is rolling along with plenty of positive momentum, even as the rest of the financial world feels rather shaky and soft, trembling at any minor shock. Though he cannot totally explain and grasp this phenomenon, as he himself confesses, writer-columnist Adam Lindemann sees plausible reasons for this – some of them economic and some pertaining specifically to the art world.
As he rightly notes in an elaborate essay (The New York Observer), we are presently in an exceptionally low-interest-rate scenario, and sees no reason for things to dramatically change in the near future. So if you purchase government bonds, there is hardly any yield.
The same holds true if you decide to put money in your savings account. Again there is no guarantee of returns in the stock market if you put your hard earned money there. It has been a rather sickening roller coaster for most investors across the world – making it difficult to bet on the upward or downward swings.
Art perhaps has no use, but it has real value, at least in the minds of many who love it,” emphasizes Mr. Lindemann. In a scenario where not everything on offer will sell, the major auction houses have been prudent enough to groom their catalogs for keeping the ‘buy-in’ rates low, and also lowering the consigners’ estimates and the expectations.
The reflection of the rebound is mirrored in Sotheby's stock that has managed to rally all the way up to a high of $47 from a 52-week low of $19. The strong auction sales seem to suggest that while the art market is not back to late-2007 peak levels, it is also not that far off!
The art analyst sums up to state: “The auction experts and the dealers kept telling us that great art is rare and valuable, a good avenue to store wealth for self-satisfaction and also as a worthy investment. On the face of it, and in light of a stuttering economy, these views looked self-serving. But they proved to be correct, ultimately.”
Mithu Sen’s practice steers between creating installations, paintings and collages with mixed media. She provokes the viewer to question our social values and our actions as human beings. She invites the viewer to play and interact with meanings of ‘self’. There is a notion of deconstructing the old to bring in the new. The viewer is compelled to relate to her works at a personal level, through self-analysis of their own identity.
Her ‘Myth U’ (30 x 22”; mixed media watercolor on embossed handmade paper) is a self portrait, ‘and how friends/people like to read/see/write/call me...though it is funny but it has an inner psychology that drives me...it’s how people spell/ed my name...’, as she puts it.
Vidya Kamat is an academician and an artist, who works with new media. Her area of interest and research has been ancient Indian myths and symbols. Her ‘Blooming Lotus’ takes on the ancient Indian system of Tantra, which depicts various chakras as the centres of the consciousness. The diagrammatic structure suggests the current state of 'Indian' consciousness where each lotus blooms in a materialistic gain. Blooming Lotus, tries to create a linkage between the ancient and contemporary Indian reality of the spiritual and materialistic world.
Vijayendra Sekhon received his M.F.A. from M.S. University, Baroda, India and a second Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. About his work, ‘A letter to/from the future’ (mixed media on canvas), he states: “I look at the work from present and future points of view simultaneously.
“At one level it is my attempt to leave behind clues for future archaeologists to uncover the world we live in? And at second level I take the role of that future archaeologist. I tried to imagine what will survive the time, how it may get distorted? How over time new myths may get fused with some old surviving ones? How reality of our time will distort future myths and mutate new heroes and legends?”
Friday, January 21, 2011
Among the participating artists in ‘Myth – Reality: Constructing Cult-u're’ are Johan Grimonprez, Charwei Tsai, Job Koelewijn, Prayas Abhinav, Mithu Sen, Neha Thakar, Riyas Komu, Vidya Kamat, Renata Poljak, and Vijayendra Sekhon.
The show at Mumbai based Guild Galleryis curated by Veeranganakumari Solanki. A curatorial note mentions: ‘Culture = Cult + you are = Culture is what you’re. It’s what you create, construct and also accept that becomes a culture. In most societies across the globe, culture and ideology do co-exist. They in turn create myths, which become beliefs. Beliefs then grow into facts. A fact, over a passage of time, tends to stir the curious who probe – there’s an awakening – as the fact is questioned. It grows into a belief to become a myth.”
Roland Barthes termed the notion of myth as constantly changing, with obvious implications of the original. In Mythologies, a collection of essays, the thinker revealed how myth was formed through the semiotics theory. When over an implied period of time something (signifier) is employed to denote an object (signified), it creates a sign that loses it denotations. It then becomes a connotation that implying a myth, in turn. There’s a constant creation as well as destruction of myths and cultures in the contemporary world. The former naturalizes situations and meanings created to make them appear real.
Among the participating artists, Riyas Komu says that his job as an artist is that of an activist – be it football or politics.” Formulating, conceptualising and employing Marxist symbols that underline his political awareness, his works not only “look like posthumous regrets but (are) also a propaganda that has the form of a protest.” Bringing to the forefront neglected sectors of society and the struggle for survival, his works pursue the viewers’ thoughts to go beyond a pre-constructed comfort zone with a sceptical, but compassionate humanistic approach.
His ‘Immortal Death-scapes’ - The Karachi Series – are a black & white images of cemeteries in Pakistan. They portray the marks of natural forces - time and weather - which, due to human neglect, have broken down the dignity of the burial grounds.
For a group show in Mumbai based Guild, several talented artists have conceptualized that are based on the twin notion of myth & representation. The participating artists create, valorise and subsequently shatter – ideas, notions, cultures, ideologies, beliefs, facts and certain myths.
Prayas Abhinav currently teaches at the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. According to him, in ‘Even war has limits (17” screen, joystick, text), a modified version of the Space Invaders game (a classic arcade game) in which the confrontational process part of our social situation plays out and becomes a semiotic conflict in which accusations, prescriptions and cross-accusations, defence mechanisms are made easily. The game can be played with a joystick. Additional cross-accusations can be typed with a keyboard.
‘The tiger is not a tiger (but don't tell)’ looks at consumption-created social status. It’s a series of images loading up on a screen. We can vote for the image on the left or on the right by pressing the corresponding button. Pressing both the buttons together will take us to the score-window, which shows which image was selected how many times. Selection, here, is of course meant to signify desirability and cool-sensing.
Other participating artist Neha Thakar’s working process enables her to see the changing visual formation of her works through the passage of time. Through mediums she selects – such as ice, water and smell – the process becomes a performance in through a space of changing visual. One can also term it as environmental art, because of the celebration with the natural world ranging from permanent constructions of objects and interventions with ice. The artist makes use of nature to explore themes such as, the fleeting and ephemeral, notions of time, the unexpected and random.
She states of her work in the exhibition: “One can see it at the beginning, middle or end, and can feel a part of it, that relates to my approach to material. Hence, the spectator becomes a part of my work. The so called ‘Simulacrum’ in itself turns into an artwork as the process goes on. Therefore, the viewer who is involved with the process can see innumerable visuals within one visual and at last a feeling of nothingness or so called emptiness takes place, which is the core idea of my work. I am playing with an idea of tangible & intangible; visible & invisible properties of the materials like Water, Ice, Smell, Gas & extra. At the edge of this circle I have tried to negotiate the essence of impermanency.”
Thursday, January 20, 2011
A set of absorbing abstract works by 60 artists of different generations (Nicholas Krushenick, Joan Mitchell, Joan Snyder, Francesca DiMattio, to name a few) is on view at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and at Skidmore College Art Gallery in upstate New York. They are presented through the lens of different opposing albeit fluid categories, existing in our day lives, such as intimate and spectacular, and private and public.
The show explores how art negotiates the distance between some of these constantly shifting categories and how space tends to affect this negotiation. Doing away with the notion that abstract is devoid of content, it maintains that pleasure and beauty in works are invariably full of meaning.
The exhibit draws parallels between attitudes and questions within individual works. Defining boundaries and edges decides how we are able to follow the limit of any given object and experience. Such definitions require a kind of invention (a shared abstraction), which alters what’s within realms of possibility for us to do, think, and be. As an ensemble it makes up for a vibrant viewing, covering a wide swath, and setting up some useful confusions.
Among the other important artists, who feature in the show, are Anni Albers, Gary Batty, Alex Brown, Richmond Burton, Patrick Chamberlain, Stephen Dean, Anne Delaporte, Francesca DiMattio, Cheryl Donegan, Rico Gatson, Joanne Greenbaum, Christopher Harvey, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Lisa Lapinski, Barry Le Va, Sherrie Levine, Chris Martin, Andrew Massulo, Jane Masters, Carrie Moyer, Victoria Palermo, Lawrence Weiner, and Richard Woods. ‘The Jewel Thief’ is co-curated by Ian Berry, Susan Rabinowitz Malloy, and Jessica Stockholder.
At a conceptual level, his work has essentially been about the outside realm, well visible to us. This time though, the artist has turned inward, letting out a sense of interiority. According to him, the interiority stems from the way Mumbai has grown - a lot more intense and seething with so much more.
Explaining the metamorphosis of his muse over the years, he mentions that the city knew, in spite of its apparent polarities, was still a place that remained accessible to all. There has been a dramatic makeover in the milieu that the labor class could once easily identify with. He adds: “This now doesn't appear to hold. Reversing the scenario, a rich person would feel just as uncomfortable in an underprivileged neighborhood something not necessarily the case in the past.”
The socially conscious artist, who rightfully considers himself a ‘painter of people’, depicts multiple peculiar perspectives into struggles of urbane population, Mumbai in particular, the melting pot of commercial, financial and sociological ironies. His oils on canvas works incorporate a skillfully honed aesthetic to explore everyday realities of the city life, its locales and the way it inhabitants shape it.
Sudhir Patwardhan is known to portray Mumbai’s working class and their strenuous living, subsequently linking it to the post-liberalized hyper-polis. He wants to take the viewers beyond the surface tensions and noises of one of the world’s most densely populated and most energetic metros, engaging them in a probing encounter with it. His works explore the urban milieu of dislocation, anonymity and alienation.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Through his work he addresses issues of materiality, isolation and fragmentation. He engages with the chaotic cityscape and scenes from the bustling street with unmatched sensitivity and intensity. Analyzing his work, The New York Times art critic Holland Cotter, has mentioned in an essay:
“His painting might well be considered a form of Socialist Realism, sans ideological hard-sell or an agony-orecstasy tone. Instead, the artist depicts day to day, unprivileged urban lives with a solidity of form along with deliberateness of pacing, which imbue even crowd scenes with a ceremonial, moral weight."His body of work ‘Citing the city’ (2007) at Sakshi Gallery served as another example of a constant dialogue his art has with society, representing the reality in a transparent manner. In his new series at the same venue, Sudhir Patwardhan depicts poignant scenes of life within apartment houses.
The title work (acrylic on canvas), ‘Full Circle’, arranges young and old members of a ubiquitous family in a peculiar fashion. The narrative that it suggests is more personal than a mere abstract engagement with the process of aging and death. The theme of enclosure recurs in a series of paintings on view.
A sense of playfulness seems to illumine the work that expertly interrogates fictionality through an assembly of a motley cast of characters and settings. Pulp Fiction fame Uma Thurman co-exists with a middle-aged woman seated by a bookshelf; a silhouetted gunman draws the eye to a nude figure, as if fleeing the edges of the canvas.
One can still notice some of those lines that run across his attention grabbing gauche-on-paper works. The poignancy of his experience has faded though. The colors also appear to convey a more cheery mood. The septuagenarian artist has come up with a new series of work. The show takes place at Gallery Art Motif in New Delhi.
Born in 1936, the veteran artist studied at the Government College of Art and Craft, Kolkata. He has received several honors, including the Rabindra Bharati Award (1970) and the Shiromani Puraskar (1990). His work is represented in several public and private collections in India and abroad.
On the eve of his show, he has been quoted as saying: “One can never forget or get separated from the associations or imprints of childhood. I’ve been displaced from my realm and surroundings. However, my homeland’s memories are seared in my memory.”
He used to live near the bewildering Brahmaputra. The lovely landscapes and magnificent marshes made a big impression on his tender young mind before he traveled to Kolkata in 1950.
After completing his graduation, he launched his career as an artist in 1956. Replicating the Ajanta Murals for the National Museum collection, while working for the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) sharpened his artistic skills and inspired his oeuvre. His early work reflected some of the influences of those magnificent murals.
Works in the latest series has been done over the last three years. It comprises gauche-on-paper works (35 x 31” to 16 x 18”). The surface is layered in colors like vibrant greens, yellows, earthy browns and reds apart from textured whites as well as inky blues. Summing up his new exhibition, the artist quips that he is striving to capture the emotions behind the form, in an effort to tap into the abstract feeling that the shape would evoke.
(Image courtesy: Art Motif, Delhi)
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Started at Ashok Art Gallery, It will be on vew till 6th of feb 2011
Ajay Mohanty received his BFA from Utkal University at B.K. College of Art and Crafts, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, 1996, He was awarded by Lalitkala Academy as best child artists at his age 11, after his fine art education he shifted to Delhi and working on creative field, over the past five years, participated in numerous group shows.His works has been showcased in both the Indian Art Fair, India Art Summit, New Delhi and Art Expo India, Mumbai by Ashok Art Gallery.
This superb collectors exhibition gave an opportunity to see a representative selection of significant works by some of Asia’s most critically acclaimed contemporary artists, such as Ai Wei Wei, Shen Shaomin, Zeng Fanzhi, Fang Li Jun, Liu Wei (China), I Nyoman Masriadi, Agus Suwage (Indonesia), Nam June Paik (Korea), Yoshitomo Nara (Japan), apart from Shilpa Gupta, Subodh Gupta, TV Santhosh and L.N. Tallur from India.
The much anticipated project was realized in cooperation with leading collectors of Asian contemporary art like Kim Chang-il (Korea), Deddy Kusuma (Indonesia), Monique Burger / Burger Collection (Hong Kong), Agnes Lin / Osage Art Foundation (Hong Kong), Sylvain Levy / dsl Foundation (France), Dr. Oei Hong Djien (Indonesia), Judith Neilson / White Rabbit Collection (Australia), Qiao Zhibin (China), Marcus Tan (Malaysia), Budi Tek (Indonesia), Jackson See (Singapore),Yang Bin (China) and Lekha & Anupam Poddar / Devi Foundation (India). Explaining how Singapore is fast emerging an ideal destination for art exchanges, an organizer’s note stated:
“At the heart of the cultural and commercial crossroads between the East and the West, Singapore is the perfect meeting place. The city’s reputation as a premium lifestyle destination has been enhanced over time with the recently opened Marina Bay Sands. Often referred to as the ‘Switzerland of Asia’, it’s among the world’s fastest growing economies, and the private wealth management centre of Asia Pacific."The Singapore government is investing in key market infrastructure for art including The National Art Gallery and Gillman Village, a new arts and creative businesses cluster that will be a hub for international galleries and arts businesses. Asia’s only state-of-the-art, recently launched, Singapore Freeport is another example of such initiatives to promote art.
At the heart of these encouraging developments, Art Stage Singapore is keen to position itself as a flagship event to catalyze the city’s ascension into a leading arts destination.
“Many dealers and collectors had initially written off the fair as just another commercial effort by the Singapore government to compete with Hong Kong. Most art experts predicted that it would be an uphill climb for Singapore’s fledgling art scene. But judging by the top VIPs, collectors and artists at the fair’s preview, the organizers pulled off what many thought impossible: launching Singapore onto the international arts scene.”The above observation in The Wall street Journal report sums up the huge success that Art Stage Singapore has been in its debut year. The event’s philosophy revolved around two cornerstones: a focus on the highest quality through precise selection/ presentation of art in relevant context. Looking beyond prevailing commercial trends and saleability, the event looked to support innovative artistic experiments by giving a platform for talented emerging artists and new galleries of the region.
In addition, it showcased art in a historical context by comprising the best of Asian modern art presented by specialists. It also displayed works in an artistic context through a series of special projects and well-thought curated presentations. Featuring over 20 projects specially created for the fair, ‘Project Stage’ allowed promising artists from Asia Pacific to engage with curators, collectors and critics, for the discovery of new talents in the region. The fair director, Lorenzo Rudolf, stated:
“The Asian market and the Southeast Asian art scene is currently limited by industry and market infrastructure, with few opportunities to access an international audience. They need to be able to compete with the international art scene and art market as that is the only way for them to become an international success.”There were a series of exciting fringe events as well. Special lectures on Asian contemporary art were arranged for collectors, wealthy potential buyers as well as for art lovers keen to learn more about art. Project Stage, Art Stage Singapore’s exciting new curated platform, was dedicated to cutting edge artists and innovative art spaces on the Asia Pacific art scene. It was aimed at discovering the next big emerging artists and galleries from the region, so that they could engage with the international art scene.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Art Stage Singapore (From January 12th until January 16th, 2011) is an annual show that focuses on the very best of the Asia Pacific and the region’s most promising emerging artists. It brings together artists, dealers, collectors and art professionals from East and West for unveiling exciting new opportunities.
The fair strives to bring the former into international prominence, allowing them to get competitive in the global market. The exciting event promises to be much more than mere trade show for the world of art. It wants to project itself as a credible international show, juxtaposing Asia Pacific galleries with carefully selected Western galleries that complement each other - as a continuation of its director Lorenzo Rudolf’s work (ShContemporary Co-Founder, Art Basel Miami Beach Inventor and Art Basel director for a decade until 2000). Mr. Rudolf has been quoted as saying:
“What is most important is that Art Stage Singapore has a unique identity. It makes hardly any sense to duplicate an Art Basel or Frieze, nor to bring a large delegation of Western galleries presenting big names and brands of mediocre quality. The most aspect of an interesting art event is the quality of the presented works.”The exhibitors look to comprise a balance between established as well as young galleries and artists to serve visitors with excellent works. There are special projects by young artists, presenting the perfect opportunities to discover future stars of the art world.
Together with Asian opinion leaders like Emily Chao (Eslite, Taiwan), Tomio Koyama (Tomio Koyama Gallery, Japan) and Peter Nagy (Nature Morte, India), who cooperate with the fair organizer as part of its exhibitors committee, the event acts as a platform for exchange and interaction between art enthusiasts and industry professionals. Its broader aim is to forge a more cohesive art scene within the Asia Pacific art markets.