An abstract made with deer faeces, human ashes turned into clocks, a Gandhi flipping on video in Gigi Scaria's dark room, and men whose backs said, `talk to me, I'm art too' -that's what the crowds went after at this year's India Art Fair.
One of the corners at the event saw self-art: a camera captured you as you walked close, blending you with the background and dissolving you slowly, drawing every visitor, even the wine-and-bread servers, to try themselves out as subjects.
A little ahead stood an Edward Scissorhand-ly exhibit that went snippety snip, and lifelike sculptures of an old woman and a newborn that earned all the wows. Meanwhile, MF Husain’s million-dollar glass topped flats found less admirers, and the rest of the paintings lay even more unwatched.
Mixed media has arrived, but is it pushing out the good old painting, no matter how rare and dear, far too ruthlessly?
The visitors at the fair stood testimony. If you happened to go there, you too may have been swept by all the interactive, moving, animated and experimental artwork, and, if strapped for time, given the age-old wall canvasses a miss. They’ve been around for too long, haven’t they?
“Yeah. Of course, you can’t put up the fancy 3D jazz at your place, but here, plain paint … no, not working,” said Andrew Hert, a visitor and collector on the lookout for exotic Indian media art.
There were gotawork appendages at that end, you told him, and delighted, he excused himself.
Others both gallery owners and artists denied the clearly visible phenomenon for the sake of the dignity of centuries-old frame art.
“A serious buyer’s first love is always still art sculptures and paintings,” said one of the assistants at a gallery that had hardly any visitors, three days into the event.
Roohan Segel of the Gallery Ganesha booth, which had its walls beaming with big bright paintings, was more honest about the sparse footfall.
“Yeah, I guess that’s because there’s so much happening here, so much mixed media,” she admitted.
So, while curious enthusiasts, new-age artists and students continue to drool over the hi-tech, 3D offerings, and of course, the page 3-ers too (give them anything, especially a mirror, and that’d be the best art they’ve seen), you still hope the serious buyer theory keeps the silent brush alive.
In the end, the paintings may steal the sales for their signatures and time-tested-ness, but the limelight has already been stolen away from them, perhaps forever.
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