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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

India Art Fair offers rich potpourri

Aakriti Sawhney and Soumya Mukerji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 01, 2013
First Published: 19:00 IST(1/2/2013) | Last Updated: 17:08 IST(9/2/2013)

A big glowing rabbit welcomed us at the entrance of the India Art Fair on day one, a befitting sign of how fast the country’s biggest annual art fest is leaping. In just four years, it has been visited by 2,60,000 people from 60 cities across the world, and fetched big business.

Standing right where the exhibit starts, fair director Neha Kripal welcomed each visitor personally, looking confident and upbeat. “Six personal jets have landed carrying the works. Name a big gallery and it’s here. Yes, we are definitely growing, and it’s been just 40 minutes to the opening and we have already sold some 15-20 artworks,” she claimed.

Hearing that, we entered on a positive note. There wasn’t that one big show-stealer of a piece, but a mishmash of experimental, installation and mixed media art. The canvas has taken an obvious backseat; it’s mostly only the signatures on it that sell. We get you some of the pieces that are catching all the eye.

GLIMPSES OF THIRST
The artwork by artist Shine Shivan, a result of taxidermy, is from a series that’s about gender and sexuality. The figure, through its cross-dressing and role-playing, demonstrates a structure that does not have a point of origin or stable configurations. And no, he hasn’t run into a controversy yet!

COIN PURSE
This larger-than-life coin purse by artist Shaila Nambiar, represented by The Loft, throws light on hidden human desires. The purse is a representative of things that we as humans hide and don’t want to show to the world. Signs of change These 3D improvisations of common public signs such as entry, exit and no smoking, have been created by Chinese artist Yuki Matsueda and represented by the only gallery at the fair from China, the Shun Art Gallery.

THE SEDUCTION
Through his work — two crows stuck in a net, George K shows conflicting emotions that accompany corruption, allurement and repulsion. Born out of ‘Ka’ that means crow, and ‘why’ in Sanskrit. raising a finger Prajjwal Choudhury’s woodwork of a finger, now sold, points at a lot: “Sometimes, human time stops — physically and mentally, which is a normal practice,” says Choudhury. “The finger has been elongated above its natural size, as we have a tendency of counting our fingers while multiplying, adding or subtracting,” he says.

ART ON HIS SLEEVE
Peter Burke from Australia likes to call himself ‘Art Wallah’. The quirkpot, dressed in a blue three-piece coat, was a mobile booth moving around the fair selling and displaying his work — palm-sized artworks of Indian artists such as Manu Parekh and Jagannath Panda. Prices of works: R3,000 — R25,000. layer on layer This mixed media twin work by Dilip Chobisa, priced at R65,000 each, is an expression of self-introspection. The mirrors reflect what we see, and the human faces, one inverted and one upright, contemplate a man’s relationship with his own self/soul.

CANVAS TO 3D
Represented by Bruno Art Group, world-renowned artist Gerstein has on display some of his recent masterpieces. Pulsating with colours, the 3D works translate a sense of movement and vigour.

A CHILDHOOD MEMORY
Represented by gallery Sanskriti, artist Nantu Behari Das’ sculptures, made of fibre glass and pins, follow the storyline of his childhood. The sculptures are priced at R5.5 lakh each and the six wall-hangings at R1.5 lakh each. indian flag, sweet wrapping Jenkell Laurence’s 1965 work is the result of a creative overflow that is in the image of our present society’s patterns of consumption. She breaks the idea of the material by sculpting huge candies.

RAISING A FINGER
Prajjwal Choudhury’s woodwork of a finger, now sold, points at a lot: “Sometimes, human time stops — physically and mentally, which is a normal practice,” says Choudhury. “The finger has been elongated above its natural size, as we have a tendency of counting our fingers while multiplying, adding or subtracting,” he says.

SIGNS OF CHANGE
These 3D improvisations of common public signs such as entry, exit and no smoking, have been created by Chinese artist Yuki Matsueda and represented by the only gallery at the fair from China, the Shun Art Gallery.

LAYER ON LAYER
This mixed media twin work by Dilip Chobisa, priced at R65,000 each, is an expression of self-introspection. The mirrors reflect what we see, and the human faces, one inverted and one upright, contemplate a man’s relationship with his own self/soul.

INDIAN FLAG, SWEET WRAPPING
Jenkell Laurence’s 1965 work is the result of a creative overflow that is in the image of our present society’s patterns of consumption. She breaks the idea of the material by sculpting huge candies.

Works that were sold out
Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera’s work, an installation titled Memory Keeper: Blue Cupboard, made of lace, video and fabric balls, sold at the fair for Rs. 3.5 lakh.

French American artist Louise Bourgeois’ limited edition porcelain sculpture, made in 1996, was sold to an unrevealed Indian art dealer. It was represented by Galerie Lelong.

Overheard at the Art Fair....

“Papsy (a middle-aged woman to her mom), I see you like to stop by the pieces and ponder. I have to see a lot, so let’s set up a time and meet somewhere, okay?”

“Main Raza ke kaam ke aage khadi hoon, vahiin aaja.”

“Take my picture against this na. Like I’m buying it.”

“Bad luck for them” (An onlooker who mistook a shattered glass artwork — part of a performance installation — for an unfortunate accident).

India Art Fair
Where: NSIC Grounds, Okhla
When: On till February 3
Timings: 10am to 7pm
Nearest Metro Station: Govindpuri on the Violet Line


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