India Art Fair 2020: 7 performances and displays you cannot miss this year
Since its inception in 2008, the India Art Fair (IAF) has been a celebration of South Asian modern and contemporary art and is the biggest exhibition of the same in the country. The 12th edition of this Delhi-based fair is being held from 30th January to 2nd February at the NSIC Exhibition Grounds, Okhla, New Delhi, and the programme draws together galleries, artists, private foundations, arts charities, artists’ collectives, national institutions, cultural events and festivals. IAF will feature over 81 Indian and international galleries, talks, and performances which will include leading artists such as Nilima Sheikh, Martin Parr, Raisa Kabir, and Jelili Atiku, among others.
The fair director Jagdip Jagpal, who took over in 2018, has created a distinct identity for the exhibition by focusing on the curation of South Asian contemporary art. Jagpal has ensured since her tenure began, that 70 per cent of the floor space is dedicated for Indian and South Asian galleries and artists, private foundations, arts charities, artists’ collectives and national institutions, while also welcoming top international exhibitors and galleries, as per her conversation with National Herald, at last year’s fair. The fair also makes a strong effort to include artists who have never or rarely shown before and to include students and differently-abled people as well. Here are the top seven things to look forward to this Indian Art Fair.
South Asian Textile Art
Textile has played an important role in the social, cultural, and economic life in South Asia and are finally gaining attention in the art world. With textiles being established as women’s work or folk craft, they are often looked down on. This year, India Art Fair will be hosting auditorium talks by leading artists within the industry, one of which would focus on the subject of textiles. Arshi Irshad Ahmadzai and Raisa Kabir will discuss embracing the medium and pushing its boundaries in a conversation moderated by Uthra Rajgopal, Assistant Curator of Textiles and Wallpaper at The Whitworth in one of the auditorium talks.
IAF will feature new mediums and genres of art with a strong line-up of performance artists. From Maya Krishna Rao, a national-award winning theatre performer and social activist, Piyali Ghosh, a Baroda based multidisciplinary artist who recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale, as well as Nigerian artist, Jelili Atiku who is known for his politically-charged solo performances which call attention to human rights violations in democracies around the world, will present Nobody is Born Wise.
India Art Fair will also partner with Godrej India Culture Lab to deliver a Film Programme on the theme Queering Culture, which will include two film screenings and a panel discussion, to examine how the city has multiple sites of queer resistance.
While a majority of the exhibitors will be of Indian origin, international galleries will also be showcased. Returning international galleries include David Zwirner (London, UK/New York, USA/Hong Kong), neugerriemschneider (Berlin, Germany), Aicon Art (New York, USA), Aicon Contemporary (New York, USA), Grosvenor Gallery (London, UK), and 1x1 Art Gallery (Dubai, UAE). New international galleries participating for the first time include: Saskia Fernando Gallery (Colombo, Sri Lanka), PSM (Berlin, Germany), Marc Straus (New York, USA) and Gallery Tableau (Seoul, South Korea).
Artists in Residence
The fair will extend its programme by bringing forward four new artists who will, besides displaying works, also conduct a workshop with the viewers. Artists in Residence will feature specialist run sessions from drawing, sketching and illustration to paper and zine making by artists Gagan Singh, Ghiora Aharoni, Marcel Dzama, Manisha Parekh and Renuka Rajiv.
Young Collector’s Programme
This programme is aiming to increase art audiences within India. The Young Collector’s Programme and IAF Parallel platform is designed for those interested in viewing, collecting and learning more about the curation of art; it will feature masterclasses, studio visits, walkthroughs and tours of Delhi’s famed museums, galleries, and alternative art spaces, as well as engage like-minded individuals at social gatherings and get-togethers. The programme will include personalised tours of art shows, a VIP preview of the Fair a day before it opens, a private walkthrough with Shaleen Wadhwana, as well as talks on the dos and don'ts of being a collector, and one by Siddharth Mehta on the legal aspects.
BMW Art Car Project by Andy Warhol
Ever since BMW became a presenting partner of IAF, one Art Car from the BMW exquisite collection of Art Cars has been displayed at the fair. The BMW Art Car collection features a limited collection of BMW cars that have been used by some of the biggest artists as a canvas. Till date, there are nineteen BMW Art Cars. This year the exhibition will showcase the 4th BMW Art Car, created by Andy Warhol, the American pop-artist, with the BMW M1 in 1979. This display will be complemented by ‘The Warhol Talk’, with Head of BMW Cultural Engagement, Thomas Girst, in conversation with Jose Carlos Diaz, Chief Curator at The Andy Warhol Museum, which will share the lesser-known facets of the artist’s life, including the story behind him painting the car.
The Bookshop & Cafe at IAF
A brand new addition to the Indian Art Fair is the Bookshop & Cafe, which is an international standard museum retail space with offerings ranging from art books, magazines, graphic novels and zines, as well as art supplies, stationery and artist-designed lifestyle products. The Learning Space in the bookshop will host a daily programme of workshops, screenings and signings aimed at engaging and educating both students and collectors about South Asian modern and contemporary art in a quick and fun way.
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