NSIC Exhibition Complex, Outer Ring Rd, Okhla Industrial Area Phase III, Okhla Industrial Estate,, New Delhi, India
12/12/12 saw India’s first art biennale open in Kochi. Spectacular artworks in incredible spaces came up amid chaos and uncertainty. Quite unlike the slick efficiency that we associate with the now well established India Art Fair. It’s nice to have both, the chaos of creativity in the inception of a biennale, and the efficiency of private enterprise cementing a successful art fair in its fifth edition this year at the NSIC Exhibition grounds from the 1-3 February, with the VIP opening on 31st January.
Over a hundred galleries will display over a thousand established and emerging artists. Neha Kirpal, founder, has “seen a significant increase in interest from Asia, which includes galleries, museums and individual collectors from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.” Sandy Angus, co-owner of India Art Fair feels, “with our international network which includes new art fairs launching next year in Shanghai, Istanbul and London, as well as initiatives in Latin America, [this] will also help in India Art Fair’s international outreach.”
From the first year the presence of Mumbai galleries has grown. Chemould Prescott Road, given pole position the last two years, has a large booth that will showcase nine artists, stellar crowd pullers as well as artists from their stable of well established younger ones. Anju and Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat and Shilpa Gupta, Desmond Lazaro and L.N. Tallur, Mithu Sen, Archana Hande and Lavanya Mani are up for the picking.
Prajakta Potnis, 3:37 am, acrylic and dry pastel on archival paper, 30'' x 40", 2012; Courtesy The Guild Art Gallery.
The cost of the booth has gone up over the years. Is this the reason or part reason for galleries teaming up to share a booth and semi curate a dialogue between artists? Gallery Perdriolle and Gallery Maskara continue the dialogue from the last year showing Jagdish Swaminathan adjoining Prashant Pandey, Priyanka Choudhary, Shine Shivan and T. Venkanna. Chatterjee and Lal, sharing a booth with Delhi-based Photoink hopes “that by placing works of the two galleries in the same space, some interesting visual associations can be formed.” To be featured this year are Nikhil Chopra, Hetain Patel, Aditya Pande, Sahej Rahel, Sadanand Shirke, Kiran Subbaiah and Nityan Unnikrishnan.
Gallery Sakshi though, has not one but three booths this year, two that showcase solo shows by K G Subramanyan and Rekha Rodwittiya and in their main booth a mixture of Indian and foreign artists, from Sumedh Rajendran to Julian Opie and Waswo X. Waswo among many others; it’s a vast choice.
The Guild has multiple presences at the fair: a solo booth with T.V. Santosh’s works, Ravi Agarwal, Baiju Parthan, Pooja Iranna in the video lounge and Prajakta Potnis, Charwei Tsai, Rakhi Peswani and others in their main booth.
Galerie Mirchandani & Steiruecke have a well curated booth of three artists of the same generation (born in the 80s) working “between figuration and abstraction”, Manish Nai in sculpture, Surabhi Saraf in video and Tanya Goel in painting.
Ranbir Kaleka, Long sleep of the story teller, oil on canvas, 9 ft by 7 ft; Courtesy of the artist and Volte Gallery.
Project 88 and Lakeeren have a range of gallery artists; Volte is focusing on Ranbir Kaleka and Sheba Chachchi and also showing work of their next artist in Mumbai, star draw William Kentridge. Cymroza Art Gallery has been a fixture from the first art fair, The LOFT and Art Musings are regulars, and The Viewing Room and Priyasri Art Gallery will be showing as well this year.
Last year’s shift from Pragati Maidan to the the NSIC Exhibition gardens saw a swishier, more organized fair. Wider aisles allowed for easier negotiations for both perusing art and buying it as conversations could happen. This year, the Speakers' Forum is a well laid out schedule with cultural theorists Geeta Kapur, Ranjit Hoskote, curators Chuz Martinez, Adriano Pedrosa, Barbara London, Akiko Miki and Sandhini Poddar, and the Dean, Yale School of Art, Robert Storr are among a list of many speaking on Art and its Unsolicited Domains; The When and the Where of the Global Contemporary; Art in the Age of Uprising and other investigations in a programme devised by curator Gayatri Sinha.
There’s a lot happening outside of the fair. The Skoda Prize will announce its winner from the shortlist of L.N.Tallur, Srinivasa Prasad, CAMP and Shilpa Gupta who will receive the award from South African artist William Kentridge on February 1 at a ceremony hosted by the Czech embassy. The exhibition of the twenty artists in the Skoda long list opens at the National Gallery of Modern Art on January 29. Also happening around town: At SaffronArt Delhi, an exhibition of Indian Folk and Tribal Art opens on February 1 as a run up to their auction later in the month. And Art Consulting, Project 88 and the Instituto Italiano di Cultura host a performance by Neha Choksi on February 2 at the Italian Cultural Institute.
It’s to be seen if the yearly increasing footfall matches increased sales this year.
See you in New Delhi!
(Image on top: Hema Upadhyay, Mute Migration, Installation view, 2008; Courtesy of the artist and Chemould Prescott Road, Booth S10.)