old wine in a new bottle?
in conversation with: pooja sood
not to miss:
no parsi is an island when high art and low art meet
writing on the wall
Dear Friends, Welcome to the second anniversary issue of The Wall! It’s that time of the year again when India Art Fair rolls out its red carpet but this time it fails to impress, bringing back some new works in the same old packaging.There is lack of innovation in terms of art works and layout alike. As far as foreign participants are concerned we didn’t see many galleries returning from last year’s edition. Do read our cover story and get a critical take, different from the rest of the media, on the 6th edition of India Art Fair. However, India Art Fair deserves credit for some spectacular exhibitions put up prior and running parallel to the fair. We hope that a ripple effect is created in terms of events around the year leading up to a much better show next year. At the Wall, we believe that long term engagements and sustained activities are the key to reviving the Indian art scene as a whole, and no one does this better than Pooja Sood, Director of Khoj - India’s largest not - for - profit art initiative, featured this month in The Gallerist. Meanwhile, do your bit in supporting the art scene by heading to the nearest exhibition and if you still miss it,subscribe to The Wall and watch all the news on The Wall Art TV. Warm wishes Kapil
in this issue: Cover Story
India Art Fair 2014 : Hit or Miss this time round?
This month’s selection of high priced works from premier galleries and auction houses across the country.
Subodh Gupta’s iconic masterpiece from the stellar retrospective at NGMA Delhi
Our selection of events for you to go through at your convenience
Our selection of works for those starting out on their journey of collecting art
Wonderall shared with The Wall the best of its recent exhibition ‘i’
We give you our review of the JW Marriott, Jaipur.
We bring you two great shows across two metros - Jerry Pinto’s take on ‘No Parsi Is An Island’ and The Wall’s review of ‘When High Art Meets Low Art’
Stephanie Samuel speaks to Pooja Sood the director of India’s largest not- for-profit art initiave, Khoj.
Glimpses from the India Art Fair 2014
same art, nothing new
1.Deebjyoti Kalita’s work at Latitude 28 2. ’Aura’ by Subodh Gupta, presented by GALLERYSKE 3. ’The Last Supper’ as envisioned by Raseel Gujral
BY T H E WALL EDITO RIAL T EAM
7. Cluttered Claustrophobic ...are words that flashed across our minds as we made our rounds of the 6th edition of India Art Fair. Everything was the same old same old, with nothing to hold the viewer’s attention. When the India Art Fair moved to its current location at NSIC grounds in 2012, they raised the bar by putting up a fair of international standards. However, stagnation seems to have set in since then. Innovation is lacking in terms of the layout; it was very claustrophobic. Even on the day of the VIP preview, people were jostling with each other, negotiating their way among a labyrinth created by the many unnecessary walls. There
were simply no memorable works at the fair and it was missing some cutting – edge contemporary art. Many collectors experienced déjà vu and we know of a few who exited the fair in 30 minutes. Conversely, there were a few elements like an interior designer’s booth and jewellery’s designer’s collection which was unveiled on the VIP preview day which had nothing to do with the art fair.
7.Anjali Sultania at Pallette Art 8. Work by Chris Bracey at SCREAM London 9. Atul Dodiya for Vadhera Art Gallery
Don’t get us wrong.
4. Valay Shende’s metallic clothesline at Sakshi Gallery 5.Jitish Kallat at Nature Morte 6. Valay Shende at Sakshi Gallery
We’re not criticizing but we feel that this part could have been balanced only if these too spoke a contemporary language or, even better, if the organisers flew down the
top 10 international contemporary galleries on their own expense. This would have really set a benchmark and ensured the return of foreign and Indian galleries alike. Also,making a paid star appearance to click some photographs and make an exit in 15 minutes,like Sonam Kapoor did is a bit childish,come in and pose with some pictures and that will take art sales up ?! Also,to give out false figures of sell outs is something that fools no one,even if a gallery sells nothing,they will always say,fantastic response,more than half the works are sold out hoping someone will bite the
bait and come to buy! Fair Director, Neha Kirpal at the press conference, may have called India Art Fair as the platform for foreign galleries to tap into the immense wealth of the Indian art market and secure long-term engagements, but the real picture doesn’t look so promising. Of the 40 international galleries that participated last year only 22 have returned, bringing the total count of foreign participators to a mere 26. Big names in Indian art scene were also missing, like Chatterjee & Lal and Project88. The latter gallery will instead be seen at the Dhaka Art Summit to be held next week and later at the 3rd edition of Frieze: New York.
The Guild too didn’t take up booth space, instead choosing to support Riyas Komu’s Art Project for the fair. We tried to do a top ten list of works that caught our attention and sadly came to just 8. We loved the Rameshwar Broota work at Vadehra Art Gallery as well as the Atul Dodiya, Avinash Veeraghavan at Galleryske (in spite of the exorbitant printing cost, the work was just phenomenal), the Broken TV by Deepjyoti Kalita at Latitude 28. We saw at least two eager buyers in front of the Thota Vaikuntam work at Art Alive and know that it is a sure – sale, given its visual appeal (even though all Vaikuntam
(Left) An interesting exhibit outside Srine Empire’s booth (Above)Valay Shende’s bronze onion had many fooled at Sakshi Gallery
works look similar!). At the Sakshi Art Gallery booth, the Surendaran Nair work caught our eye as did Morvarid K. At Wonderwall. Our final pick would be the Subodh Gupta showcased by Gallery Continua from Italy.
Photographs by Gagan D. Bharti
1. One of the artworks on display 2. Galerie Klaus Benden brought in some pieces by Andy Warhol 3.Works exhibited at SCREAM, London 4. Pallette Art Gallery 5. ’The Last Supper’ as envisioned by Raseel Gujral
6. One of the works at Latitude 28 7. Iconic ‘Chintu’ by Chintan Upadhyay 8. DIE GALERIE flew down a collection of Picasso’s for the Fair. 9. Anish Kapoor for Absolut 10. Deepjyoti Kalita’s ‘Broken TV’ at Latitude 28 was one of our top favourites from the Fair.
We also give full credit to India Art Fair for taking the art scene in this country to a higher level. The allied events that have been taking place in the run up to the fair and while it is on, are something that the whole art world looks forward too. In fact, the main activity is happening outside the fair rather than inside – Lado Sarai’s Art Night, Khoj Studio’s ‘Word.Sound. Power ‘.Roobina’s curated show at Kiran Nadar Museum was spectacular to say the least.
So finally, if you haven’t made it to the art fair yet, frankly you haven’t missed much but we do insist you attend all the ancillary activities and shows that have been curated around the fair, which are far more interesting than the fair itself. We do hope that the organizers really do materialize the year-long cultural calendar which they mentioned to the press. This we feel is what would “transform an occasional buyer to a passionate collector.”
G.R. Iranna at Aicon Gallery
Jitish Kallat at Nature Morte (Above)
We do hope that next year India Art Fair challenges expectations and these are our suggestions for achieving that end:-
Again, we say that IAF should consider either personally bringing in or subsidising the entry of top international galleries, who will surely bring an edge.
Secondly, let artists work on specific projects like Saffron Art’s ‘Monumental to the Odd,’ which could have been debuted here, a large number of works that have never been seen. That would have given a spark to the event.
Also, many exhibitors don’t have real ‘gallery spaces’ and have just opened ‘transaction shops’ hoping to close sales in these 4 days. Such elements are not healthy for the already ailing Indian art market and we feel that the organisers should look into this issue and focus on quality rather than quantity.
Support International artists and/or galleries who can bring in cutting edge art. The images from Rashid Rana’s work in 2012 and the works by White Cube and Lisson are still fresh in our memories.
We pen this down, sipping coffee outside the exhibitor hall, knowing that weâ€™re not missing much.
(sitting L to R) Wol Balston (Flint PR), Shireen Gandhy (Director, Chemould Prescott Road), Sandy Angus (co-owner, India Art Fair and Founder, Art14, London and ArtInternational, Istanbul), Neha Kirpal (Founder - Director, India Art Fair) and Philip Dodd (Director, Made in China), at the press conference for India Art Fair 2014