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Arty buzz called India Art Fair

Arty buzz called India Art Fair
Highlights

The 11th edition of India Art Fair held between January 31 and February 3 at NSIC Grounds in New Delhi, was as usual one of the well attended art...

The 11th edition of India Art Fair held between January 31 and February 3 at NSIC Grounds in New Delhi, was as usual one of the well-attended art shows of India. About 75 participants including galleries and independent artists, modern and contemporary, from India and the world over showcasing amazing creativity on one platform, the visitors that included seasoned artists, young students, interior decorators and serious collectors, a buzzing arena and well-curated art spaces – it was creative overdose – a welcome one at that.

It was indeed a great pleasure to see participants from homeland; Kalakriti Art Gallery – a regular now at the art fair showcased some of the early pencil and charcoal sketches and drawings of senior artist Thota Vaikuntham, and also, had the sculptures created recently by the senior artist, made in London. While the collection of paintings that also included a few watercolours gave an insight into the emergence of the artist as we know him today, the sculptures were an enriching addition to the collection. Ravinder Reddy’s sculptures draw your attention from wherever they are – be it the lobby of tech park or amidst a plethora of art in a fair. The bold-eyed and proud beauties of the artist were displayed by a Bengaluru-based gallery.

Then there was the typewriter in all its surrealistic splendour, an artistic style that has made the Hyderabad-based artist Anjaneyulu Gundu a name to reckon with in the best of the galleries. His recreation of the regular day to day articles, in this case, the almost extinct typewriter recreated in a bigger scale, so close to the original, yet with an accentuated allure and character of its own attracted the attention of a lot of visitors. Some of the rare earlier and recent works of Laxma Goud were displayed by quite a few galleries participating in the fair, and evidently, there were a few MF Husain’s Elephant series etc, on display.

Art Alive Gallery that showcased Anjaneyulu’s typewriter, also exhibited photographer Rohit Chawla’s ‘The Artist, Unboxed’ series – visual sculptures that began as a photograph of the famous artists’ spaces, their studios mostly and then Rohit added an additional dimension and as a paradox the works actually come boxed in frames typical of his earlier works as well.
Yet another body of photographic works that captured famous artists in their most candid frame and almost life-like photographic prints were by eminent photographer Ram Rahman displayed by The Guild gallery. Krishna Reddy’s working with his woodcut tools in his studio and posing with the printmaking machine and MF Husain painting a horse, Anjolie Ela Menon in a pensive mood, Manu Parekh, FN Souza were all there relaxing, laughing, posing and working, making for memorable photographs.

Among the spectacular sculptures on display were one of the most arresting models made in stainless steel and bronze by Dhananjay Singh. Beautiful, intricate and brilliant in their re-interpreting of the tree of life in all its complexities.

A large body of works of master artists from Europe and Asia, who had done commissioned work in India in the 18th and 19th centuries was quite an educative one. It brought to fore the influence and confluence of various schools of arts and how these artists’ portraits and paintings document the way of life of the times. Francoise Lafugie, a French artist, who painted in the modern art deco style was in India in 1925, and she painted the portraits of Maharajas and Nawabs including the Nawab of Hyderabad, townscapes and views of magnificent palaces. Horace Van Ruith, a European painter was symbolic of the internationalism of art during the 19th century. He established a studio in India in 1879 and was commissioned by the Europeans as well as Indian maharajas. He also painted common people going about their daily work. During the 18th and 19th centuries, there was an exchange between Chinese artists and Indian patrons and their works with a distinctive Chinese style can be found in Kutch, Indore, Mysore, and Mumbai. One of the Devi paintings on display, for example, displays a variety of styles. The costumes take from Western and South Indian style – the Odhini displays Gujarati and Rajputana style, headgear from Mughals, the prabhavali aureole flames from South India.

A wide array of textile art by different artists and artisans too was an engaging feature. Especially, Interface – New Narratives in Chamba Rumal – that can be termed a way to revive the ancient embroidery technique where artists worked with artisans from Uttar Pradesh to create amazing scenes using handspun and handwoven cotton fabric as base and embroidery rendered in natural dyed, untwisted silk floss. The flawless and intricate technique recreated a chess board with topi-clad politicians for the pawns on a chess board. The speciality of the embroidery is that it looks the same on both sides of the fabric.

The installations in the art projects section, the audio-visual presentations, the visual treat of walking through some amazing works by the masters of Modern Art, caretakers of contemporary art, the young artists and their irreverence to form, India Art Fair is all that and more.

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