Friday, October 2, 2009

Walking through Art Expo India 2009 in Mumbai’s Nehru Centre, it’s hard to imagine that there is a global economic crisis: DAY-2

The second edition of Art Expo India witnessed participation of several art galleries as well art experts not only from India, but also internationally. In an insightful talk on the last day of the event, she discussed Indian art from a global perspective. There is also interest in the art scene in India from foreign buyers. Auctions of Indian art abroad have had paintings go for as much as $1.6m (Dh5.88m) last year. That was for a Husain work, but the other artists are also doing well, selling for tens of thousands of dollars. At the Korea International Art Fair, India was the guest country. At Art Expo India, the inaugural speech was by Kay Saatchi, the ex-wife of Charles Saatchi, and an art world doyenne in her own right. Today, there will be a talk by Kirsty Ogg, curator of the Whitechapel Gallery in London. “India is on the map,” she says, cheerfully. “The sales in London have been quite good, especially of a core group of Indian artists.” She believes the worst of the tough economic times is behind us: “It’s not quite as catastrophic anymore,” she says, adding: “Just because the sales have dropped, it doesn’t affect the intellectual value of the artwork.”

On eve of her participation at Art Expo India, She was interviewed by Pronoti Datta of TOI. In this post, we reproduce the interesting Q-n-A for the benefit of our readers:

Q: What's your view of the Indian art scene?
A: Over the last eight years, the representation of Indian art has been gaining on the international art scene. And not just on a commercial level. Artists have been appearing in exhibitions like Documenta, the Venice Biennale and publicly funded galleries. So there's a high visibility and awareness about Indian art.

There's also a range of media-from new media to photography-being used in India. What's interesting is that there are two sides to it (Indian art)-in terms of the form of the work that can slip into circulation on the international art scene and the context that has an Indian texture.

Q: Does Whitechapel plan to exhibit Indian art in the near future?
A: We're working on a massive show of Indian photography from the 1860s. It will look at the moment when India took control of the camera. There are the first studio portraits by Deendayal. Among the 70 photographers featured are Pushpamala, Dayanita Singh, Sheeba Chhachhi, Raghu Rai Raghubir Singh and Homai Vyarawala.

There's a real mix between fine art practices that use photography as the medium, documentary photography, straight photography and images that are part of NGO projects. The exhibit will be a virtual lesson in history with images from pre and post-partition India and snapshots from Pakistan as well as Bangladesh.

Q: How has the financial crisis affected art throughout the world?
A: England had a wobble but now things have stabilized. The situation was bad for Indian art because it was coming up on the wave. On the positive side, recession made people reassess basic questions like why have a gallery, who is the audience or who are the prospective buyers?

In Britain we've gone through good and bad times. In the late 1980s, there was a recession and galleries closed. People like Damien Hirst organized shows like ‘Freeze', which happened in a building in Canary Wharf. They didn't wait for a gallery. They made their own show. As artists you have to take a bit of authority. The fundamental questions artists need to answer are: ‘Who sees my work and who's buying my work?’

Just because your work sells, it's not necessarily good. You hope it sells to a good collector who takes care of it. Work quickly sold by a collector can undermine an artist's career. In fact, people start thinking whether the work is good or not.

The Ashok Art Gallery is internationally known for one of its most important holdings: more than 2000 major works by the world's most significant Artists.Over the past years, as Ashok Art Gallery has become a major centre for contemporary visual art, the Gallery has built a strong collection of contemporary work of different artists. became a sponsor of the STANDUP-SPEAKOUT Artshow, Organized by Art Of Living Foundation and United Nations.Organized an International Contenmporary Art Exhibition including artists from USA, The Nederlands, Pakistan and India.We have also participated at Art Expo India Mumbai and India Art Summit New Delhi.


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