Sunday, December 30, 2012

Caution, Quality reigned in the art market

THE recovering art market following the meltdown of the last few years brought along with it a degree of caution, heightened awareness about quality, more bargaining to get value for money and bigger can­vases and ambition in the world of Indian contem­porary and modern art in 2012.

India also saw the inauguration of its first art biennale at Kochi Dec 12, drawing on a cast of 88 artists from 34 countries and 1.500 performers. Business picked up this year powered by the new segmems of young buyers who looked or afford­able art to begin new collections, brisk e-commerce. a diversified and buoyant auction market and new art fairs like the United Art Fair pushing education and hand-holding to new levels for first-time buy­ers.

Galleries with deeper pockets and a new rush of private archives - owned by collectors and entre­preneurs - have given fresh life to exhibitions with multi-media displays that are more interactive, long-haul and socially relevant. Art, in some ways, freed itself from the confines of institutionalised spaces to move to democratic and public venues to trigger fresh dialogue and engagement between people. issues. aesthetics and soci­eties at large. Since the beginning of this year art was used as a frequent tool for soft diplomacy with the government hosting South Asian art camps and galleries choreographing their group showcases with Asian, western and Indian artists to facilitate cultural exchanges. The globalisation of Indian an changed track in 2012, with art falling back on tra­ditional nuns to compete with western ethos in international arenas - at biennales and art fairs across Asia. Europe and the US. Till a few years ago. an emerging group of artists was aping the West to develop a universal global language in art with new media expressions - to address issues common to the world, art analysts said.

Artist Paresh Maity, who was honoured with die Dayawati Mody Award for 2012 for contribution to art and culture. said: "Indian artists could have a different language. hut the content had to he from our culture."

Two major exhibitions mirrored the nuanced his­tory of Indian art. "Indian Highways" was a travelling exhibition of contemporary Indian art in China reflecting new social realities within die mosaic of Indian sensibilities, while "The Last Harvest: Sesquicentennial Exhibition of Paintings by Tagore," was a collection of nearly 100 paint­ings that came to the country in November.

A series of South Asian and ASEAN artists' camps and exhibitions backed by the government opened up new engagements in the regional front to look at shared real­ities.
"Art fairs, galleries to the Kochi Biennale... Artists are getting snore ambi­tious. Works are get­ting larger but our aesthetics still remain decorative - ground­ed in Indian figurat ive motifs. Our legacy has always been decorative. And the world which has gone through major changes in art is coming round to appreci­ating our decorative aesthetics. I genuinely think it is India's moment in the sun," art critic, curator and writer Kishore Singh told IANS.

Everybody was trying to make an more social­ly revelant in an attempt to think out of the box.

Article Source : Madhushree Chaterjee for Hitwada