India’s art junta will have its black books full next weekend. Galleries in both New Delhi and Mumbai will remain open late into the night to serve aesthetes flying into the country to attend the third instalment of the India Art Summit that will run in the Capital from 20-23 January.
Judging from the VIP events diary that lists the art openings, art book launches and networking events planned in and around the summit, it promises to be one big art frat party.
The summit spells business, however. Spread over 8,000 sq. ft, it will have 570 artists and 84 galleries from 20 countries exhibiting paintings, sculptures, photographs, mixed media, prints, installations, drawings, video art and performances. These numbers are double in every count from the numbers of its last edition in 2009. The organizers are expecting close to 40,000 visitors.
Not only has the summit grown in size and market potential, it has come of age in other ways too. This year, it includes several public art interventions—a staple of art fairs globally—that go beyond the commercial trappings of the art bazaar.
The curated art projects section, for instance, will have delights such as French graffiti duo L’Atlas & Tanc, who will work live at the venue. Artist Abhishek Hazra will engage unassuming visitors in a multimedia art experiment and graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee will lead a group of artists to explore a parallel universe of urban fantasies specific to the Capital, on two large 7x8ft panels. One of the most intriguing of these projects appears to be photographer Gauri Gill’s exhibition titled Hall of Technology, created over the many months Gill spent visiting Hall No. 18, the Hall of Technology where the Art Summit will be held. The photographer has tried to document the transformation of the space.
An expansive outdoor sculpture park promises to be the other big draw, with several big-ticket artworks in its fold. You won’t have to look too hard to spot the kitschy life-sized Nano sculpture by Singapore-based artist Ketna Patel by the entrance or artist Sudarshan Shetty’s 14ft coin-operated sculpture inside the entry foyer.
Also See | (Click here) To view a floor map of the India Art Summit 2011 with our highlights marked
Head to the speakers’ forum for some intellectual stimulation (although art fair lingo is often more confounding than explanatory). The forum will be led by veteran curators, museum directors, historians, artists and collectors. Star speakers this year include artist Anish Kapoor and Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery in London.
New additions this year comprise a dedicated solo projects section where galleries will host artists such as Thukral & Tagra (Nature Morte) and F.N. Souza (Rob Dean Art). This section will have smaller stalls than the rest of the summit but will enable collectors and visitors to engage with an artist’s work at a more intimate level. The summit’s director, Neha Kirpal, believes this small but significant section will be the “soul” of the summit.
If that doesn’t stir you, what surely will is the art store, another new inclusion, which will have limited-edition art books and merchandise that is sure to talk to your wallets.