New Delhi: The final countdown has begun. In just about a week, the much awaited India Art Fair will start at the NSIC Grounds, Okhla, in New Delhi.
Held for the first time in 2008, the India Art Fair, previously known as India Art Summit, is an annual event that is held over three-days. The first three editions were held at Pragati Maidan after which the venue was shifted to the NSIC grounds. The fifth edition, to be held between 1 and 3 February 2013, with VIP preview on 31 January, will bring together 106 exhibiting galleries form 24 countries, presenting more than 1,000 of the most exciting artists from across India and the world. (The fair was not held in 2010.)
Though Indian exhibits make up for more than half of the total exhibits, the fair has seen increasing enthusiasm from foreign participants. The 2013 edition will feature 42 international galleries from countries such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Isreal, Korea, Latvia, Turkey, Pakistan and Russia.
Over the years, the fair has developed into a marquee event in Indian culture event. So much so, that Christie’s is bringing a group of its own VIPs to the India Art Fair this year. Says Amin Jaffer, international director of Asian art at Christie’s, “There is no better place to see a range of emerging artistic talent from India today than at the India Art Fair. Many collectors of international contemporary art are interested in knowing more about the Indian art scene.”
“The Art Fair is a key event in the Indian cultural calendar. The growth in the appreciation of contemporary art from India is the responsibility of us all—auction houses, organizers, curators, gallerists and exhibitors,” Jaffer adds.
Jaffer’s enthusiasm is justified. And participants concur. Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, which has been a regular since the second edition, says, “We have had a great experience with India Art Fair, which has been consistently improving every year. The event has become a destination of sorts for anyone interested in art, be it Indians or foreigners. The organizers have succeeded in ensuring that the quality of the fair is at par with some of the most important art fairs across the globe. We have received a great response every time from collectors and viewers alike.”
Austria’s Galerie Krinzinger, which has been participating for the past two years, says, the response “has been very good for us. We made interesting contacts and good sales”.
Neha Kirpal, founding director of the India Art Fair, says that the focus of this edition of the fair is on developing new audiences and giving a boost of energy to the Indian market. The idea is to attract both new buyers, who seek to broaden their understanding, and established ones who are on the lookout for new talent.
In its previous four editions, the fair has exhibited works of artists such as Picasso, Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Miró, Mark Chagall, Marina Abramovic, M.F. Husain, S H Raza, F.N. Souza and Anish Kapoor among others. It has been visited by 260,000 people from over 60 cities during its previous editions.
Krinzinger is concentrating on three artists this time around: Sudarshan Shetty from India, Marina Abramovic from New York and Eva Schlegel from Austria.
Vadehra is showcasing artworks by modern as well as contemporary artists, many of whom have made new work especially for the fair. Some of the highlights include a work from Atul Dodiya’s rolling shutter series depicting Gandhi, a neon light work by Shilpa Gupta, Nalini Malani’s reverse paintings on acrylic, and so on.
“For the serious collector it is a chance to see the best in one space. For the aspiring collector it is an opportunity to see a quantity of quality works, diverse in medium, with an opportunity to acquire within a range of budgets. For everyone, it is an opportunity to learn, by seeing, by engaging and by participating. I can’t wait!” Jaffer says.
What: India Art Fair, 5th edition
Where: NSIC Exhibition Ground, Okhla, New Delhi
When: 1-3 February, 1.30pm to 7.30pm
VIP preview: 31 January