The third indian art summit promises to be more than a visual delight for art connoisseurs
The capital may be in the grip of an unprecedented cold wave, but the city's art scene is hotting up this January in the run-up to the third edition of India Art Summit. The three day fair, which will be held at Pragati Maidan from January 20 to 23, returns after a gap of more than a year much bigger and more high-profile than before. Eighty-four galleries will participate this time, compared to 2009's 55; 34 of them from abroad compared to only 17 last time. Even the space is much bigger — around 8,500 square metres as against 4,500 sqm in the 2nd edition — and more picturesque: hall no 18 with its beautiful dome ceiling.
As for the art, the organisers seem to have ranged far and near in their quest to present the full range of Indian modern and contemporary art, in all their diversity of media and practices, and a selection of international art as well. The big names here are masters such as Auguste Rodin, Juan Miro, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso (brought in mostly by Beck & Eggling from Dusseldorf and Die Galerie from Frankfurt); well-known contemporary artists such as Damien Hirst, Charlotte Mayer, Spencer Finch, Susan Weil, and Anish Kapoor, of course (he was the main draw at the Lisson Gallery booth last year).
In addition to a much larger sculpture court and video lounge, this year, the summit will have two new features. One, ‘Solo Projects’, which will have a gallery showcasing the entire range of one artist. The most popular section among exhibitors, Solo Projects got 200 applications of which 11 have been selected — FN Souza by Rob Dean, Pors and Rao, the husband-wife team from Bangalore, by Vadehra Art Gallery, Gyan Panchal, a Paris-based artist of Indian origin by Galerie Frank Elbaz, and so on.
‘Art Projects’ is the other new section at the art summit, showcasing eight works, mostly interactive, technology-based public art projects. Of these, one, ‘Art Tiger’ has already begun with 57 sculptures of tigers by different artists installed in various spots all across Delhi. At the summit there'll be Abhishek Hazra’s ‘Project FeedStation’ which will use online social media platforms such as blogs and Twitter “to engage and draw people into the summit”, says festival director Neha Kirpal. Another interesting work in this section will be Ketna Patel's transformation of the Tato Nano using Indian mosaic.
Then there’s an impressive list of speakers who will debate and explicate a range of issues affecting domestic and international art practice and trade. The pick of these will be Anish Kapoor talking to Homi Bhabha at noon on January 22.
It’s not just the art at Pragati Maidan; galleries all across the city are gearing up with innovative and high-profile shows.
Of these, there’s ‘The Otolith Trilogy’ by the London-based artist collective which was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010 which will open at Seven Arts Gallery in GK II on January 21. Then there’s Threshold Gallery's “Laugh Lines: Humour, Wit & Satire”, a show that looks at the less obvious comic strain in the work of artists from KG Subramanyam and Bhupen Khakhar to Ranbir Kaleka and Ved Gupta.
Also significant is Continuum, which opens at the Delhi Art Gallery on January 17 just before the art summit, a very large show of over 250 works by the Progressive Artists Group, the first showing of Souza, SH Raza, MF Husain, SK Bakre and KH Ara after 60 years. Alongside, the gallery will also unveil its much extended space in Hauz Khas — five galleries, a sculpture court, lounge, library and bookshop — staking claim to becoming an art destination and not just a gallery. Another large show is ‘Iconoclasts & Iconodules’ at Religare Art, bringing together a number of Indian artists such as Anita Dube, Reena Saini-Kallat and Gagandeep Singh with international artists.
Recent works of Yusuf Arakkal will be showcased at Art Alive Gallery, while Latitude 28 in Lado Sarai, now established as the capital’s art district, will showcase an interesting show called ‘The Pill’ commemorating 50 years of the pill with works by artists such as Abir Karmakar, Ayesha Durrani, Jaishri Abhichandani, Mithu Sen and Tushar Joag.