A DAY FOR ART
From 29th Jan – 1st Feb 2015, the NSIC Grounds in South Delhi were transformed into a giant Art Exhibition, featuring artists from several parts of the world. With a moderate beginning 7 years ago, India Art Fair has now become India’s premier modern and contemporary art fair. With 85 exhibiting galleries in a total of 95 booths, this year’s India Art Fair boasted of being one the biggest artistic event in the country.
The first work of art the visitors saw was literally spread over the street – a 100 meter long message stencilled onto the asphalt approach by ‘Daku’; a New Delhi based Graffiti artist who wants to remain anonymous.
The first art I encountered inside was ‘Postcard from the Future’ by Mehreen Murtaza, a Pakistani Artist who claims to be building a time traveling machine in her bio.
After checking out several booths and artworks, I was made to stop by a painting staring right at me outside a gallery. It was a work by Partha Pratim Deb and on looking up, I realised that I had stumbled over the prestigious ‘Aakriti Art Gallery’. After entering the gallery, another surprise was waiting for me inside — famous Indian artist Satish Gujral was there. For those who don’t know who this man is, Satish Gujral dominated the art scene in India for the entire post-independent era. I still remember when my father took me to one of his galleries (my very first art gallery) when I was a kid. But now this 89 years old Padma Vibhushan awardee was sitting in a wheelchair. I was told by the gallery attendant that Mr Gujral doesn’t remember much these days. The Last time I saw this man was when we both were much younger.
Feeling nostalgic, I got out of the gallery and entered the VIP Lounge which was turned into a heavily priced food court. This was the first time I saw Vodka being sold in a food court. But then I remembered that this vodka brand was one of the many sponsors of the fair. So after eating what I could afford I got out of the VIP lounge to the regular people gallery area.
The next artwork that made me stop was ‘Threshold into a Dream’ by T.V. Santosh. Here it was a giant scaled model of Mumbai’s Victoria Terminus, tilted 45 degrees from the ground. The structure’s ticking timers gave me a sense of strange eeriness, like something bad is going to happen. I stared at it for a good over 2 minutes.
But soon, I gave up and moved ahead where I found my most favourite art project of the whole fair; it was an electric writer. The project was ‘Emotive Sounds of the Electric Writer’ by Nandita Kumar. Nandita collected several hand written from all over the world and fed them to this electric printer that printed all these letters on a single sheet of paper. While printing, the machine randomly stopped when given complex information, leaving blots on the paper that resembled a musical score. Absolutely one of the most beautiful things I ever saw in my life!
Next I stopped by the booth of Indian visual artist Krishna Murari. Krishna uses mannequins by transforming them into a work of art. It was like a being inside a hallucination.
After Krishna’s LSDesque art, I stumbled upon a beautiful painting in three pieces. It was a cityscape created with colours and the tones and shadows of the work were just mesmerising. The Artist was Miguel Angel Iglesias Fernandes. I checked out more of his work and fell in love right there. After coming home, I googled him and followed him on Facebook where I found more of his work that was right up my alley.
And so it was time for me to get out of the fair. While coming out, I saw that the backyard of the fair was transformed into a food festival. Several tents were serving multitudes of visitors and the chilly evening was getting warmer by the people who were still coming in.
This is where I noticed another art installation — an exteriors of a house being crawled by several giant bugs. This was ‘Procession’ by Paresh Maity and was an installation of 50 ants, paying tribute to the resolute character of the ants to their humble achievements. I quickly snapped a picture and walked out of the fair. At the end of the road, I encountered Daku’s road graffiti, and what it said in the end summed up the whole fair. “This is… “
Art is what you make out of it!