Friday, January 21, 2011

India Art Summit3: Aaam Aadmi’s Day In

India Art Summit Edition 3, 2011 (IAS). Welcome to the mother of all art fairs in India. Today, as far as the art scene in India is concerned all roads lead to Pragati Maidan, the permanent venue for all the national and international industrial exhibitions in Delhi. Art has not got industrial status yet. There are moves towards it. So wait for that. But there would be a problem. If you go by the old Marxian theories (ahem…we don’t want critics from the age of Dinosaurs), in any industry, there would be machines and alienated workers. Guess who would be the alienated workers in such a scenario.

Eighty four galleries and five hundred works of art. If you are healthy enough you can see all in one day. Even if someone would see all those exhibits in one go, I am sure he/she would come back on the next day not to absorb aesthetics but to absorb the ambience. You may be critical about the kind of art here, but you will be really proud of your ‘Delhi’, according to Girish Shahane, a place that ‘sucks’ all other metros dry. Hello Girish…good to see you here.

Winter and art. Delhi looks like any European city. To make it completely European, the government should disperse the population as in the ironical expression of Gigi Scaria in his work titled ‘Keep Delhi Clean’. Don’t look for it. It is not here in the IAS. Instead, a giant wheel constructed out of urban architectural motifs would welcome you right after the gate. Kudos to Gigi Scaria. This time luckily you don’t have too many imitators.

Young policemen behave extremely well. Only the private security personals will question you. The IAS makes every one very special. Each person inside and outside the Hall Number 18 at Pragati Maidan looks as if he/she is very important and is expected to play a very significant role in the art scene. Thank you IAS for making us feel responsible and good.

Last year Subodh Gupta’s masked figures welcomed you at the Sculpture park along with Iranna’s Dead Donkey, K.S.Radhakrishnan’s Selkit, Vibha’s Heaving Architecture and Jeff Gupta’s Ved Koon avatar..err sorry Ved Gupta’s Jeff Koon avatar. Hi Ved, you look smart in your retro hair do. But please remove those goggles once in a while to show your eyes to the public. At the Threshold Stall your painting sucks extremely. But your sculptures raise interest.

This year Subodh Gupta is predictable with his vessels filled rickshaw, though Nature Morte has a special solo booth for him. Mansoor Ali’s Dance of Democracy is special only because it is big. Akshay Rathode, have you seen Rimzon’s Far Away from Hundred and Eight Feet installation? If not please see it. Anjum Singh, why do you do forced installations? Adip Dutta, your cage made out of industrial steel wool does not surprise me. Graffiti filled Nano. Anybody heard about Ratan Tata and Narendra Modi? No inter-textual and intra-textual and sub-textual readings please…you sucking critic.

At Gallery 320, New Delhi’s stall I saw this sculpture. A suitcase with a Take on Art’s paper bag on it. I looked for the artist’s name. But soon I realized that it was kept there by some visitor. In IAS you will feel like looking for art in anything and everything.

I saw this Husain hidden behind a cabin under a layer of Souza’s drawings. SAHMAT people, don’t worry, Husain is ‘adequately’ represented this year.

Thank you Geetika Goel of the Delhi Art Gallery and Kanika of the Gallery Espace for giving me passes to ferry in the pass-less art students from Kerala. I had approached the IAS authorities to spare a few passes for those students. At the help desk none was there to help me. Finally one girl came who said she was ‘helpless’ as the pass distributing authority was someone else. Initially I thought of flashing my personal card to prove that I was some one in the art field. Then the years behind me (42 in total) prompted me to ask myself this question: Who are you, after all, an art critic?

The best that I noticed for the day: Gigi Scaria, Vivek Vilasini, Hans Op de Beeck, Sudarshan Shetty, Manjunath Kamath, Prajakta Potnis, Pors and Rao, Tukral and Tagra, G.R.Iranna (he strikes back with his paintings, Karl Antao and.. I will tell you tomorrow.

(The observations are purely personal. Poor quality photographs are by me)


Hari said...

hi JML, good review,
i like the text from atuldodiya's painting. and waiting for your sequel about the IAS.


SK said...

Hi JML, enjoying reading your blog and about the IAS!
Seema Khanwalkar


Hey Johny,
You are my eyes and ears to the IAS, (I missed it)
Extremely smart and enjoyable posts, feels like I am actually experiencing your observations :)
Thanks a ton!