India Art Fair opens, asserts a return to the physical world

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“The Pandemic was bound to leave an imprint on the minds of artists, something one can see in many artworks here, including mine. We are seeing it as a metaphor for multiple emotions that connect not just with the immediate external,” artist Veer Munshi tells IANS during the opening of the India Art Fair (April 28-May 1).

For artist G.R. Iranna, whose works are being shown by multiple galleries, the fair is not just an opportunity to showcase one’s works.

“What we have been missing for the past few years was interaction, not just with fellow artists but also visitors. Someone like me derives inspiration and ideas from the world, and that does not happen when you are constantly surrounded by walls,” he says.

Presenting 77 exhibitors across 16 cities, including 14 non-profit foundations and institutions, the fair helmed by Jaya Asokan for the first time since her appointment in April 2021 spotlights the next generation of artists alongside modern masters through initiatives, including auditorium talks, performances, outdoor art projects, artist-led workshops and an online symposium in the run-up to the fair.

The latest edition also witnesses participation from Kochi Biennale Foundation, Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation and Serendipity Arts, among others.

Besides, major art galleries, including Vadehra Art Gallery, Nature Morte, Gallery Espace, Blueprint12 (all New Delhi), Experimenter, Emami Art and Akar Prakar (all Kolkata), TARQ, Tao Art Gallery, Jhaveri Contemporary, Chatterjee & Lal (all Mumbai), Gallery Veda, Art Houz, Apparao Galleries (all Chennai), Kalakriti Art Gallery (Hyderabad) and GALLERYSKE (Bengaluru/ New Delhi).

Presentations by legacy galleries — Dhoomimal Art Gallery, DAG (both New Delhi) and Archer Art Gallery (Ahmedabad), seven Indian galleries are debuting at the 2022 fair: APRE Art House (Mumbai), Art Incept (Gurugram/New Delhi), Gallery Art Exposure (Kolkata), Modern Art Gallery (New Delhi), Ojas Art (New Delhi), Terrain.art (New Delhi) and Vida Heydari Contemporary (Pune), the fair is also expanding its digital presence through website editorial and films, a range of online talks, workshops and exhibition walkthroughs, as well as the IAF Parallel programme, including events and exhibitions of Indian and South Asian art, taking place in cities across India and the world.

Jaya Asokan, Fair Director of India Art Fair, says, “India Art Fair’s return to its physical format has been a cause of great excitement for the Indian and South Asian art scene. The energy we have seen so far has been incredible, not just from our returning galleries and patrons but also from a whole new generation and base of artists, art lovers and young collectors. Coming out of the pandemic, the 2022 edition marks the beginning of a new era for Indian and South Asian art, with tremendous domestic demand and great potential for growth both regionally and on the global stage. We are proud to have BMW India as our Presenting Partner for the 6th year in a row.”

Alongside the main section of the fair, ‘Focus’ showcases solo presentations curated by participating galleries, including Sudip Roy by Aakriti Art Gallery (Kolkata), Chetnaa by Anupa Mehta Arts (Mumbai), Stephen Cox by Apparao Galleries (Chennai, New Delhi), Thota Vaikuntam by Emami Art (Kolkata), P.R. Daroz by Gallerie Nvya (New Delhi), Ankon Mitra by Gallery Art Positive (New Delhi), Vinod Daroz by Kalakriti Art Gallery (Hyderabad) and Christian Achenbach by Galerie ISA (Mumbai).

The ‘Institutions’ section returns with cultural festivals, collectives and non-profit foundations from the region, including Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation, Kochi Biennale Foundation, Aravani Art Project, Kolkata Centre for Creativity, Space Studio, HH Art Spaces, Museo Camera, Alkazi Theatre Archives, Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art, Liszt Institute Hungarian Cultural Centre, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Serendipity Arts.

‘Outdoor Art Projects’ include large-scale installations presented by institutions extending across the fairgrounds.

‘The Studio’, a brand new space at the fair this year will be dedicated to making bridges across creative fields beyond visual art, especially technology. Bringing a spirit of playfulness to the fair, the wide range of projects in ‘The Studio’ include games from the artist duo Thukral and Tagra.

This year’s ‘Artists in Residence’ programme features fresh young talent whose voices resonate with the wider public. From Indu Antony, Haroun Hayward, Gurjeet Singh to Arpita Akhanda, artists in this section will lead specialist workshops, presentations and performances that address some of the most pertinent issues in the art world through their works.

The ‘Auditorium Talks Programme’ will witness talks, panels and performances by leading voices in the art world — from artists to curators, gallerists and collectors. These include the BMW Art Talk with celebrated Indian artist Atul Dodiya in conversation with gallerist Shireen Gandhy; a Collector Talk by Kiran Nadar, with Dinesh Vazinrani; a film presentation and talk by South Asian diasporic artist Hetain Patel; artist presentations by India Art Fair Artists in Residence Haroun Hayward and Indu Antony; the launch of a seminal publication on 20th Century Indian Art published by Thames & Hudson and Art Alive.

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