The 10th year of the India Art Fair, or the IAF, heralds a new chapter for the event. This is the first edition under the leadership of its new director, Jagdip Jagpal, and viewers are raring to experience the fair in a whole new avatar. Presented in partnership with the BMW Group, the IAF team aims to offer greater access to South Asia’s cultural wealth — including galleries, private institutions, collectives, and festivals — through expanded programming. With new exhibition spaces, greater focus on vernacular arts and higher representation from Indian galleries, the India Art Fair 2018 promises to be an edition with a difference.
India Art Fair 2018: Looking Inwards
Looking inwards Ever since she donned this new role, Jagdip Jagpal has wanted the fair to focus a lot more on Indian galleries. “I hope that we will move to a position where the fair is say, two-thirds Indian exhibitors and contributors, and one-third galleries from abroad,” she had mentioned in an interview. And indeed, this year, one will see a strong representation from Indian galleries, thereby enabling a deeper engagement with local artists as well as those from South Asia.
Some of the participants include Chatterjee & Lal, Jhaveri Contemporary, Threshold Art Gallery, Latitude 28, Chemould Prescott Road, Experimenter, Gallery Espace, Vadehra Art Gallery, and more. Each of these is bringing a diverse array of art practices – contemporary and cutting-edge — to the fair. For instance, Dhoomimal, established in 1936 and one of the oldest contemporary art galleries in the country will present works of stalwarts such as Anjolie Ela Menon, FN Souza and J Swaminathan. In sharp contrast will be the array of works by Rana Begum and Manisha Parekh at the Jhaveri Contemporary booth. Tarq, will also be presenting art that is process-driven and provoking by Rithika Merchant, Saubiya Chasmawala and Soghra Khurasani. One will get to see different facets to established artists as well, through initiatives such as the ‘Drawing Wall’, put together by Gallery Espace.
A new look at the moderns
One of the key focus areas for Jagpal, from the very outset, was to ensure that the modernists and their stories were better represented at the India Art Fair. And one will see this happen through exhibitions such as Navratna—Nine Gems by the DAG, which will pay tribute to India’s national treasures like Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, and Jamini Roy. While the show will highlight each artist’s distinct oeuvre, a common thread of nationalism will run through the works. One will get to see pages from Raja Ravi Varma’s sketchbook, depicting his preparatory works, Nandalal Bose’s landmark Jorasanko Studio, depicting its regular habitués such as Abanindranath Tagore and AK Coomaraswamy, and also the only relief sculpture made by Amrita Sher-Gil, depicting tigers in plaster-of-Paris, which has never been shown in public.
A first-of-its kind space
The IAF 2018 will have, for the first time a dedicated space for large-scale installations. Titled Art Projects, the space will feature works by G Ravinder Reddy, Shilpa Gupta, Tanya Goel, Subba Ghosh, Navjot Altaf and Zoya Siddiqui. Especially interesting, for the viewers, will be the meticulous work by South Korean artist, Timothy Hyunsoo Lee, to be presented by Sabrina Amrani from Madrid.
India Art Fair: Taking Vernacular Forward Even though there are many new facets to the fair, there is also certain threads, from previous editions, which will be continuing, to offer a sense of familiarity to the viewers. One of these is the focus on vernacular arts, as part of Platform, which acts as a springboard for emerging art practices and art collectives from South Asia. This, in some ways, carries forward the strain of Vernacular in flux, the theme of the 2017 edition, which was curated by Annapurna Garimella last year. This year, one will see Tribal Art Forms and Delhi Crafts Council make an appearance at the fair, and also the return of Pichvai Tradition and Beyond, in order to showcase a new interpretation of India’s rich vernacular art culture.
Published in Architectural digest: https://www.architecturaldigest.in/content/india-art-fair-new-delhi-2018-10th-edition-review/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ADIndia-SocialShareConversions&utm_content=BC06EAB6-B32A-269B-476D-2ABEB30D31C8#s-cust0