By Rahul Kumar
What is art without its viewers? Between the maker (artist), the creation (art), and the viewer, would the snapping of any one link, not translate to an incomplete artistic expression? Among the diverse formats that bring art to the audience, art fairs remain a popular choice. Usually concentrated into few days (four to six days), they focus mostly on the commercial aspect, the business of art. There is, however, a growing critique of such settings, that are extremely sub-optimal in engaging with visual arts. Such spaces showcase works in uncontrolled lighting and limited display options, with far too many people to allow for a quiet viewing experience, complete non-thematic curation to add contexts, and just sheer quantities of works, all leading up to the fact that the fair is not ideal for engaging with artworks. But then again, that holds true for any industry fair. Priyanshi Saxena, an art advisor and curator involved in making art fairs and building art markets in Tier 2 cities of India, says that we need abolish this duality in our minds when it comes to visual arts. We cannot aspire for sustainable economics for artists and yet be ashamed of the art business. And while extensive curations may not lead to easy engagement, especially for the uninitiated, it is valuable to see a broad spectrum of works under one roof, allowing a new perspective. If shopping malls help in increased sales, then why not art fairs for art sales?
In the Indian art scene, the India Art Fair is a leading platform, showcasing modern and contemporary art from the Indian subcontinent as well as South Asia. In its forthcoming edition, the fair will present 86 exhibitors, with over 1000 artists. The art event promises to bring the best from the region. To know what unique and engaging artworks are being presented by the art galleries, STIR has curated a selection of ‘not to be missed works!'
Rasheed Araeen; Aicon, New York
Rasheed Araeen is a London-based artist, writer, activist, and curator. He is recognised as the pioneer of minimalist sculpture, challenging Eurocentrism within the British art establishment. He was a member of several organisations fighting for liberty and human rights such as the Black Panthers and Artists for Democracy.