Thursday, January 2, 2014

EDITORIAL - Facebook and the Art of 2013 and more..


Facebook and the Art of 2013

If Facebook could be trusted as a medium that reveals the working of individual aspirations (though I have confronted several skeptics who think otherwise as they hold the opinion that this social networking platform is all about projections of aspirations than the real aspirations of the individuals or collectives) then 2013 was not a bad year for the Indian contemporary art scene. Before I go into answering the question, why is it so, let me tell you that the Facebook authorities have approached the Aam Aadmi Party propagandists to furnish them with the data regarding how they have made use of this platform for putting forward their ideas and ideologies to the general mass. As the success of the AAP is real so far we should consider that this platform obviously reflects the real aspirations of people than the deception games that they once used to play with it, especially during the initial years of its arrival. Personally speaking, as a Facebook user I too have matured; the amount of time that I spend in Facebook has become very minimum and today I consider it as a medium to convey ideas, information and receive them from various quarters. Also it gives me a chance to know where the intelligentsia as well as the common man stands today. This shows not only the maturity of the medium but also the maturity of its users. From posting trivia (though still people indulge in it) people have moved to posting things that they really care for. Interestingly, people also have taken initiatives to cut down the number of ‘friends’ from their personal pages. From my experience I could say that I have downsized my friends’ list and controlled the stream of information that I am supposed to receive. Facebook is a tool that capitalism has given to the human race to analyze its own vigorous course.
Now, let me come back to the question why I say that 2013 was good enough as far as Indian contemporary art is concerned. Despite the gloom in the art market, from the Facebook live stream, I could gather that artists are still ambitious and they are still in the ‘working’ mode. The kind of lethargy and hopelessness that they had shown during 2012 had given way to a sort of optimism. Irrespective of the market results, most of the galleries continued to do art shows, especially with the young and so far unheard of artists. If I make a comparison between 2012 and 2013, I could clearly say that in 2012, most of the galleries thought of either not doing shows or showcasing the works of artists who were still around during the boom years. There used to be mix-match shows from gallery collections. But 2013 witnessed the effort both from the galleries and artists to mount good shows. What makes me confident about the young artists in India is the fact that they have not succumbed to the pressure of a receding market. My faith in individual artists is once again reiterated when I see artists exhibiting at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai and Lalit Kala Akdemy galleries in Delhi. Young artists from different parts of India come to these venues, put up their shows and make a decent sale. Though, some may say that all these sales are distress sales, the important thing is that they are selling and finding some money to continue with a dignified life and art practice.
Many artists, as Facebook, showed in 2013, kept posting the images of their latest works, works done in the past, works in process and the works of other contemporaries. Senior artists like Shibu Natesan went on posting the images of artists from the lesser known histories of both west and east, adequately supplanting it with required information. These kinds of efforts helped so many young artists to keep faith in their own practices. Their belief in their own works was reiterated by looking at the works of the lesser known artists in the general art history. Artists who still have provision to travel all over the world went on posting the kind of artistic encounters that they had in the places of their visits. It is very important to know that creative activities are happening all over the world whether there is a strong market or not. Also, Facebook behavior in 2013 showed that Indian contemporary artists, notwithstanding their interest in unconventional mediums and practices, still would like to look at the works of those artists who behaved absolutely unconventionally during their life time. The kind of appreciation that Ram Kinkar Baij’s works got in Facebook through the posting of the sculptor, K.S.Radhakrishnan proves that the young artists have not strayed too far. Also in photography, as Facebook showed in 2013, new attempts have been highlighted by people like Abul Azad, Ram Rahman, Parthiv Shah, Alex Fernandes, Dr.Deepak John Mathes, Goa Cap, Vicky Roy and so on. 
Facebook also showed the herd mentality of the art people in 2013. Whenever there was a posting by someone, which was intellectually complex and abstract, a set of people always pursued with some sort of vigor even when they really did not understand the points referred. Artists doubling up as activists did their share of Facebook activism by posting relevant pictures and links. It was interesting to see that even if V.S.Gaitonde had fetched Rs.23.7 cr in the Christie’s Auction held in Mumbai in December 2013, except for a few enthusiasts most of the young artists took it with a pinch of doubt. They did not celebrate this achievement by a modern master mainly because it did not reflect their aesthetics or aspirations. The people who celebrated this achievement were mostly the gallerists who have an inventory of modern masters to cash in on.
My conversations with a few gallerists in Delhi and Mumbai helped me to understand the workings of the art market. Though there is an added interest in the modern masters, they all feel that the market for contemporaries would come back within two or three years. According to them, it would be a corrected market with moderate pricing. That means once again we are going to have a buyers’ market. Taking this into consideration many people have started organizing camps. And some of the entrepreneurs have come to the scene to patronize certain artists with an intention to create future museums. These are pointing at the right direction.
2013 was rich with a few interesting art promotional activities. In Jaipur we saw the beginning of a new Art Summit. Though it is initiated by the local artists and businessmen, it has all the potential to grow into a larger platform provided it has visionaries to lead it. In Mumbai, the Aura Art Exhibition presented a mixture of modern and contemporary works of art and could gather good response from the market. India Art Festival in Mumbai also attracted a lot of people this time, though quality control is a must for this festival to grow further. 
This month, The Art Daily completes eight months of its existence. Sheer will power helps us to take it further. Many artists have benefitted by this daily journal as we have been providing with profiles, exhibition information and sourced features. We are sure that we would take it to a different level in the coming months. 
We wish you a fantastic 2014. 

Birla Academy Annual Show

The Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata presents their 47th annual exhibition for 2014.
Slated to preview on 9th of January 2014, the show is titled, ‘Thekkan Kattu - Dokhiner Hawa’ has been curated by curator, art critic Johny ML.

The participating artists are A Ramachandran, Abhimanue VG, Abul Kalam Azad, Ajaya Kumar, Arun Kumar HG, C Douglas, Deepak John Mathew, Gireesh GV, Gopinath Subbanna, GR Iranna, KG Subramanyan, KS Radhakrishnan, KV Haridasan, Laxma Goud, Majunath Kamath, Mathai KT, Namboothiri, P Gopinath, Rajan Krishnan, S Nandagopal, Sachin George Sebastian, SG Vasudev, Shantamani Muddaiah, Shibu Natesan and Shijo Jacob.

The show will be on view till 2nd February 2014.

The Winter Tale
( work by KG Subramanyan)
Gallerie Nvya, New Delhi presents a show with a wide range of artworks under one roof. Titled, 'The Winter Tale: An Amalgamation Art Work'  the show brings the works of various renowned artists. The artworks present an explosion of colours and form multicoloured expressions of reality.

On display will be works of artists like Revati Sharma Singh, Viveek Sharma, K G Subramanyan, Sachindranath Jha, Mohammed Osman, Paresh Maity, Khushboo Upadhyay, Seema Kohli, Lal Bahadur Singh, Ramesh Gorjala and many more.
The show is on view till 3rd February 2014.

Wings, Shadows and Thousand Birds

Shridharani Art Gallery of the Triveni  Kala Sangam, New Delhi presents a solo show of artist Manu Singh. On display the show titled, ‘Wings, Shadows and Thousand Birds’, Manu displays her oil on canvas paintings.

The works are primarily figuratives and delve into realism. The works have a subdued palette in turn depicting the internal world experiences of the artist, as narrated by her.
The show is on view from 2nd January to the 12th January 2014.

( News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

No comments:

Post a Comment