THE SAGA OF THE INDIAN ART FAIR: VALUATION OF THE ECONOMICS

February 15, 2014

 

New Delhi and India visualized the 6th edition of Indian Art Fair. Indian Art Fair from the beginning have been a great extravaganza of contemporary and modern Indian and global art and it has continued to be this year also.

No doubt the stage was set. But the show expectations have been dropped by a little. With much mediocrity in the art works displayed, in spite of some great works, this year’s art fair failed to live up to the expectations. The fair have set its own verges of expectations, and no doubt the viewers will expect the same dynamism and showstoppers to be perceived each year. The setback of the global economic market has nevertheless shown its impressions. Though the major galleries of India has been in the fair, a considerable number of foreign galleries has not been present and thus the overall panorama of the fair have been in the lower side.

Fairs are mostly a place of consumerism. Art, though an abstract entity or rather a philosophy, have however found its marketed value in forms of sculptures, canvases and prints. And when a fair is organized taking the art works to be valued in terms of the economics, the aesthetic quotient in the ways of seeing an art work somewhere gets diminished. Art works now become assets, things or products to be invested upon. And when there is an economically setback market, the valuation of even wonderful artworks changes, the outlook in viewing the works becomes propagated. Though much clichéd, the comparison may be drawn with the proverb of “grapes are sour”, i.e., when you can’t buy an artwork as you fear to invest in art in this economically subdued market, that artwork becomes less good. Pretty much such situations have happened in this year’s art fair.

As Sukriti Dugal of Palette art gallery told, "When this fair had begun, sales were brilliant because people would just get lost in the deluge of art works. So, what they liked at first instinct, they would buy immediately. There was a lot of impulsive buying in the first two years, which was great for our business. Now it is not the case. Interested buyers take their own sweet time. They will come and see, then they will come again... so they are thinking a lot before they decide.”

As a fair is not a concise place like a gallery where only the art lovers and artists will go, the attitude towards art of the common mass is also an important factor. If a person annoyingly ask a foreign gallery representative, as Peter Femfert of Die Galerie reports, "Are these real Pablo Picasso paintings”, the person will have serious questions aroused about the attitude and knowledge of the visitors to the art fair. His interest will diminish and catalyst to that the low business will evidently uncertain his participation in the art fair for the coming years. The business will then only increase when the larger mass of the non-artists will show and grow their interest on art and would like to carry them home instead of treating them as products of a common commodity.

But let us be optimistic. There has been a rise of overall interest towards art and the curiosity for the fair as the sale of tickets and the viewer counts detects and hopefully with the rise of the economic market, the sales will follow for the next years. The Indian Art Fair has always been the Mecca for art for the last 6 years in India, de event supremé, and hopefully it will remain so for the coming years also.