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Recession upshot: Quality scores in Indian art

The recession is having a positive effect on Indian art
by Sampurn Media

Lalit Maity Art

The recession is having a positive effect on Indian art. While it is purging the market of bad art and correcting prices, the meltdown is also forcing artists to concentrate on quality rather than quantity since expectations are low in terms of buyers' response.

An exhibition at the Epicentre in Gurgaon, which closed April 30, proved that in times of economic downturn artists are giving their best shot. "Creative Convergence", presented by Art Nouveau, featured multi-dimensional art by a clutch of veteran and new artists.

"You can call the show the journey of a river, collecting different forms of imaginative genres along the way," curator and gallery owner Ameeshi Tapuriah told IANS.

Digital art vied for attention with traditional art. One of the artworks that caught attention was a three-part series, "The Green God" - a stylized composition of Radha and Krishna in metallic shades of green, blue and black by West Bengal-based Dhananjoy Mukherjee.

An innovative, untitled canvas by advertising executive Lalit Maity portrayed dancing girls and twisted shapes, inspired by music and Indian performance arts. It was rich with shades of a rainbow that had a three-dimensional effect. At the "Where in the World" exhibition, also in Gurgaon, Sudarshan Shetty's "Taj Wall" installation deconstructs the monument of love into contemporary forms.

Works by young Indian artists Jitish Kallat and Anirban Mitra will be the highlight of global auction house Christie's day and evening sale of Asian contemporary art May 24 and 25 in Hong Kong.

An overriding theme distinctive to young Indian contemporary artists, says Christie's, is the urge to address national and philosophical concerns like social reality, political inequality, traditional gender roles, empowerment and relationships.

Kallat's "Universal Recipient", estimated at $89,700-115,400, depicts the city of Mumbai and its crowded vistas with "pop-infused" figures, said a press statement issued by the auction house.

Kallat captures the picture of urban cacophony, a theme that the artist had experimented with in his early works. His work also comments on the struggle for existence.

Mitra fuses elements from folk, tribal art, religion, mass media and popular culture. His work "Hide Tide, Low Tide" is a dreamlike landscape which is almost absurd. The abstract frame touches upon social issues, especially consumerism in India.

Global interest in Indian art has established the category as a mainstay of the contemporary scene in New York, London and Hong Kong.

Since modern and contemporary sales of Indian art was launched in New York in 2000, worldwide sale of Indian art by Christie's has grown from $656,000 to over $45 million in 2008.

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