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Headed to the India Art Fair? Here’s what you shouldn’t miss

The 12th edition of IAF will open next week with gallery booths, interactive installations, workshops and film screenings, spread over four days.

Updated: Jan 26, 2020 10:27 IST

By Dhamini Ratnam, Hindustan Times

Scandinavian artist Olafur Eliasson, will return to the fair this year with another massive installation that uses light, reflection and scale. Seen here is a work from 2019 titled Dew Reflector. (Studio Olafur Eliasson)

The 12th edition of the India Art Fair (IAF), which begins on January 30 in New Delhi, will bring together over 75 galleries from across South Asia and the world to showcase, and sell, contemporary and modern art to Indian collectors. Here is a selection of programmes and artists to watch out for at the four-day affair.

Queering Culture: As part of the IAF’s vast parallel programming, Godrej Culture Lab will screen two films and hold a panel discussion on January 28. Parmesh Shahani, who heads the Mumbai-based Lab and is the author of Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India (2008), will moderate a conversation with screenwriter Ghazal Dhaliwal, activist Dhiren Borisa and Rainbow Literature Festival director Sharif Rangnekar, among others, to examine how the city has multiple sites of queer resistance, beyond nightclubs and bars.

a film about a transman in Delhi, will be screened as part of the fair.

The two films being screened are Daaravtha by Nishant Roy Bombarde, a 2015 Marathi film about a young boy discovering his gender identity and sexuality; and Please Mind the Gap by Mitali Trivedi and Gagandeep Singh, a 2018 PSBT offering about a young transman navigating the city of Delhi, through its ubiquitous and gendered spaces including the Metro.

When: January 28, 5 pm onwards. Where: The Manor, 77, Mathura Road, Friends Colony



Artist in Residence Programme: For the first time, the IAF brings together four artists and an art collective, who will, apart from displaying works, also conduct workshops with viewers.

New York-based Ghiora Aharoni will guide participants on how to make a series of collages that will bear an imprint of everyone’s input, inspired by the Surrealist art practise of cadavre exquis, or collaborative art making.

Manisha Parekh, who presses her own paper, will conduct an hour-long workshop on using old paper like giftwrapping and newspaper sheets, to create art or personalised gifts.

Gagan Singh, a Delhi-based visual artist, will get participants to use the Fair as a live study, to observe and sketch from.

When: January 31 to February 2. To book a slot, email devika@indiaartfair.in

Outdoor installations: While the Fair will house 75 galleries and a gamut of renowned and early-career artists, the grounds outside the main tent will also turn into an exhibition space. Among the installations to catch will be Anita Dube’s reformulated 1994 metal sculpture inspired by the French poet Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. Dube’s piece stands revived and extended, as it takes the shape of a cyborg with skeletal flowers and angry tongues.

Anita Dube’s sculpture inspired by Baudelaire’s ( MASH Sculptural Space )

Be sure to also catch internationally acclaimed Magnum photographer Martin Parr’s exhibit, which will feature photographs taken on the site at the Fair.

When: January 30 to February 2. Where: NSIC grounds

Young Collectors’ Programme: Keen to buy art, but don’t know where to begin? The previous iteration of the Fair conducted a Young Collectors’ Programme, with talks and site visits, but it was for a closed group. This time around, the programme will be open to all, even those who may not have begun to collect. The programme will include visits to artists Anoli Perera and Ayesha Singh’s studios, personalised tours of art shows, a VIP preview of the Fair a day before it opens, a private walkthrough with Shaleen Wadhwana, as well as talks on the dos and don’ts of being a collector, and one by Siddharth Mehta on the legal aspects.

Signing up will also mean access to exclusive lunches and dinner parties: all in all, everything that a collector would be required to do.

Finally, the art itself: With 75 galleries from 20 cities exhibiting at the Fair, it’s not easy to curate a list of must-visit booths. However, an artist we’re excited to see again is the Scandinavian artist Olafur Eliasson, who returns with another massive installation that uses light, reflection and scale, in a playful yet profound way. He’s known for installations that use natural, physical phenomena (one of his recent pieces used chunks of a melting glacier from Greenland, transported to the banks of the Thames, to quite literally bring home the fact of climate change).

Sameer Kulavoor, known for his quirky graphic art, returns with This is Not Still Life, a piece that upturns expectations of the popular idiom of art-making that is a staple of art school curricula.

Artist Sameer Kulavoor will display his quirky graphic art at the fair.

New galleries at the Fair include Berlin’s cutting-edge contemporary PSM and New York’s Marc Straus.

The India Art Fair is being held on January 31 (2 pm to 7 pm), and February 1 and 2 (10 am to 6 pm) in New Delhi. Passes are available online.

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