Everything’s Shrinking, From Price Tags And Canvas Sizes To Payment Models, As Curators And Gallerists Experiment With Fresh Themes To Tap A New Audience

Delhi Contemporary Art Week (DCAW), which concluded two days in the past at Bikaner House, noticed artwork lovers getting again to among the previous methods of having fun with the physicality of artwork — albeit only for a number of hours and socially-distanced at that. What was fascinating, nonetheless, was that of the gross sales clocked, many have been first timers. “In the last few days alone, I sold around 10 works and only one of the buyers was known to me,” gallerist Bhavna Kakar of Latitude 28 tells The Hindu Weekend, explaining, “DCAW showcases younger, contemporary artists, and the idea is to engage new collectors. So the price is usually between ₹25,000 and ₹5 lakh.” The gentler value factors meant somebody of their 20s picked up Anupama Alias’ work, a younger couple of their 30s, who’s renovating their residence, purchased a Prajwal Choudhury, and one other couple from Kolkata acquired a Diptej Vernekar through Instagram. “The idea is not to be a shop and cater to the same buyers or do the same old tried and tested shows,” provides Kakar, who, 20 years on, is experimenting extra.

Artworks from ‘Believing the Unbelievable’

Themes for the win

Thanks to the pandemic, the artwork market had floor to a halt for months. Though galleries swung into motion within the third quarter, taking artwork on-line and creating new methods for collectors to work together with the works on sale (by digital viewing rooms and walk-throughs), it was additionally a time to faucet a brand new tribe of purchaser — the younger, digitally-savvy one. For many gallerists, this meant coming full circle, curating exhibits with accessible themes and inexpensive value tags, very similar to they’d years in the past after they have been beginning out.

Underlining variety

Curator Myna Mukherjee, who works between New Delhi and New York, has introduced the opening of Art at Blue Rickshaw, a B-to-B portal (in collaboration with US-based artwork consultancy, Blue Rickshaw), this May, which is able to maintain artists who discover it tough to realize illustration within the established community of galleries for numerous causes. “We at Engendered always work with artists who are marginalised for either their gender sexuality, or belonging to a minority group,” says Mukherjee, who believes the portal — with works within the ₹30,000 to ₹3 lakh value bracket — will carry in additional worldwide patrons.

“In unprecedented times, art has been all about finding a way to go forward. Today, at Apparao Galleries we have doubled the number of shows we are doing because they are all virtual. And of them, three-quarters are by emerging artists and most are small format [targeting a young crowd that surfs the net],” says Sharan Apparao, Chennai-based gallerist and curator. Themed exhibits — like her newest group exhibition, Believing the Unbelievable: The Metaphor of The Ark, which takes off from the Biblical story of Noah’s ark — not solely assist focus viewers’ consideration, but in addition make it extra fascinating to construct a story. Incidentally, it has executed exceptionally properly; except for new patrons, a number of of her regulars picked up items too.

“We want to do shows with younger artists to support them, since I find their works exciting and they don’t have visibility,” says Apparao, who put aside a number of works for herself — canvases from Avani Aggarwal’s Utopia sequence (vibrant, multi-hued ‘clouds’ painted with archival inks) and Dushyant Patel’s artwork that interprets Noah’s story by an Indian lens (numerous elephants right here). Going ahead, she plans to have not less than one themed exhibition a month with not one of the artworks going past the ₹25,000 tag.

Clockwise from high left: Gallerists Sharan Apparao, Bhavna Kakar, Priyanka and Prateek Raja, and Myna Mukherjee

Talking print

A much less conservative strategy to buying artwork can also be serving to invigorate the market. If seasoned collectors choose up artwork as funding or as a result of they’ve caught “the bug”, as Prateek Raja, co-founder of Kolkata’s premier artwork gallery, Experimenter, places it, “most young collectors buy it to live with it. These are interesting conversations because you are involved not just with the aesthetic idea of art, but also the living idea of it”. And what they need to reside with needn’t all the time be the massive names.

Compact and highly effective

Apparao’s TAP India — a collective platform of 14 galleries created final yr to generate extra visibility for artists and discover newer markets — has held a number of small format exhibits, together with Thinking Around Corners. Curated by Kakar and Renu Modi, it featured 2×2 ft works. “We created the ‘square format’ show with young collectors in mind, who do not have big budgets,” says Kakar. “It had well known artists too, but featuring their smaller works meant they were more affordable.” The uniformity in theme (sq. artworks) additionally addressed one other rising class: those that need to choose up artwork as décor for the house. “People have spent so much time in their homes that they have realised this is important. I’ve had many calling me to say ‘I’m bored of looking at my walls.’ By keeping the works small, if someone wanted multiple pieces, they could pick them up.”

“I’d been seeing a new breed of people who are interested in art, music and culture coming to our shows in the last couple of years, but not able to get entry point art. They didn’t care much for the name; they wanted something interesting, cool,” says Kakar. Then, when she curated Matter in Matrix, a 2020 present devoted to printmaking — with costs beginning as little as ₹10,000 — younger patrons got here in droves. She remembers how even college students wished to purchase artworks. “We realised this is the way to go about it. You have to pick the right work by the right artist and position it in such a manner that the younger crowd feel interested in buying it.”

The ongoing exhibition, Pratibimb: Stories in Print, at Gallery1000A (Lado Sarai, Delhi), that includes girls artists, together with Anjolie Ela Menon, Kanchan Chander, and Durga Kainthola, underscores the purpose — it’s had an excellent run with a number of gross sales. “Printmaking such as etching, woodcut and silkscreen, is a democratic art form, since it’s not only affordable [between ₹25,000 and ₹2 lakh] but, because of their many editions, they also have greater reach,” says curator Rajan Shripad Fulari, a printmaker himself. The gallery has a number of extra themed exhibits deliberate, together with one in July by artists from the South.

At the Delhi Contemporary Art Week

Art on EMI

But what does one do when even probably the most inexpensive paintings remains to be past one’s finances? Many galleries now provide long run fee plans. Like the Experimenter. Known for his or her work expansive, out-of-the-box concepts and work with artists by initiatives like Experimenter Labs — its Generator Co-operative Art Production Fund encourages supporters to anonymously donate funds to artists — in addition they delight themselves in nurturing an natural relationship with collectors. “A lot of youngsters are buying art now because of the new spaces they’ve moved into, be it their homes or offices. But they don’t [always] have the bandwidth to acquire expensive works of art,” says Raja. Like a younger trend skilled who wished to purchase a specific piece by photographer Sohrab Hura, recognized for his vivid, surreal frames. “He couldn’t afford it, but he couldn’t let go of it either. So, after he confirmed [the purchase] last June, he’s been paying a monthly amount, which will end in May.”

This follow isn’t as unusual within the artwork world right this moment because it was, because of the wants of a more recent viewers. As Kakar places it, “That’s how I started my collection 22 years ago, so why not offer the same now.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here