From sculptures with unusual materiality and design displays to performance art and previously unseen paintings by masters, the artworks on view at the 15th edition of the expo provide a sample of ideas and materials impacting the worldwide discourse in art.
Each year, the fair organises a variety of outdoor projects. This year’s programming has grown in scope. Doyel Joshi and Neil Ghose Balser’s Provenance is a must-see site-specific installation. Supported by howareyoufeeling.studio, the piece employs ephemeral materials such as ice to highlight the fleeting nature of all things beautiful. The crimson ice sculpture is designed to resemble the fair’s triple-triangular exterior.
An artist’s standpoint on the world
Jahnavi Khemka, an interdisciplinary artist, depicts dreamlike scenes in her painting Warning, It Is Time. Her imagery has a tactile quality to it; you can hear the water flowing into the room and the door struggling feebly. “As a hearing-impaired woman, Khemka approaches the realm of acoustics through experimental materials and vibratory surfaces,” says Emami Art, which is exhibiting Khekma’s work in the ‘Studio Section’.
An embroidered message.
Water Matters, a five-metre-long embroidered work by Franco-Cameroonian artist Barthélémy Toguo, is on display at the fairgrounds. The artwork depicts a guy receiving and offering water while being presented in front of a table with a hundred engraved bottles filled with water from around the world. The French Institute in India presents the piece, which was created in partnership with the Chanakya School of Craft and the artist. Toguo’s practice combines contemporary language with ancestral knowledge.
Inspired by ordinary scenes.
For the first time, the fair featured a design area that examined the various ways in which creativity and functionality intersect. This includes ‘The MudaWala Throne’ by Delhi-based Gunjan Gupta. This is part of her well-known throne series, and it was inspired by Indian bicycle sellers who transport their items on their backs, effectively turning the bike into a mobile shop. The piece includes a stack of bamboo stools, or muda, atop a seat made of bicycle parts wrapped in leather.
Iranian tradition is in the current idiom.
Vida Heydari Contemporary, a gallery in Pune, will exhibit Iranian artist Pooya Aryanpour’s piece, Fruit of Elysian, during the fair. The Tehran-based artist combines sculptural and architectural practices with painting and traditional Iranian decoration techniques like mirror work.
In India Past and Present, DAG presents previously unseen works by masters of Indian art from the 18th to 21st centuries, both pre-modern and modern. There are two works that particularly stand out. One is Muharram by Sewak Ram, a painter who attended the company School. In this picture, he seamlessly blends Indian scenes with European artistic methods. Each part of the painting—from the people present at the event to the embellishments—has been given a distinct personal touch. However, when taken as a whole, all of these work together brilliantly. The other work to view is M.F. Husain’s Portrait of a Painter, Surrounded by His Own Images, which is a unique take on a self-portrait.
An experiential project.
Elevator from the Subcontinent, a video/installation by multidisciplinary artist Gigi Scaria, is on display at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. This immersive project continues the artist’s investigation of migration, displacement, and how individuals interact with the city. “India’s economic prosperity resulted in the construction of high-rise buildings, which changed metropolitan landscapes. The lift became a symbol for the everyday for those navigating these heights, moving in and out, stuck without its practical presence’, according to a KNMA letter.
This year’s festival features a strong performance arts part that explores plurality and includes artists such as Sajan Mani, Jyothidas K.V., Manmeet Devgun, and others. One of the highlights is a dramatic four-minute performance by Crow, an immersive storytelling firm located in Delhi that works with theatrical experiences, video, augmented reality, audio, and literature. Sashikanth Thavudoz, the winner of the ‘The Future is Born of Art’ commission, will stage the performance at various times within his installation.