Art Radar Asia

Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

  • Photobucket
  • About Art Radar Asia

    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.
  • Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘Saffronart’

Fad or innovation? First ever entirely online art fair to launch next year

Posted by artradar on September 1, 2010


ART EVENTS PROMOTING CONTEMPORARY ART ART SALES ART FAIRS ONLINE

Art Radar Asia was recently sent information on an event new to the art promotion circuit – VIP Art Fair is the first fair to be run entirely online. The event will launch on 22 January, 2011 and was founded by experienced art professionals James and Jane Cohan from James Cohan Gallery and Silicon Valley-trained technology and marketing specialists Jonas and Alessandra Almgren.

The fair will be free of charge and 45 international galleries have already signed up. Standout features include a VIP Lounge where special films of private collections and artist studios will be available to view, interaction between buyers and dealers through Skype and instant messaging, and a function which will allow fair attendees to take tours of the virtual gallery including the ability to zoom in on artwork detail.

A snapshot of the VIP Art Fair Gallery. Image courtesy of VIP Art Fair.

A snapshot of a VIP Art Fair gallery page. Image courtesy of VIP Art Fair.

Read the press release:

HONG KONG, August 19, 2010 – VIP Art Fair, the first art fair to mobilize the collective force of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries with the unlimited reach of the Internet, announces its inaugural fair taking place exclusively online for one week only, January 22-30, 2011, at www.vipartfair.com.

An unprecedented event, VIP Art Fair gives contemporary art collectors access to artworks by critically acclaimed artists and the ability to connect one-on-one with internationally renowned dealers—from anywhere in the world and without leaving home.

“For anyone passionate about art, the Fair is a transformative experience: it delivers all the excitement of world-class art fairs with the convenience and personalization of the Internet,” said James Cohan, co-founder of VIP Art Fair in collaboration with Jane Cohan, Jonas Almgren and Alessandra Almgren. “We’ve invited the most prestigious international galleries, both established and emerging, to come together for an online event, creating a virtual community that will allow collectors, curators and the public to access distinguished galleries and learn about their artists, all with unparalleled ease and absolute discretion.”

VIP Art Fair Founding Galleries David Zwirner (New York), Galerie Max Hetzler (Berlin), White Cube (London), Gagosian Gallery (New York, London, Beverly Hills, Rome, and Athens), Gallery Koyanagi (Tokyo), Hauser & Wirth (Zürich, London, and New York), Anna Schwartz Gallery (Melbourne and Sydney), Xavier Hufkens (Brussels), Fraenkel Gallery (San Francisco), Kukje Gallery (Seoul), Sadie Coles HQ (London), and James Cohan Gallery (New York and Shanghai) will be joined by other international contemporary galleries. A partial gallery list is now available online. A complete list will be made public this fall.

VIP Art Fair Features

The revolutionary design of VIP Art Fair allows art collectors the opportunity to view artwork online as never before. VIP Art Fair’s innovative technology presents artworks in relation to other works of art and in relative scale to the human figure. Inquisitive visitors can zoom in to examine details of a painting’s surface, get multiple views of a three-dimensional work, and watch videos of a multimedia piece. Galleries will provide comprehensive details on artworks and artists, including biographies, catalogue essays, artist films and interviews, and in-depth information that will empower collectors.

One of the many distinct features of the Fair is the interactivity between dealer and collector. Each dealer has the ability to hold conversations with collectors via instant messaging, Skype, and telephone to discuss works on offer in the virtual booth. Dealers can also provide access to their gallery’s back room inventory, sharing works in real time with clients in specially-created Private Rooms on the client’s own computer screen.

There are many ways to explore the Fair, including online tours which are core to the VIP Art Fair experience. Visitors to the Fair can choose from a wide selection of tours—whether of featured works or a tour created by collectors, critics, and curators from participating museums. Visitors also can design their own personalized tours of the Fair that showcase their favorite works and can be shared with friends or posted in the VIP Lounge. Other ways to navigate the site include the Fair Map and advanced searches based on criteria of interest, such as artist’s name, medium, or price range.

The VIP Lounge is where visitors can watch specially commissioned films of leading private art collections and artists’ studios, check out Fair tours created by other visitors, access status updates on art market news, and learn about new works on view in the Fair.

Accessing VIP Art Fair

The Fair will open on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. EST and conclude on Sunday, January 30, 2011, at 7:59 a.m. EST. Browsing the Fair is free of charge. To access interactive capabilities, visitors must have a VIP Ticket, which on January 22 and 23 will cost $100 and thereafter will cost $20. Visitors are encouraged to register in advance.

Editors’ Note

It seems the international art community is divided in its opinions regarding the success of online sales of artworks.

Pearl Lam, Director of Contrasts Gallery, speaking at the 2010 Art Taipei Forum, stated that,

“We have been selling paintings [through the Internet], that was in the good season, but at the present moment all the collectors … want to see the paintings…. Today, there are still collectors who are buying [through the Internet] but it’s less than what we used to have. We used to have ninety percent of them, … all [through the Internet] and they were not cheap … paintings. We still [sell through the Internet] but reduced and also depending on the price of the painting.”

However, Saffronart, a constant pioneer of new technologies in the art auction arena, recently introduced a mobile phone bidding application to it’s seasonal auctions.

With increasingly more mobile ways to access the Internet and new features which allow users to better explore and interact with virtual space, such as those that will be presented at VIP Art Fair, it’s hard to tell if this is a fad or the first successful move into better utilising this new sales territory.

What do you, our readers, think?

KN

Related Topics: promoting art, art collectors, art fairs, art and the Internet

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more on the ways the art industry is using new technology

Advertisements

Posted in Art and internet, Business of art, Collectors, Events, Fairs, Promoting art, Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Indian art market hits peak 2008 figures – modern art favoured

Posted by artradar on July 27, 2010


ART MARKET INDIAN ART MODERN ART AUCTIONS

For some time now, the Indian art market has been reviving after the post-2008 buying slump. New Delhi-based journalist John Elliott, who runs the current affairs blog Riding the Elephant, reports in a recent post that now it may well be on the first step towards similar pre-2008 peak figures. However, the artists raking in money this time around are not contemporary but modern Indian artists.

In June this year, Sotheby’s raised USD7.9m in a mostly Indian art sales. In the same month, Saffronart sold art worth USD6.7m, and together with a Christie’s two day sale of USD18.1m, Indian art sales for the month of June totaled a substantial USD32.7m.

Rabindranath Tagore. Portrait of a woman.

Rabindranath Tagore's 'Portrait of a Woman' sold for over USD461,000 at Sotheby's.

Elliott reports that ArtTactic, a London based art market analysis firm believes that average auction prices and volumes for modern Indian art are now back to levels seen at the market’s peak in June 2008. Anders Peterson, who runs the firm, adds that,

The return in the confidence for the Indian art market is at the high end of the market.

A significant change from the trends of 2008 is the consistent sales of established veteran artists of Indian modern art rather than contemporary artists. However, given the overall push in the performance of the market, contemporary sales have also picked up. ArtTactic reports that previously popular contemporary artists such as Subodh Gupta and Jitish Kallat are still lagging far below 2007-2008 prices.

Saffronart founder and owner Dinesh Vazirani agrees with ArtTactic’s line on modern art. He says,

Auction prices are reasonably close to their 2008 peak. Serious collectors are there and this is backed with confidence in the Indian economy and with people investing as a hedge against inflation.

But how much do these results tell us about trends in buying Indian art? Anders Peterson from ArtTactic believes that,

Auctions are now a filtered version of the reality in the art market. Lots that are likely to sell are works of high quality, rarity and outstanding provenance. Works that do not demonstrate these qualities are still selling at lower prices or not at all. Therefore the return in confidence is at the high end of the market.

SH Raza. Rajasthan.

SH Raza's 'Rajasthan'.

The highlight of the Sotheby‘s sale were the works of Indian modernist painter, poet, philosopher and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, while Saffronart relied on modern art veterans like S.H. Raza, who was part of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group and now lives in Paris. His wife, Janine Mongillat, died in April 2002.

AM/KN/KCE

Related Topics: Indian art, Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, market watch- auctions

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more art market analysis

Bookmark  and Share

Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Classic/Contemporary, Collectors, Indian, London, Market watch, Painting, Progressive Artists' Group | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Saffronart once again pioneers new technology within art industry

Posted by artradar on July 22, 2010


ART AUCTIONS NEW TECHNOLOGY MOBILE PHONES

Art Radar Asia has found a new tool available to collectors when bidding for artworks at auction – lots can now be won via mobile phone bids.

M. F. Husain, 'Kerala - V', serigraphy on paper. Taken from the Saffronart website.

M. F. Husain's 'Kerala - V'.

As reported on the Saffronart website, the online auctioneer concluded its most recent sale on 17 June, with ten lots won by the company’s new mobile application.

Ten lots were won via Saffronart’s new mobile application, which allows bidders to bid from Blackberrys and iPhones. Those lots totaled $934,272. M.F. Husain’s Untitled was the highest lot sold via mobile, making $235,750.

Saffronart, a specialist in Indian art, was founded in 2000 by art collectors Dinesh and Minal Vazirani. It is renowned for its innovative use of new technologies within the art industry; their online auction model was recently the subject of a case study at Harvard Business School. The company has galleries and offices in Mumbai, New York and London. This most recent online auction grossed $6.7 million.

KN

Related Topics: business of art, market watch – auctions, Indian artists

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for more on innovative technology use within the arts

Bookmark  and Share

Posted in Artist Nationality, Auctions, Business of art, Indian, Market watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Krishen Khanna traces evolution of Indian modern art: innovative interview technology used

Posted by artradar on April 12, 2010


INDIAN ARTIST INTERVIEW PODCAST

Saffronart is hosting a series of invaluable art historical documentary interviews with leading Indian artists to broaden the discourse about the evolution of modern and contemporary Indian art. The imaginative use of new interactive podcast technology is an initiative to emulate by both for-profits and non-profits.

The second interview in the speaker series  is to celebrate a retrospective by Krishen Khanna at Rabindra Bhavan, the Lalit Kala Akademi, in New Delhi, which lasted from 23 January to 5 February 2010. In it Krishen Khanna talks about his inspirations for painting and experiences regarding the development of modern Indian art.

Khanna, Bandwallaas in Practice, 2002

He begins with a personal ancedote about how he became involved in India’s art scene in the 1950s: he was formerly a banker, but his wife encouraged him to quit his job and take up painting. and discusses the artists (including F.N. SouzaS.H. RazaM.F. Husain) involved in Progressive Artist Group.

He mentions specific shows, such as Souza’s 1953 show containing a frontal nude self-portrait, which shocked the public and drew the attention of the moral police. Khanna emphasises Souza’s diverse inspirations, which ranged from Hokusai and Picasso.

Khanna, In My Studio, 2008
Khanna, In My Studio, 2008

Khanna also places the Progressive Artist Group into a historical context: he discusses the exodus of artists from India after it won its independence and how major events, like the death of Gandhi, affected  Indian artists globally. He then answers personal questions involving both his participation in the Progressive Artist Group and his relationship with its members.

Using a technique that we have not seen before the 30 minute audio is organised into searchable snippets under the following categories: Souza’s Solo Show, News of Ghandi’s Death, Progressive Artists’ Group, Nationalism in Art, The Form in Art and Drawing and Painting.

To hear the podcast click here.

AL/KCE

Related Posts:

Related topics:  INDIAN ARTISTS, NATIONALISM IN ART, ART AND THE INTERNET

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia.

Posted in Art and internet, India, Indian, Interviews, Krishen Khanna, Nationalism, Painting, Profiles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Dinesh Vazirani CEO Saffronart speaks about 2010 market outlook for Indian art – Arttactic podcast

Posted by artradar on March 28, 2010


INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ART MARKET OUTLOOK

CEO of on-line Indian auction house Saffronart explains that the collector base for Indian art is changing

Dinesh Vazirani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Saffronart, the world’s largest online auction house for fine art and jewelry. In the Podcast interview with ArtTactic, he reviewed the performance of the Indian art market in 2009. He also shared his observations on the changes in the Indian art market in the recent year. Moreover, he shared part of his formula of success in running an online auction platform of such scale.

How was the performance of the Indian Art Market in 2009? To what extent has the Indian Art Market recovered from the financial crisis in 2009?

A lot of changes happened in the post financial crisis period. The initial six months was a difficult time for the art market. The base of the investors and collectors changed quite dramatically. Investors and speculators that are active in the post financial crisis disappeared from the market. There are real collectors looking for good value and premium quality. In the later part of the year with the Indian economy getting better, confidence and perception changed. We saw some of the collector base come by and want to buy the best of the best.

 In the early part of the year, prices of modern art retreated by around 30-50% and contemporary art by 50-80%. Modern art prices recovered by 15-30% later in the year and contemporary art came back by 10-15%. In 2009, the Indian market underwent a transitional change. The players changed. Some galleries and auction houses shut down and some opened.

How is the heavy presence of speculators a threat to the sustainability of the Indian Art Market?

Speculators come into the market and drive up the prices. In 2005 to 2008, prices rose dramatically which brought in a whole slew of speculators, investors, private dealers, collectors and funds. In 2009, after the financial crisis, these players disappeared but they will come back if the value is right. However, it is not expected that they would be jumping into the market as fast as in 2005. This downturn in Indian Art is the first ever downturn in the history of Indian art. Most people have not gone through a downturn to understand the implications of it.

What pattern has been developed in the collector base?

The previous collectors of Indian Art are large corporate houses and business houses in the India subcontinent. However, in the last five years, the collector based has moved from a business house concentrated end towards a broader collector base, which constitutes a lot of professionals, younger collectors from the finance field and young business people. Interestingly, some are from outside of India. In 2006, more non-Indians collected Indian contemporary art and wanted it as a cultural bridge.

What is your outlook for the Indian  art market in 2010?

Players will be coming back to purchase work  and a new base of buyers are expected too. There were people wanting to come in to buy during 2005 to 2008, but the price rose too sharply then, so they want to come in now and see if they can get premium values. 2010 will be dependent on two things. One is the perception and confidence of the Indian base customers and the other is the participation of non-Indian buyers in the post finance crisis period in the art market.

Why has Saffronart been so successful as an online auction house when no auction houses have found equal success in this format?

For the past 10 years, we have been building up the collector base, giving them the confidence and transparency and improving the technological platform. On the other side, we have been doing physical exhibitions and previews all around the world, including San Francisco, L.A., Mumbai, New Dehli, Hong Kong and London. To make people confident, we added the brick and mortar side. It is the “the click and the brick” that has made Saffronart so successful. Nearly every business is heading to the direction of going online.

Is the art market fundamentally changing because of the web?

Over time, there will be a strong shift towards online transactions. People will transact more online or even leaning more to mobile bidding platforms. These mobile bidding platforms have been enormously successful. 

 To listen to the original Podcast, please click here. Arttactic has a range of fascinating interviews with art market influencers and is worth a browse.

Related posts:

Bookmark and Share

LLH/KCE

Posted in Art and internet, Art Funds, Asia expands, Auctions, Business of art, Collector nationality, Corporate collectors, Ecommerce, Globalisation, Hong Kong, India, Indian, Individual, Interviews, London, Market transparency, Market watch, Mumbai, New Delhi, Recession, Website | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Emerging Pakistani artists getting noticed in India and abroad

Posted by artradar on July 11, 2008


CONTEMPORARY ART PAKISTAN  Rashid Rana occupies a unique position among Pakistan’s contemporary artists and has been a hit internationally. Rashid Rana is a star, whether it’s in Lahore, Mumbai or Hong Kong. The Pakistani artist wowed the crowds who flocked to his Mumbai show in November 2007. And he received an equally rapturous response last month at HK 08, the inaugural Hong Kong Art Fair.

The overwhelming response to Rana’s eye-catching work didn’t come as the slightest surprise to two Mumbai art galleries. Chatterjee & Lal and Chemould Prescott Road jointly organised the show of Rana’s digital photo-montages at HK 08 and they were absolutely certain that it would receive critical acclaim. “It was all sold out,” says Mortimer Chatterjee, partner, Chatterjee & Lal.

 

Artist names attracting attention

Rana occupies a unique position among contemporary Pakistani artists and he has made a huge name for himself internationally. But he isn’t the only artist from across the border who’s attracting the attention of connoisseurs in India. In the last two months, three shows by Pakistani artists like Bani Abidi, Ali Kazim and Muhmmad Zeeshan have been held across Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. And many more are planned in the coming 12 months.

 

Collector Anupam Poddar buying Pakistani art with plans for show

Or take a look at art collector Anupam Poddar, who has built a sizeable collection of contemporary Pakistani art. His Devi Art Foundation is doing the groundwork for a show in March 2009, which will be curated by Rana.

 

Indian interest in Pakistani art

“Interest in Pakistani art is increasing in India,” says Peter Nagy of Delhi’s Nature Morte, who held the first solo show of Rana’s work in India and then helped take his work overseas.So, is Pakistani art the next Big Thing in India? Many art experts believe the interest in Pakistani art is only natural. Says Chatterjee: “There are so many lines of inter-connection between the concerns of Pakistani artists and the lives of normal Indians that often the subject matter is entirely relevant to an Indian audience.”There’s also, as Rana says, “a kind of mutual obsession on both sides of the border, fostered by shared histories, the trauma of Partition and the years of hostility and inaccessibility.”

 

Pakistani art more visible in auctions and fairs

Certainly Pakistani art, like Indian art, is suddenly becoming more visible at international art fairs and auctions. For instance, works by Talha Rathore and Nusra Ali Qureishi sold at auctions held by Christie’s and Saffronart recently.

 

Bani Abidi – female video artist

For Bangalore-based GALLERYSKE‘s founder, Sunitha Kumar Emmart who had been following Pakistani video artist Bani Abidi’s work, then, art fairs provided an opportunity to view the work of the Pakistani artist at first-hand. That led to a show by Abidi recently. “Regardless of nationality or gender, we have been interested in Bani’s work primarily for the strength of her practice and the clarity of her artistic vocabulary,” says Emmart. Abidi’s themes went down well with Bangalore art lovers. In the video piece, Reserved, she shows a city coming to a halt for a political bigwig. It has images of schoolchildren waiting to wave crumpled paper flags at a motorcade that never arrives – it was a theme, obviously, that Indian viewers could relate to.

“I’m interested in talking about a more complex identity formation along linguistic and cultural lines, rather than religious ones,” says Abidi, who was surprised by the response to her show. “This is the first time I’ve had a solo show in India. So, it was a first for me that this kind of attention was given to my work here and I value that,” she adds.

 

Ali Kazim – watercolours

Meanwhile, Ali Kazim’s mastery over watercolours drew a huge response at Delhi’s Gallery Espace. The show was held in collaboration with Green Cardamom, a UK-based institution that promotes South Asian artists.

 

Mohammad Zeeshan – contemporary miniatures

And in Mumbai, art lovers got to see Muhammad Zeeshan’s contemporary miniatures in his show, What Lies Beneath, organised by Delhi’s Anant Art Gallery.

“There’s a certain understanding regarding art that I find in Indians. And it feels good to be a foreigner only 40 minutes across the border and be identified with my imagery as an international artist,” says Zeeshan, who has shown in Delhi, Agra and Calcutta since 2005. Miniature artist Muhammad Zeeshan wants his images to tease the imagination as in Let’s Make A Great Pattern I and Untitled II.

 

2005 show in Mumbai was turning point

Pakistani artists are addressing issues like gender, politics and ethnicity in a language that’s contemporary and international, says art critic Quddus Mirza.

India’s interest in Pakistani art has been building gradually. The canvas was prepared by curators like Pooja Sood in India and Salima Hashmi in Pakistan, and institutions like Khoj International Artists’ Association and VASL Artists Residency in Delhi and Karachi, respectively. Khoj and VASL have held artists’ residencies since the late 1980s. Early shows like “Mappings: Shared Histories” curated by Sood too helped.

But till 2004, when Nature Morte held Rana’s first show here, public interest was low. Recalls Nagy: “There was good response from the art community but not from collectors.” That has changed now. One catalyst was the large show, Beyond Borders: Art from Pakistan, at Mumbai’s National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in 2005. It was co-curated by Pakistani artist and art critic Quddus Mirza and NGMA’s then director Saryu Doshi.

“I didn’t realise it would create such a stir. It was the first time that we were recognised as contemporary to India in art,” says Mirza.

 

Pakistan’s art described as contemporary, international, cutting-edge

Since then, the momentum has picked up, spurred by galleries and artists. Says Muhammad Umer Butt, artist and creative director, Grey Noise, a new virtual art gallery based in Pakistan: “Rashid [Rana] has played an instrumental role in introducing us Pakistanis to India.”

Mirza believes that apart from the “newness” factor, the similarities and differences between the two nations have attracted Indians. Shows like Beyond Borders also revealed that Pakistani artists aren’t “making Islamic calligraphy or veiled women”. “We’re painting nudes, addressing issues of gender, politics and ethnicity in a language that is contemporary and international. So perhaps that shattering of pre-conceived ideas was one source for the Indian attraction,” he says.

But it isn’t just cultural affinity that’s attracting Indian art lovers to the work from across the border. The fact is that cutting-edge work is coming out of Pakistan. Says Saffronart co-director Dinesh Vazirani: “Wherever collectors are looking at art from outside, they’re looking for innovation.” Hammad Nasar, co-founder, Green Cardamom, believes this is partly because, “for most of its 60-year existence, Pakistan has remained a cauldron of political and social upheaval.” He adds: “This has proved to be a fertile ground for artists to mine.”

Two broad categories: new media and contemporary miniatures

Certainly, it has thrown up a diverse palette. The Pakistani art scene can be broadly divided into two: there are artists working in new media, and there are those that have given a contemporary twist to the miniature tradition.

Indians, says gallerists, are interested in both types of works. The big draw, of course, is Rana with his multi-layered images and messages. Take his Red Carpetphoto-montage series – Red Carpet-1 incidentally sold for a record $623,400 at Sotheby’s recent Spring Sale of Contemporary Art. At first glance, the work appears to be a large Persian carpet. But when you look closer, there’s a series of tiny photographs of scenes from a slaughterhouse. The work reflects, in a sense, Rana’s formal and conceptual concerns. He says in his artist’s statement, “In today’s environment of uncertainty, we cannot have the privilege of a single world-view. Every image or idea already contains its opposite within itself.”

 

Other artists names

Other contemporary Pakistani artists are also being noticed around the world. There are prominent names like Naiza Khan, sculptor-photographer Huma Mulji, Hamra Abbas, Faiza Butt, Mohammad Ali Talpur, and sculptor Khalil Chishtee, whose recent work includes sculptures with garbage bags. Mulji’s Arabian Delight, for instance, was reportedly picked up by British collector Charles Saatchi for $8,000 at the recent Dubai Art Fair.

At a different level, there are the neo-miniaturists – Indian collectors who are familiar with miniatures are quite enthusiastic about this type of work. Miniature art is a strong discipline at Lahore’s National College of Art (NCA), and it has turned out stars like Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq and Shahzia Sikander, who made a name for herself internationally in the ’90s.Now there are newer miniaturists like Imran Qureshi, Aisha Khalid, Nusra Latif Qureshi, Hasnat Mehmood, Talha Rathore and Zeeshan. “These artists have taken the South Asian tradition of miniature to new heights, and then moved beyond the page to invent a new visual language, rooted in tradition but of the here and now,” says Nasar.

Take Zeeshan, who began painting porn cinema posters before studying miniature work at NCA, and who combines the beauty of miniature with edgier themes of gender, dominance and violence. Zeeshan says he enjoys “teasing” the viewer. “And I think my images tease a lot. The oddity of the composition leads the viewer to dialogue and maybe, just for a second, ask, ‘What is this?” he says.

 

Pakistan’s art educational system strong…

Pakistan’s rich artistic output owes largely to its strong art educational system, especially since, unlike India, most practicing artists there also teach. “This has honed the critical edge of art here,” adds Rana.

 

But market infrastructure underdeveloped

For Pakistani artists too, India is an attractive destination, especially since the gallery infrastructure in Pakistan is still very underdeveloped. Grey Noise’s Butt says, apart from a few spaces like Rohtas 2 in Lahore: “We have showrooms but not galleries unfortunately.” Abidi too says, “The art market (in Pakistan) is almost non-existent and the small one that does exist is very conservative.” That’s why Butt felt compelled to found Grey Noise. “We’re the first virtual gallery to represent cutting-edge artists based in Pakistan,” he says.

 

International buyers showing interest

Already, Butt is “overwhelmed” by the response from India on his site. “I get a decent amount of taps from around the world and India takes the lead,” he says. Artists like Ayaz Jokhio, Mehreen Murtaza, Fahd Burki and Amna Hashmi are getting the most queries.

Even Indians living abroad are showing an interest in Pakistani art, according to Prajit Dutta, partner, Aicon Gallery, which is present in New York, Palo Alto and London. Last year, Aicon held two shows with Pakistani artists in London and New York. This year, it has done solos with Zeeshan and Talha Rathore in New York. Coming up in July is a show with installation and video artists Adeela Suleman, Jokhio and Fareeda Batool. And there’s a possible Naiza Khan show in New York next year. Dutta is also planning to show these artists in India. “We’ve got a great response from Western and Indian collectors,” he says.

 

Pakistani art attractive proposition

The boom in the international art market and growing interest in South Asia have made Pakistani art an attractive proposition, feels Rana, especially since art from South Asia is expected to emulate the global success of Chinese art. “Pakistani art benefits from a kind of trickle-down effect from this tremendous energy in the Indian art market,” he says.

 

Shows planned

The Pakistanis are obviously eager to make their mark in the booming Indian art mart. Green Cardamom, for instance, is planning two exhibitions in India next year, one by the acclaimed Hamra Abbas, who works in everything from video to animation, miniature painting and sculpture. In her Lessons on Love series, she transposed the romantic figures of Indian miniatures into sculpture. Says Green Cardamom’s Nasar: “India is a place where almost all our artists are keen to show. So we’ll figure out ways to do this to their best advantage.”

Nature Morte too will host a solo with Abbas in 2009 in Delhi and Calcutta. Besides, Abbas and Rana are part of a large canvas project Nagy’s working on with auction house Phillips de Pury in London in November, which will then travel to New York in January.

Meanwhile, GALLERYSKE‘s Emmart too plans to mount curated shows by Indian and Pakistani artists. Even Vazirani intends to increase the Pakistan section of Saffronart’s auctions. And he will hold a two-city show with Pakistani artists in Mumbai and New York in 2009.

 

Prices still low

To be sure, prices are one reason why Pakistani art is suddenly becoming popular here. As Indian art prices soar, there are better bargains to be had across the border. One art critic says that emerging artists from Pakistan offer “much better value than most Indian art now”. Vazirani too says: “There are opportunities to discover new artists.”

According to one gallerist, high-quality miniatures from Pakistan are typically priced between $10,000 and $20,000 though the masters are more expensive.Autumn II, a miniature by Zahoor-Ul-Akhlaq, for instance, sold at Christie’s’ auction of South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art this month for over $39,000.

The artists, though, are sceptical of the commercialisation in the Indian art market. “What we have now is everyone trying to cash in, exploit the artist, and in some cases, the artist exploiting the buyer,” says Abidi.

Yet the artistic exchange seems set to continue – barring the arbitrariness of officialdom. And as Chatterjee says: “This is just the beginning.”

Image details: Rashid Rana

See:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia now

Posted in Painting, Pakistani, Sculpture, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »