Each year, the fair puts together an array of outdoor projects. This year, the programme has become even more ambitious in scale. One of the site-specific installations that one must not miss is Provenance by Doyel Joshi and Neil Ghose Balser. Supported by howareyoufeeling.studio, the work uses ephemeral material such as ice to showcase the transient nature of all things beautiful. The red ice sculpture mimics the triple-triangular structure of the fair facade.
Interdisciplinary artist Jahnavi Khemka presents dream-like scenes in her painting,Warning, It is Time. There is a certain tactility to her imagery—you can hear the waters gushing into the room, and the door resisting feebly. “As a hearing-impaired woman, Khemka approaches the realm of acoustics through experimental materials and vibratory surfaces,” states a note by Emami Art, which is presenting Khekma’s work at the ‘Studio Section’.
At the fair ground, one can see a five-metre-long embroidered work,Water Matters, by Franco-Cameroonian artist Barthélémy Toguo. The imagery shows a man receiving and offering water, and is being presented in front of a table with a hundred engraved bottles filled with water from all over the world. The work is being presented by the French Institute in India and is a collaboration between the Chanakya School of Craft and the artist. In his practice, Toguo combines contemporary language with ancestral knowledge.
Also read: A map to the India Art Fair 2024
The fair for the first time has included a design section, looking at the different ways in which creativity and functionality come together. As part of this, one can see ‘The MudaWala Throne’ by Delhi-based Gunjan Gupta. This is part of her famous throne series, and has been inspired by the bicycle vendors of India, who ferry their wares on their back, making the cycle a mobile shop of sorts. The work features a stack of bamboo stools, or muda, on a seat made of bicycle parts wrapped in leather.
Pune-based gallery, Vida Heydari Contemporary, is presenting Iranian artist Pooya Aryanpour’s work, Fruit of Elysian, at the fair. The Tehran-based artist brings together sculptural and architectural practices with painting and traditional Iranian ornamentation techniques such as mirror-work.
DAG is presenting previously unseen works by masters—both pre-modern and modern— of Indian art, spanning 18th to 21st centuries, in India Past and Present.There are two works that really stand out. One is Muharram by Sewak Ram, who hailed from the Company school of painting. In this painting, he effortlessly brings together Indian scenes with European art practices. Each element of the painting—from the people present at the gathering to the embellishments—has been given a unique individualistic treatment. But when viewed as a whole, all of these come together beautifully. The other work that one must see is M.F. Husain’s Portrait of a Painter, Surrounded by His Own Images, which is a different take on a self-portrait.
The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art is showcasing multidisciplinary artist Gigi Scaria’s Elevator from the Subcontinent, a video/installation work. This experiential project takes forward the artist’s engagement with migration, displacement and the way people interact with the city. “Economic growth in India brought in high- rise buildings that transformed urban landscapes. The elevator became the metaphor for the everyday for those negotiating these heights, travelling in and out, stranded without its functional presence,” states a note by the KNMA.
The fair, this year, has a strong performance arts segment, exploring pluralities and featuring the likes of Sajan Mani, Jyothidas K.V., Manmeet Devgun, and more. One of the highlights includes a four-minute-long powerful performance by Crow, a Delhi-based immersive storytelling company, which includes theatrical experiences, film, Augmented Reality, audio and writing in its work. The performance will take place at various times within the installation of the winner of ‘The Future is Born of Art’ commission, Sashikanth Thavudoz.
Siddhartha Kararwal’s Tug of War, on showcase at Mumbai-based Sakshi Gallery’s booth, seems like a visual out of a Lewis Carroll book. The Jaipur-based conceptual artist finds joy in simple objects such as toys, jigsaw puzzles, kinetic sculptures, and more. “And it is in this zone of the “super-real" where I found my interpretation of reality fit most comfortably," states the artist in his note. In the work, the first three characters on the left are like hybrid war heads, the rest are whimsical. And yet you will be able to sense a resemblance to known figures. “Over all, the work is portraying buffoonery, an unstoppable quest for black gold. I wonder, how this power play will eventually create ripples in our lives,” he adds.
Shrine Empire is presenting, among other works, Baaraan Ijlal’s First came the fluttering of wings in my ears. This 2024-acrylic on canvas carries forth the artist’s engagement with the ideas of memory, nostalgia and unacknowledged histories. The visuals seem fable-like, and yet there is an urgency within them to document testimonies of loss both from within the artist herself and people around her.
Akara Contemporary, a new space by Akara which opened last year to showcase the next generation of artists, is making its debut at the fair. Its inaugural showcase features some rather interesting sculptures by Keita Miyazaki, “featuring materials whose association suggests strident discord and an unfamiliar visual language,” states the gallery note. The artist, who works between London and Tokyo, brings together unique combinations of materials such as metal against light and fragile paper and felt. The booth will also feature works by Brazilian artist Rebecca Sharp, Bhagyashree Suthar, Utkarsh Makwana, Dhruva Mistry, and more.
Jhaveri Contemporary is presenting artists that use textile patterns to create evocative narratives around environmental and spiritual phenomena. One of the highlights is Monika Correa’s monochrome triptych, Banyan Tree. The other work that you must not miss is H (Night) in glazed ceramic by London-based artist Shezad Dawood, who is inspired by ecology and nature and calls his practice ‘imagineering’. His work spans painting, textile, sculpture and digital media.
M.A.S.H., founded by Shalini Passi, has collaborated with the Mumbai-based atelier Milaaya to present unique interpretations of works by modern and contemporary masters. Titled Threaded Visions: Contemporary Embroidery for a Sustainable Future, the showcase features hand-embroidered versions of masterpieces by Nilima Sheikh, S.H. Raza, Ram Kumar, Ranbir Kaleka, and more.
Dhi Contemporary, an initiative of Dhi Artspace, Hyderabad, is showcasing its second presentation at the fair. Of these, one of the highlights is the work by Arjun Das, who has interpreted experiences of the migrant working class of Kolkata in wood. The artworks are based on conversations with workers in Bara Bazaar—and added to these is a personal layer of his own experiences as a young migrant to the city. “In his recent works, Das extends his material preoccupation with wood to new explorations of metal, stone coal, terracotta roof tiles, and asphalt—elements integral to the daily life of a worker in the city,” states the curatorial note.
Serenity Arts works with master artisans and contemporary artists to ensure the survival of Thangka Art. The team has been participating in exhibitions in Bhutan, India and other geographies, to showcase the exquisite art form. At the fair, one can see a masterpiece, Green Tara, by Master Zeikor and team, made with traditional pigments.
Mumbai-based Rukshaan gallery always brings some rather interesting works to the fair pertaining to the human condition—particularly of the working class. The materiality—such as brick sculptures—also sets them apart. This year, one can see a massive work, a watercolour on rice paper on canvas, by Gulab Kapadiya, spanning 5.5 feet x 14 feet. The artist is known for intricate detailing, and often shows people on the street—vendors, bansuri sellers, rickshaw pullers—in meditative and pensive moods. This work at the fair is no different. Another work at the booth that one must see is Sanjay Barot’s Passage Through the Veil, which stands out for its treatment of perspective.
Vizag-based artist V. Ramesh is known for bringing out emotions through the colours that he uses. His suite of watercolours, Love Stories, at Threshold gallery’s booth is no different. The works draw from his passion for collecting popular posters, oleographs and calendar prints. In a way they also acknowledge the anonymous artists behind these works. “Shantanu and Matsyagandha, or Krishna and Radha from the Ravi Varma press, captured in theatrical gestures invite the question, of what is intended by liminally erasing and redacting the original image? In the act of rendering partially illegible and aestheticizing the work with a dramatic chroma, Ramesh makes several gestures at the same time… . Between the figures that appear to advance and recede, the emotion of love seems to hover and speak through the work,” writes curator-art historian Gayatri Sinha in her wall text.
Experimenter, with spaces in both Kolkata and Mumbai, is celebrating 15 years of its existence. To commemorate the occasion, the gallery is presenting 15 new commissions by artists such as Adip Dutta, Afrah Shafiq, Biraaj Dodiya, Sakshi Gupta, and more. The showcase keeps architecture and the body at its core. One of the highlights is a set of two ceramic tiles by Sahil Naik from his series, Migrant Flowers for Post Colonial Desires, which “continues his interest in extracting patterns between the histories of colonisation, non-alignment and structures of modern nation building”.
Artist Apnavi Makanji has always added layers of meaning to archival material, creating complex constructs informed by botany, memory and displacement. At the Tarq booth, they are showing works titled Appropriation Disinformation: Nature and the Body Politic, commissioned for the Dhaka Art Summit 2020. The series looks at Imperial practices of “inflicting violence on the environment, on modern-day slavery and on the displacement of indigenous communities,” states the gallery note.
John Gerrard’s digital work, Western Flag, has been showcased across the globe. It looks at Lucas Gusher, the site of the world’s first major oil find, in Texas, which now lies barren. The work, which has been brought to the fair by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, reflects on the history of oil consumption in the US.