Venue: NSIC Exhibition Grounds, Govindpuri
Date: 29 January – 1 February 2015
India Art Fair (“IAF”) is a little like Ascot. People go all creative in their wardrobes region and many of them look like interesting pieces of art themselves.
Therefore, to give credit where it’s due, IAF organisers have succeeded in bringing art into life of Delhites at multiple (read visual as well as sartorial) levels. They have been holding this fair since seven years now and the visitors cut across all boundaries of age / gender/ social strata. The phenomenal success of the fair in earlier years leads to surging crowd every year notwithstanding the pricy tickets of 400/- per entry. This year too, the venue was the sprawling NSIC Grounds adjacent to Govindpuri metro station. We reached in the afternoon and found substantial queues in front of the parking and the ticket counters.
Once inside we noted there were two pavilions for displaying artwork and Delhi Art Gallery had a standalone stall in a permanent hall. However the third pavilion that they had every year was replaced by a food court.
First, the good thing was that such an eclectic collection of masters to contemporary artists/sculptors is impossible to find even in finest art museums. Second, the well lit pavilions and the spaced out arrangements provided the right atmosphere for the eyes to look at the artwork. Third, the curiosity of the co-visitors was infectious and often helped in identifying a piece that one might have missed.
What was not so good was that the display had shrunk by more than one third of its earlier size – one pavilion was done away with. In the other two pavilions, there were sitting areas by corporate houses that consumed space which could have otherwise carried more artwork. Second, a large number of the paintings and sculpture were familiar because of their presence in earlier years. This made the going monotonous. Third, foreign participation had shrunk big time and we missed the rich collection of contemporary art. Fourth, the mediums were the conservative paintings on canvas or sculpture. We missed the variety of interesting ingredients (utensils, lamps, projections, interesting digital screens etc.) that were displayed in earlier editions.
To sum it, IAF was as plain as the fascia of the pavilions and as wilted as the broccoli plants used for decor this time. Nonetheless it’s a ritual for any art lover and we hope to be there next year as well.