15 Artworks We Loved at the 2019 India Art Fair

Art Wise

The 11th edition of the India Art Fair took place in New Delhi from January 31 - February 3, 2019. And as expected, visitors were spoilt for choice with the incredible works on display. From modern masters to contemporary stalwarts to emerging names in the world of art, the fair brought together the very best across painting, sculpture, photography, installation and other art forms, from Indian artists as well as some world-renowned international artists. Here is Artisera’s pick of 15 artworks (in no particular order), that we absolutely loved at the 2019 India Art Fair!

1. Jagannath Panda’s Untitled Artwork

Highly acclaimed for his stunning works that depict displacement of humans and animals, Jagannath Panda’s untitled creation at the Vadehra Art Gallery booth, stood out for its layered textures and striking imagery. In the artwork, created using a combination of acrylic and fabric on canvas, the blue-hued landscape is seen littered with construction materials and building blocks, and amidst the chaos of these man-made constructs, a ram looks out at the viewer with a watchful gaze. The animal indicates a stoppage of all movement, sound and noise.

2. You Are Within Me by Dhananjay Singh

One of the most eye-catching and larger-than-life pieces at the fair, this sculpture by artist Dhananjay Singh stood out as much for its beauty, as it did for its meaning. Depicting the chaos of the never-ending cycle of life, the sculpture shows how everything is constantly changing in form and appearance, with one being, transforming into another. Each living organism is dependent on another for its survival, ringing true the statement - “I am within you, and you are within me”. Created using stainless steel and bronze, this exquisite sculpture, exhibited by Art Pilgrim, took every viewer’s breath away!

3. Inner Garden by Antonio Santin

The Antonio Santin craze continued in this edition of the India Art Fair, much like 2018. Displayed by Mumbai’s Galerie ISA, this absolutely spellbinding oil on canvas work is by the extremely talented Spanish artist who is world-renowned for his arresting compositions that he describes as “more real than reality itself”. With most onlookers in disbelief that this wasn’t a real carpet, the artwork turned out to be one of the showstoppers at the fair.

4. Super Realistic Typewriter by Anjaneyulu G

Exhibited by Art Alive Gallery, Hyderabad based artist Anjaneyulu G’s oil on canvas evoked a sense of awe in viewers, with the surreal and hyper-real depiction of a mundane and forgotten object such as the typewriter, against a large white canvas. The artist elevates ordinary objects to an iconic status through his painstakingly created artworks, each of which take him over 2 months to create, working at least 10 hours a day!

5. ‘The Artist, Unboxed’ by Rohit Chawla

Ace photographer Rohit Chawla once again pushed the boundaries of conventional photography, with ‘The Artist, Unboxed’ series, on display at the Art Alive Gallery booth. Featuring some of India’s most renowned modern and contemporary artists, including S.H. Raza, Bharti Kher, Thota Vaikuntam and Anjolie Ela Menon amongst others, Rohit created photo sculptures of sorts, adding a physical dimension to the portraits of the artists, while retaining the purist approach of the original image.

6. Babu and Bibi Bronzes by Lalu Prasad Shaw

Famed for his nuanced depictions of the ‘Babus and Bibis’ of colonial Bengal, Lalu Prasad Shaw is a highly acclaimed artist, recognized instantly for his paintings. Gallery Veda from Chennai however, showcased a series of bronze sculptures by the master, which represented a new class of Bengali society, whose foreign education and financial power made them more ‘Western’, opulent, idle, and arrogant. With Shaw’s skill and artistry, the characters truly came to life for a new-age audience.

7. Donut Madness by Jae Yong Kim

Fun, colourful, and eye-catching, Aicon Gallery from USA displayed a work by South Korean artist Jae Yong Kim, titled Donut Madness. The artist is known for creating triple-fired donuts using ceramic, glitter and Swarovski crystals, that look absolutely delicious. With references to pop culture, both past and present, the artist compels the audience to consider what they are really consuming, behind all that beauty. The gorgeous display at the fair comprised of a large wall space, with over 100 donuts of different shapes, decorations, colours and patterns, creating a stunning visual.

8. Kurukshetra, Tapestry by Sneha Sheth

Delicate and exquisite, this beautiful rendition of Kurukshetra, made using thread work, caught our eye from afar! Part of the ‘Expressions in Thread’ collection by self-taught artist Sneha Sheth, presented by Art Alive Gallery, the artwork has been created in collaboration with highly skilled karigars (artisans) from different parts of India. With intricate motifs inspired by miniature paintings and pichwais, the tapestry, with its vibrant colours and detailing, was made even more special due to the project’s focus on revival of a dying artform.  

9. Thota Vaikuntam’s Early Collection

Thota Vaikuntam is known for his use of bold colours and striking compositions, but a solo display of his early works at the Kalakriti Art Gallery booth, was like a breath of fresh air. The showcase comprised of a series of drawings, sketches and watercolours by the master artist done in the 1980s. It gave a glimpse into the artist’s journey, helping the audience gain an understanding of the subtle changes in his style over the years. A few exquisite sculptures by Vaikuntam, made at the renowned London Foundry, were also on display at the booth.

10. Touch Me Not by Radhika Agarwala

A monumental bronze caste conifer by Kolkata based artist Radhika Agarwala, stood suspended from a beam, in the Latitude 28 booth. Titled ‘Touch Me Not’, the realistic rendition of an uprooted and upturned tree questioned the bleak future of our rapidly deteriorating, and anthropomorphizing natural environment. Hanging low on the tree were poisonous and malicious looking fruits that don’t naturally belong to the tree. With this thought-provoking work, Radhika questions who would win, if nature decided to fight back. Chances are, it won’t be us.  

11. F.N. Souza Masterpiece

Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002) was the first post-independence Indian artist to achieve high acclaim and recognition in the West. One of India’s most expensive modern artists, Souza believed that society’s destructive or taboo aspects should not suppressed; instead, they should be openly aired and confronted. Through his art, the artist often condemned the hypocritical repression of sexuality in a country, which otherwise boasted of Khajuraho. Dhoomimal Art Gallery displayed a striking and bold 1984 masterpiece by the master artist at their booth. The artwork is an exemplary example of Souza’s graphic depiction of human sexuality.

12. Ai Weiwei Porcelain Vase

Presented by Berlin-based gallery neugerriemschneider, was a moving work by internationally acclaimed and highly political Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei. Taking the millennia-old material of porcelain, the artist depicted a migrants’ journey through various scenes painted around a vase, in the traditional Ming dynasty blue-and-white style. The artwork shed light on various issues such as the plight of refugees, curbing of free speech, and hardships of migrant journeys.

13. G. Ravinder Reddy’s Sculptures

Eminent sculptor G. Ravinder Reddy’s striking sculptures depicting women, were presented by Bangalore’s Gallery Sumukha. Created on polyester resin fiberglass, each sculpture depicts a ‘goddess of the everyday’, embracing the world with her fearless gaze, and standing out in the crowd. The sculptures compel viewers to examine issues of morality and gaze in these times of state censuring.

14. Waiting Room by Dia Mehhta Bhupal

Indian artist and photographer Dia Mehhta Bhupal is known globally for her conceptual work. In this striking photograph titled ‘The Waiting Room’, the artist beautifully captures the juxtaposition of experiencing private emotions in a public space. First, Dia painstakingly uses repurposed paper from magazines and newspapers to create realistic life size sets, such as this one of a waiting room in a doctor’s clinic. Even the magazines on the wall are created using this method. The set is then photographed, as seen here. Exhibited by Gallery Ske, this artwork made a statement with its uniqueness.

15. Fake Abstract by Lino Lago

An artwork that was as interesting as its name, Fake Abstract by Spanish artist Lino Lago most certainly had a fascinating concept behind it! Playing peek-a-boo with a viewer’s imagination, Lago reveals glimpses of a classical portrait with a single stroke, on an otherwise black canvas. The audience is left wondering if a complete Renaissance-like painting actually exists beneath the solid block of colour. The painting, displayed by Redsea Gallery from Singapore, was a beautiful and thoughtful blend of contemporary and classical art.

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