New & affordable

In a time where everyone is counting their pennies and rupees,it is difficult to sell anything.

Written by Georgina Maddox | Published: February 23, 2009 4:36:12 am

The fraternity is looking for less traditional ways to beat the slump

In a time where everyone is counting their pennies and rupees,it is difficult to sell anything. Art is not an exception. However,auction houses and galleries are exploring new ways to deal with the economic slump. Consequently,new and exciting avenues are opening up in the face of what would usually be a glum scenario,from fresh faces to new destinations to take art.

It was interesting to note that Saffronart,the online auction portal,held an actual opening at the Jehangir Art Gallery for their ongoing summer auction. Many of the names under the works on display were new. Stunningly,some of the starting bids for art works were as low as Rs 30,000.

The online art portal that was known in the last five years for putting Indian art on the NRI market,hosted the opening at the Jehangir to attract more people and get a newer market excited about ‘affordable’ art. A quick flip through the catalogue reveals that all the newer artists who have made it into the auction are younger,some names that have not even been heard much in the art circuit.

Dinesh Vazirani,director of Saffronart,indicates that this has a lot to do with the new market that is emerging after all the hoopla around the boom has died down. “The market is now healthy and the prices being quoted are more realistic. What happened with the boom is that several transitory buyers,who were in it just for profit and not for the art,constituted the market,” says Vazirani of the trends of 2004 to 2007. “Now,the buyers who are putting money into art really want to have it on their walls. Also with the pricing of art becoming more affordable a new market of young corporate buyers interested in new names has come up,” he reasons.

Another area that is opening up to the Indian art scene is the Far East. Recently,Geetha Mehra of Sakshi Art Gallery opened a branch in Taipei. Vazirani admits the market in China is beginning to explore a Pan-Asian sensibility in art. “It is important to see Indian art alongside other Asian artists. Sakshi hopes to act as a catalyst for this rapidly changing international art scenario,” says Mehra.

“This will encourage a younger generation to look at art as part of their life and sift out the speculator. To encourage collectors who buy art out of a love for it,you have to make it accessible to them. Real collectors are the future of Indian art,” says Ranjana

Steinruecke of Mirchandani + Steinruecke. In fact,the gallery is launching a host of new artists all with starting prices are at Rs 60,000. “We are planning solos within the coming year. Their works have been shown to collectors finally within the coming year,” says Steinruecke.

In ACRO Madrid,Abir Karmarkar’s work interested a Chinese collector,and a buyer from Hong Kong expressed a lot of interest in Sarika Mehta,another new comer from Ahmedabad who has had group shows nationally and internationally.

Clearly,China seems to be a new unexplored market for Indian art,where spending on art is not as unthinkable as other worse hit economies.

Coming soon
* Josh PS
* Varunika Sarfa
* Sosa Joseph
* Vindo Balak
* Vivek Vilasini

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