Surendran and I flew over to Delhi for the Art Summit, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the entire event. Time being the major constraint, we did not attend any of the seminars even through I really wanted to go for those sessions in which Homi Bhabha was speaking. He's cute to look at and intelligent to boot; so hey, you get double on the price of your money, honey!! The buzz of the art fair was a good indication that "all is well" Amir Khan style (!) with the art world these days; and all the drama of the recession appears a thing of the past. Ministers and party presidents dropped by as gun totting commandos hovered looking like movie extras taking their cues for placement, for a Ram Gopal Varma film shooting!
Busy gallerists hob-nobbed with suitable-suitors looking for "good homes" for their Chintan babies! A golden bodied Ravindra Reddy sculpture stood frozen like a James Bond glamour girl, as hundreds of mobile phone camera's surreptitiously caught her nakedness like a secret tryst with their own fantasies in a public space! The tiffin-service boy of Artwood fame glistened at strategic corners and bad art slunk into other corners, as Absolut Vodka kept the VIP's spirits soaring whilst their bank balances did another balancing act of their own! Perhaps what may benefit the Art Summit next time round, is if a separate time-frame is kept exclusively just for the buyers and collectors. For people who may desire to buy art, my belief is that a more quiet space of navigating the process of acquisition, needs to be provided. Jostling with the janta and having the artists rubbing cheek to jowl with you, may not be the most appropriate setting for either the gallery or the client.
Flash bulbs popped at the Glam-Bam-Ma'am parade! Chic fashion did the rounds and saris were kept to the minimal, as svelte western styles seemed the preferred flavour of the day. With Delhi's fluctuating temperatures, I was as always, caught on the wrong foot with my own wardrobe; and ended up wanting to do my own striptease act each afternoon, as the temperature heated up!
From a personal perspective, from all the art that I saw, the highlight of this trip was really going to the Kiran Nader Museum at Saket. It's truly a WOW experience, and a lesson many Indian collectors should learn from. Beautifully curated, the show has stunning works of artists that spanned many decades. With the exception of two or three works, each piece of art is genuinely magnificent. The eye that has bought these works represents both exquisite aesthetic taste, as well as a deep and sustained comprehensive understanding of Indian art history. Congratulations Ms. Kiran Nader! You are my hero of the day!
What was also delightful to encounter were the many F.N Souza paintings that we saw. The man never seemed to ever be off the mark. A splendid painter, whose every line holds a masterly that is difficult to come by in today's age of cut-paste art and factory outlet production! The photographs of Richard Bartholomew were also a treat to see, once again.
At the end of it all I flew back home rather like a sleepy child coming home from a treat at the cinema. Multiple images colliding, and a thrill that ones own imagination walks within the spaces of new discoveries that lead to the celebration that such events stand for.
Photograph taken by me at the cathedral in Stanford in America