Through the last year, while some quarters have been buzzing with activity, others have been ruing the "slowness of the market". This clearly has been a year continuing the trend of the big brothers of Indian art, with the iconic names under their arms, establish as money churners, as investors compete at high-end auctions to acquire the latest Souza or the Hussain to set sail in the market, usually of the 50s and 70s vintage. Even as speculation over turnovers from the big and the famous are gravely nodded over, a lot of very talented, upcoming names are invariably left out in the cold. While this has a lot to do with talent, it has equally, if not more, to do with PR in all its implications.
In the meantime, Saffronart has a new space at the Claridges, opening up with large drawings of Krishen Khanna, as much a favourite with the art lover as the reader, for his command over language in penning down his observations on life and art. Khanna stands apart, quite as a style icon with his drawings, paintings and meticulous studio habits, reflected no less in his bearing and persona. The works shown at the Saffronart inaugural came in awesome scaling for an artist at his age. Saffronart currently shows veteran Ram Kumar.
Apart from Gallery promotion, there are artists, who prefer to tread their own solitary path, painter sculptor Satish Gupta among them. His amazing Buddha series in bronze, foiled by Haikus in ink and water colour, installed both indoors and out at the India Habitat Centre came as history in the making, as works that would and should go down to posterity as landmarks of Indian contemporary art. Notwithstanding the aid of mechanical tools for their execution, Gupta is nothing if not astounding in his conceptualisation, visualisation and control of the scale he handles in those works, not in an inch losing their meditative essence. To retain the introspective mood within works of such mammoth proportions is no mean achievement under any circumstance.
Vibhor Sogani, with his light sculptures and installations at his studio in Gurgaon, is memorable in his every creation. Imaginative, innovative and extraordinary, his light sculptures are aesthetic masterpieces. Exploring modern technology for the materials sourced for the compositions, Sogani infuses the magical tenderness and intimacy of the east into his creations, magnificent and awesome by turns. His farmhouse show this year was memorable at many levels. Sangeeta Muthy is another artist, who works quietly towards her artistic and social upliftment goals, showing and organising events to this end with meticulous detailing and quiet grace.
Sukanta Dasgupta and Ankon Mitra are two artists, who dream paper in their own different ways. While Sukanta works out oil painting like collage compositions with shredded scraps of paper, Ankon translates the spirit of Origami into art works of various material from fabric, metal, even actual load bearing concrete pillars! Let us hope to see more of them in the forthcoming year! Adieu and Good Cheer for the New Year 2017!