What a Summit!
by Franck Barthelemy
This year summit has been terrific. The organization was well done. The galleries attended the event with outstanding works. Hundred of artists came from all over India and abroad. And visitors came in thousands to celebrate the 3rd edition of the Indian Art Summit.
The quality of the works exhibited this year was exceptional. We could see plenty of master works from all over the world. Souza was surely the most represented artist. It seems that all the galleries from India and Europe suddenly decided to pay tribute to the Indian legend. The dozens of paintings and drawings were a pleasure to the viewers and the buyers. The amateurs of Picasso were endulged with drawings and unusual lithographs. We admired a beautiful diptych by Bharti Kher. We spotted amazing Bollywood inspired works by Patrick Rimoux from France. We enjoyed the originality of Caroline Rothwell (Australia)'s works. Anish Kapoor made an amazing entry to India with a great exhibition at the NGMA and little wonders shown at the summit. The artist improvised a guided tour of his exhibition and made a great impact on first time viewers (and there were many) and more acquainted ones. We loved the audacity of Gallery Maskara who brought to the summit the promising Ali Mansoor and his chair tales and Shine Shivan and his Bacon inspired installation. We also liked the buttons and pins works presented by Ran Hwang, different, live and colourful.
The art community joyfully organized what we can now call the “off summit” events organized around the summit's days. And believe me, the “off” was as interesting as the summit. Pors and Rao surprised many of us with their beautiful, almost romantic interactive installations. The Khoj Marathon brought to us live insights from well known artists or art contributors. The press photographer Homai Vyarawalla shared with us, with humour and emotion, some of her memories that have now become history. What happens in Muktheshwar invited us to see the output of an art camp where 16 artists largely produced really good works, which is not so usual for an art camp! We especially appreciated Murali Cheeroth's gigantic diptych that probably summarizes at the perfection the artist's universe of the moment.
The off is also made of parties where the art community gets together to celebrate success, share gossips and network to organize exhibitions, present project and finalize funding. The Skoda Prize for Indian Contemporary Art was the highly expected party. For their first edition, the jury awarded the prize to Mithu Sen. The choice could not have been better. Out of 147 submissions, the organization listed 20 artists, and short listed 3. We are looking forward to the second edition and we do expect Skoda to be associated with the prize for the next decade or so. The Devi Art Foundation organized the closing party at the Foundation and showed us Vernacular in the Contemporary 1, works by what we used to call folk or tribal artists. The artists proposed us great quality works in dimensions and staging that we are not used to see. Looking forward to the edition 2. We had the opportunity to visit the extraordinary Alkazi Foundation. They have opened, to the happy few who made the effort to wake up early on a Sunday morning, some rare albums of photos collected by Ebrahim Alkazi and his team. The Marshall album was impressive. The fine photography amateurs must remember this name! The foundation is also adding feather to its cape with PIX, a new photo magazine published in India and are looking forward to the first issue.