Over 1000 works of art by some of the world's best artists ranging from Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Damien Hirst and modern Indian masters like M F Husain and S H Raza, along with those of contemporary giants from 20 countries are being showcased at the India Art Fair here.
In its fourth edition, one of the country's biggest art event is featuring works from 20 countries brought here by 98 galleries of which 43 are based outside India.
It marks an increase from less than 50 galleries in the event's inaugural edition in 2008.
The five-day fair, that opened for public viewing today is being held at NSIC exhibition grounds in Okhla in custom built tents fabricated from steel, wool and fabric by designer Sumant Jaykishan.
Previous editions of the art event have been held at the Pragati Maidan.
Participating artists mingled with gallerists and collectors at a special VIP preview yesterday, and all eyes were on the alive installation by artist Vivan Sundaram.
Decked up in Sundaram's creations - clothes fashioned out of padded bras and underwear, sanitary napkins and truck tyres models moved around the entire expanse of the area trying to create awareness of recycling materials.
The India Art Fair which was previously known as the India Art Summit has this year roped in two international investors, Sandy Angus and Will Ramsay, co-founders of the Hong Kong Art Fair, who have bought in art houses and collectors from abroad.
Last June, founder director of the fair Neha Kirpal sold a forty nine per cent stake to them.
While gallerists are happy with the more spacious and professional look of this year's event conforming to global art fairs like those held in Basel, London and Madrid, there are a few who think the charm of being in India needs to be retained.
"Last year we had been in a different building, which had an Indian flavour, it is more spacious here. The presentation is very fantastic. It is very reduced and very eclectic, very simple but very effective," said Thomas Krizinger of Gallerie Krizinger from Vienna.
Standing before his wall mounted huge exhibit, Rashid Rana, one of the most important artists from Pakistan said, "It is an amazing feeling to participate in an art fair, there is an amazing energy and buzz here."
Artist Mark Quinn, Subdh Gupta, Anjolie Ela Menon, Vivan Sundaram, Rana, Mithu Sen, Dayanita Singh, George K among others were spotted at special opening day yesterday, that was open for press preview and VIP visitors.
"We have some of the top galleries for the first time here," said Neha Kirpal.
First timers at the fair include White Cube from Britain, Galleria Continua from Italy, Hauser & Wirth from Britain and Switzerland, Arndt from Germany, Everard Read from South Africa, Frida Fine Arts from Russia, and Kalfayan Galleries from Greece.
"It is better to come and see at close quarters the interests of major artists. There is a very interesting visual cultures here," said the gallerist from White Cube which has bought works by Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Gilber&George and Sarah Morris.
"The response on the very first day has been good and I feel it is a great opportunity," said Tobias Sirtl of ARNDT gallery from Germany who has six artists on the display but no Indian artist at the moment.
Art Fair Begins in Capital With Foreign Participation
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