Even before the India Art Fair 2018 opened its doors to the general audience, business had already started trickling in. This signaled happiness for participants, especially international gallerists who pump in a lot of money to reap returns and find a new market. India, for many buyers, is a fertile ground and IAF a platform that has continued to give them good business. One such voice came from Austria-based gallery Lukas Feichtner which made its debut in the Fair last year. The gallery had already sold one of its paintings by artist Xenia Hausner and had several queries from interested buyers. According to the founder, Lukas Feichtner, the fair not only gives them an opportunity to find a new market, but also throws in the possibility of identifying the young and promising Indian artists whom they can represent in the native country. “The Fair gives us enough time to look around, see and meet artists. The cross-cultural partnership is something I am keen to explore,” he said
The prominent red dot, indicating that the piece has been bought, shone bright in James Austin Murray’s work titled Silver Moon Walking. The creased work depicted semi-circle folds, indicating fine lines on the moon. The image resembled the creases one sees in a dessert whose silence is interrupted by a might windy. According to Chris Churcher, managing director, REDSEA gallery, their regular presence at the Fair has given them an idea about “what Indians want”. “They are ready to experiment and they expect us to bring contemporary European art and artists. Another reason to come back to India is the delicious food. I love Indian food.”
However, Ricardo Tenreiro da Cruz of the Lisbon-based gallery ART Lounge, was of a different view altogether. He has been participating in the Fair for the past eight years, but the gallery represents the work of an Indian artist. This time they were representing works of Vinita Dasgupta. “I only represent Indian artists in India because buyers here generally don’t like to experiment. I have done good business here,” he emphasised. When asked about the claims made by other international gallerists about “good business”, pat came the reply, “Liked doesn’t mean bought. I am here to do only business and my strategy works for the market.”
Making its debut at the fair this year was South Korean Mo.J Gallery that brought abstract works of their popular artist J Young. Even though they didn’t hint at sales figures, the curator Olivia Lee cheerfully told us that visitors were liking the work, especially Young’s restrained approach with colours. “The muted hues and subtle nature of his works has caught attention of audience. We are happy to be here and would love to come back. India is a new market for us and if the fair continues to focus on Southeast Asia, we are sure that people would start knowing our artists. It is a slow process, but we are happy that the focus has re-shifted,” she says.