Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sydney Art Review & What I am buying now!

Well, Delhi is getting hot by the day ! and I am back from a lovely week in Sydney where the Australian winter is just setting in ! I was in beautiful Sydney on business and I always take out time for my favourite passion which is art, so the free time I can squeeze in goes in educating myself on the art scenario in the country.

We were fortunate as in an event at Intercontinental Sydney, Fred Matti, the GM did a wonderful job of organising an event banquet where the sights of Sydney and the food of Sydney was brought into the hotel, it became my first interaction with Australian art where I met Brenda Colahan who is an Australian art advisor and she gave me a great run down on Australian art and here it is for you, the two most important living artists in Australia are John Olsen and Tim Storrier. John Olsen is the top artist and his large canvas is priced at around 80 lacs and a good large Tim Storrier at around 60-65 lacs, the size being 6 ft by 8 ft works or close to that.

On Sunday, I had the privilege of meeting my good friend Bradley Cocks with Collette Dinnigan, Australia's top fashion designer and having boutiques in London and Paris. I had an opportunity to share a Rose wine with her at their lovely residence covered by Vogue and then took me to meet Tim Olsen son of the legendary John Olsen, Australia's top artist. Tim runs two wonderful galleries in the posh Paddington area of Sydney. The galleries were simple but exquisite in their appearance with natural light coming in and lighting up the whole space. There was a show by a young artist called Paul Davies and honestly coming from the overheated Indian market, the prices were really unbelievably low which made me remark instantly as to how reasonable the prices were. To put it in perspective, Guy Maestri recently won the Archibald 2009 award for a portrait of the singer Yunupingu as shown below, it is Australia's top award and carries a prize money of ASD 50,000 (approximately 18 lacs now compare this with some of our awards instituted most of the time by galleries who make tons of money and give a prize money of Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000).Tim who represents him had a canvas of 8 ft by 6.5 ft for close to 6 lacs that is close to 12,000 a sq ft and this artist won the top prize, I can tell you scores of artists in India who haven't even won a significant award and are quoting at double these valuations.
(Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu)

An interesting thing I noticed was the focus on aboriginal art in Australia and the attention that is drawing, that could be a pre cursor to our own tribal art really taking off, so be on the lookout for that ! The other thing I noticed when I went to the Museum of Contemporary art in Sydney was the number of children who had come in to have a look at the art with their parents, now this convinces me on the future growth of this market as children grow up appreciating art. I also saw one of the most inspiring installation shows by the famous lady Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, it was mind blowing and her installation for someone born in 1929 was more contemporary than the younger lot !

Well, back in Delhi, I was quite impressed with Bhavna Kakkar and Aparajita Jain's new show at Travancore space in Delhi called Re-claim/Re-cite/Re-Cycle. I went on the last day of the show as the invite was very inspiring and I was curious to have a look. Bhavna curated an exceptional show and one of the best shows that I have been to this year. I walked in not really being ready to buy anything and was just blown away by a work by Prajjwal Choudhary who had a very interesting piece on recycling of art, I bought this piece shown below which is actually matchboxes with prints of Damien Hirst's Skull,Jogen Choudhary's works, Ravinder Reddy and many more, the matchboxes are arranged to say " Who Will b next " in a triptych,its a huge work and has a lot of profound thoughts on the matchboxes and merged with the art. So this is what I have bought in the last 10 days. It was a pleasure to have met Prajjwal at the show also, I was very impressed with his detail and idea with which he approached the whole subject of recycling and how the same art was being created in a different forms by other artists and the question was " Who will be next to be cloned ?". I felt his take on the whole subject was great. So I applied my buying principles which are I liked the work, it was a significant work, the artist was backed by an excellent gallery Project 88 and that his value for a huge triptych which was 2 by 12 feet at around 1.75 lacs was reasonable for this work. I made a buying decision and actually love the work, this is not a promotion for you to buy Prajjwal but I think he is interesting and you can look at his last solo in the past exhibitions section of Project 88 and do some research on him before you make your own buying decision.
Till then enjoy the summer sun, take a break and track the Astaguru auction at for further trends on the art market.


Kapil Chopra

Disclaimer - As usual, please assume I have a vested interest in all I say ! Please do your own research and apply your own buying principles before you buy a work of art and only buy if you enjoy the work !

1 comment:

anangsen said...

You did not diappoint despite keeping us waiting, Kapil.

Will re-read it again before commenting further, but liked that bit about how even award-winning artists have the choice of staying grounded.