Beirut Art Fair 2014 Showcases the Tiny and Beautiful of Contemporary Indian Art

Elizabeth Prendiville of Saffronart discusses the Indian Pavilion in the upcoming Beirut Art Fair

Beirut Art Fair 2014 Photo courtesy of Beirut Art Fair.

Beirut Art Fair 2014
Photo courtesy of Beirut Art Fair.

 This September Lebanon will once again thrive as a major cultural hotspot in the global art community with the 5th edition of the Beirut Art Fair. Held at the Beirut International Exhibition Leisure Center, the fair will represent the most contemporary and innovative work from the local and international art markets. As it grows in popularity the Beirut Art Fair is proving more and more to be a vessel of booming international art sales, meshing together buyers and artists from both the Western and Eastern art markets. Last year, the 4th edition of the fair, displayed galleries from 14 countries and welcomed over 18,000 guests. Leading collectors throughout the Middle East and beyond flock to this event, because it assembles a global showcase of work in a creatively liberated environment.

Beirut Art Fair 2014 Photo courtesy of Beirut Art Fair.

Beirut Art Fair 2014
Photo courtesy of Beirut Art Fair.

In past years, the fair has focused primarily on a wealth of offerings from local galleries. However, there is a growing trend for outside influences. Last year the fair featured a South East Asia pavilion curated by Richard Koh. This year the focus will be the Indian Pavilion curated by Fabrice Bousteau. Bousteau’s previous credits include co-curating “Paris-Delhi-Bombay:India Through The Eyes of Indian and French Artists” at Paris’ Centre Pompidou focusing on the Indian subcontinent. The curator’s approach to the Indian Pavilion will break away from the now-typical rhythm and layout of traditional art fairs. He plans to channel a cabinet of curiosities, displaying a wide range of sizes and mediums. Bousteau’s vision of small and ornate rather than large and dramatic purposefully goes against what he believes is a trend in contemporary Indian art. “It will represent the Indian art scene from Subodh Gupta, the star, to the youngest Indian artists…the concept of the exhibition is to create a cabinet of curiosities. Indian artists love to make enormous sculptures…The idea was to [exhibit] some very small things, for a number of reasons, one of which is a question of budget…The idea is that small art is beautiful” Bousteau told The Daily Star. This shift away from large pieces should present an opportunity for less represented artists or artists with a different artistic process to be shown. The curator utilizes themes in traditional Hinduism as well as drawing comparisons between the Middle East and Indian societal makeup to select the works that will be presented. This nuanced curatorial approach may make the Indian Pavilion the creative focal point of Beirut.

By going against the grain in terms of classic fair curating, the Indian Pavilion may be tapping into a new buyer experience. How will art sales change if the offerings of a fair are depicted as a museum or private collection rather than a commerce-driven gallery? This is surely a more thoughtful and engaging methodology. The Beirut Art Fair 2014, and the Indian Pavilion specifically, will clearly be a pivotal event in the international art world this year. The Beirut Art Fair will run September 18th-21st, for more information about the fair please click here.

Paris Art Week Takes On New International Contemporary Markets

 Elizabeth Prendiville shares news about the Paris Art Week and the FIAC Art Fair

Mona Hatoum Projection (velvet), 2013 Silk velvet and mild steel 97 x 162 cm Read more at

Mona Hatoum
Projection (velvet), 2013
Silk velvet and mild steel
97 x 162 cm

New York: In this season of abundant international art fairs, Paris is the most recent destination for stunning contemporary art and culture. The 40th year of the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) was held this past weekend in Paris. Although its opening ceremonies followed the notorious Frieze art fair in London, this art fair stands apart historically and stylistically. With a forty-year tradition of showcasing the most premier performances, artists, galleries and art institutions, the FIAC is a yearly must for any international art fair enthusiast.

Dan Rees Vue de Solo pr, 2010 exhibition view Photo : Aur Read more at

Dan Rees
Vue de Solo pr, 2010
exhibition view
Photo : Aur

In past years the fair has had a specifically French focus and displayed mostly established French artists and galleries. This year an upward trend in artists outside of the country bodes well for the South East Asian Contemporary Art market as well as other destinations. 70% of the exhibitions are now from other international markets. This expansion is bringing in a new buyer community as well as forging a new opportunity for fair loyalists. In addition to this new trend on non-French contemporary art communities, a number of new fair programs and events have sparked. It is a given that the more international markets are incorporated, the more opportunity there will be for innovative performances and speakers. With this increase in international exhibitors Paris was the jewel of the international contemporary art market worldwide this past weekend.

Tony Cragg Cubic Early Form, 2011 bronze 102 x 105 x 120 cm the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery Read more at

Tony Cragg
Cubic Early Form, 2011
102 x 105 x 120 cm
the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

Galleries that exhibited this week include Herve Perdriolle Gallery, White Cube, Pace Gallery, David Zwirner and New Galerie. In addition to the traditional gallery booths in the fair, a number of other programs affiliated and unaffiliated with the FIAC took place. This included outdoor programming, film screenings, performances, installations, public art and a number of conference panels.

To learn more about this year’s fair, please visit the FIAC website here.

Contemporary Craft Art Featured in the United Art Fair

Elizabeth Prendiville of SaffronArt shares  Delhi Crafts Council’s display of Contemporary craft artists in the United Art Fair in September.

Soni Jogi

New York: Last spring Delhi gallery owner Peter Nagy connected with the Delhi Crafts Council to create a traditional yet contemporary body of work for the United Art Fair in Delhi. Eight artisan craftsman were chosen to create over fifty pieces of work for the art fair. These pieces hold a unique space within the greater art fair environment, because they honor the traditional craft techniques of tribal and folk art while still maintaining a fresh and new aesthetic. With the United Art Fair as their benefactor, these artisans were provided work space, materials and compensation for their beautifully crafted piece. This opportunity also presents a dual beneficial experience for both art fair audiences and these newly supported craftsmen.

Soni Jogi

Each showcased artist has their own story and traditional technique. This familial narrative is actively displayed in each one of these simple yet dynamic pieces. Although some of these artists have formal artistic training through universities, artist Soni Jogi is completely self-taught. Her utilization of dot painting displays a sophistication and acknowledgement of art history, yet expresses her visualizations in a simplistic way. Born and raised in Rajasthan, Jogi experimented with different aspects of dot painting by using ink on paper and later more mediums such as acrylic paint. Through participating in an arts workshop with the Delhi Crafts council she has expanded her work onto large-scale canvases.

This collaboration between these artists and the Delhi Crafts Council will create countless possible opportunities for these artists in addition to the United Art Fair. By highlighting the intricate differences in technique and tradition that is present in this work we see the individual stories of each artist. Although the United Art Fair ended on September 17th, these artists will continue to be a pivotal part of the Indian Contemporary art market. While the collaboration is rooted in a desire to foster the careers of these artists, these pieces will also grow significantly in value. Currently prices range from Rs 5000-30,000. To learn more about the stories of these individual artists click here. To learn more about United Art Fair click here.

FIAC, Paris – An Art Fair Showcasing the Regulars

Guest blogger Kanika Anand shares her impressions of FIAC and its representation of Indian artists 

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Paris: Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, popularly know by the acronym FIAC, is France’s primary fair of contemporary art, hosted at the Grand Palais in Paris in October every year.

Enthused by my first visit to the fair and the general buzz of art events around it in Paris, I made my way one rainy evening to discover for myself the depth of the hullabaloo. The fair offered the usual suspects of the contemporary art world, both in terms of galleries as well as artists, such as White Cube, David Zwirner, Lisson, Victoria Miro, Galerie Perrotin along with their blue chip artists Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor & Yayoi Kusama. Takashi Murakami bedazzled and Paul McCarthy mocked… and shocked! Incidentally, this edition of FIAC marked Gagosian Gallery’s debut at the fair. These art market biggies dominated, if not wholly comprised the selection at FIAC.

Indian representation was limited to artists who already have a market in Paris and could be better defined as international artists of Indian origin. Widely exhibited in Europe, Mithu Sen’s solo show ‘Devoid’ opens today at Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris. This will be the artist’s first solo in France, although her work has been exhibited at FIAC before. Hanging in the gallery’s booth at FIAC was Mithu’s You taste like Pao Bhaji alongside a sculptural work by the gallery’s long time represented artist, Rina Banerjee. Banerjee already has a marked presence in Paris; noteworthy of mention was her solo exhibition, Chimeras of India and the West at the prestigious Guimet Musee in 2011.

A series of 10 ‘Untitled’ drawings by N.S.Harsha hung on the outside wall of Greene Naftali Gallery (New York). Zarina Hashmi’s beautiful gold flaked ‘Tasbih’ hung in the corner of Jeanne-Bucher/Jaeger Bucher’s  (Paris) booth, in the deserving company of Joan Miro and Susumu Shingu. Tasbih is from Zarina’s most recent body of work shown at the gallery in a solo exhibition titled Noor last year.

A painted store shutter titled Mumtaz by Atul Dodiya and a painting by Jitish Kallat adorned two main walls of the large booth of Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris). The last day of FIAC coincided with the conclusion of Atul Dodiya’s first solo exhibition in Paris – Scribes from Timbuktu at their gallery space. The gallery has in the past supported Indian and other Asian artists, showcasing works by Sudarshan Shetty, Anju Dodiya, Hiroshi Sugimoto & Yue Minjun.

Two round shiny Anish Kapoor steel works in gold and purple, one each at the booths of Lisson (London/ Milan/ New York) and Gladstone Gallery (New York/ Brussels) shimmered akin to the gloss of the fair itself. But for me, the fair lacked spunk – no experimental works, no new names, no interesting project booths and notably no Indian galleries! It was all that I ‘expected’, but then again I’m no collector.

FIAC, Paris runs several parallel events and programs around the fair. More information is available at

Kanika Anand is an art professional and budding curator specializing in Indian contemporary art. She holds a degree in Art History from the National Museum Institute, New Delhi, and has worked in the field for five years with Gagosian Gallery, Gallery Espace and Talwar Gallery in New York and New Delhi. She is currently pursuing the Curatorial Training Program at the Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble, France, in line with her interest to responsibly curate projects towards making art more accessible as well as inter-disciplinary.

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