Delhi’s poshest art showcase —the India Art Fair— just concluded, but pushing the boundaries of art, who makes it, and its audience is an anti-art fair in town that you should definitely check out. Tiny posters and signboards in Khirki extension would guide you straight to Studio Khirki that has been transformed into the venue for the Irregulars Art Fair, with art in every corner and every wall of the building.
Co-founded by Tarini Sethi and Anant Ahuja, the fair in its second year has grown exponentially over the last year, and manages to subvert the concept of art being an affair of the elite beautifully. You can interact with installations here, see sculptures and paintings, read zines, experience art in VR, and even experience what it’s like to enter a womb. “One could say that our first edition was a little rushed. We just wanted to do this, and went ahead with it. But, this year we have more curators who have carefully put together this fair. In our first year, we had 56 artists in total, and this year we have over 150. So, one could say that we’ve tripled in scale. The theme this year is Alternate Realities, and each exhibit offers something interesting for the visitors. This always has, and will continue to be a space for independent artists to take the centre stage; we’re just doing our best to keep that going,” says Ahuja.
A visitor checks out artworks by Medha Khanna at the The Irregulars Art Fair. (SHivam Saxena/HT Photo)
You can catch works by graphic designer and multimedia artist, Vikramaditya Sharma, artists Sumantra Mukherjee, Medha Khanna, Gunjan Kaul, Deeipikah and Aelay Surya Teja and many more. But, while there is a lot to see and interact with here, one of the most interesting exhibits here is To See and Be Seen: A Shrine of Vaginas by artists Aru Bose and Lyla Freechild. The entrance of the exhibit is much like the opening of the womb, and the staircase that leads up to it is lined with red velvet to give you the same fuzzy warmth of a womb. Inside, you see artworks by Bose and Freechild which are complemented by a beautiful heartbeat-like soundscape by DJ Lush Lata. It is in this space that you truly understand Tarini Sethi’s curatorial note from the fair’s booklet, “You pick your wonderland, Alice.
Artworks by Lyla Freechild and Aru Bose at the The Irregulars Art Fair (SHivam Saxena/HT)
But, what do artists think of this? We met Nusha and Kelly, a collective of art students, who had come to visit the fair, and both echoed that this is an important step towards an art revolution. “I have studied art ever since I was six, and now I am a second year student of fine arts. I have been to so many exhibitions, seen the art fairs of the world too, but this right here is the real thing. Here, artists find a space where people actually come for the art. It is beautiful and at the same time is very empowering as an independent artist,” says Nusha. Kelly adds, “Wherever there is an important art fair, there has always been an anti art fair too. We’ve had the art fair in Delhi for more than a decade but only last year did we get a proper anti art fair. It might be late, but it is never too late. There is an art revolution coming, and art is no more going to be about the clinking of champagnes or pretence. Art, set free, will change the world around us.”
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First Published: Feb 05, 2019 14:32 IST