|Atul Dodiya's art is all about happenings in modern India|
The Indian economy was gradually liberalized over the past two decades starting from 1991. As it often happens, this opened the gates for foreign investment into Indian industries and portfolio investments into Indian stock markets. Consequently a new noveau rich class grew up in urban centres with huge purchasing powers. The impact of all this was felt in the field of fine arts as well. Between 2003 and 2008, Indian fine art witnessed immense increase in sales and growth leading to the establishment of many art houses, auction houses and even the starting of some investor- driven art funds.
However the five years between 2003 and 2008 was a period of mixed blessings. The art academia used to slower changes, could not catch up with the sudden influx of money in the art market and soon commercial galleries and self-styled curators were found to enter into fraudulent practices, false propaganda leading to artificial rise in art prices. A situation of high inflation came into existence coupled with deterioration in qualities of art works.
A parallel of the same is seen in most other Asian art markets like China, Korea, and Hongkong. It was bound to crash one day. And finally in the year
2008, a deep recession set in the art market which led to the closure of many of these fraudulent galleries in India. Auction Houses devoted to art had to diversify into other ventures and self styled curators gradually got silenced.
However the experience of these five years helped Indian art market in many ways as after 2009, Indian art market started truly maturing. The buyers now started showing lesser reliance on galleries and investments started based on more informed choices.
Three primary trends are now being detected in the practice of fine arts in India. Firstly a search for a distinctly Indian identity continues to dominate artists’ minds. Often it leads to the use of materials and objects which are distinctly Indian. Subodh Gupta, primarily a sculptor, have notably identified steel utensils, a symbol Indian middle class. He amalgamates these to create huge sculptors akin in size to those of another important expatriate artist Anish Kapoor. The success of Gupta has encouraged many other artists to follow his foot steps like Bharati Kher, Jitish Kallat, Atul Dodiya, Dhruv Mistry, etc.
|Devajyoti Ray's Pseudorealism is the most original style of post-liberalization Indian art|
The second important trend that is being observed is the use of computer graphics, photography, modern technology and a host of other media in the creation of art works. The list of such artists is endless but a few who have gained prominence in recent years include Chittrobhanu Majumdar, Sushanta Mandal, Chintan Upadhyay, Chitra Ganesh, George Martin, etc.
The third trend is the search for an individualist language of expression. The most important new style that fits this new trend is ‘Pseudorealism’, an art-genre which has originated solely in India. Only six years since inception, Pseudorealism has already a huge following among the new generations of India. Its initiator Devajyoti Ray is one of post-liberalization India’s best names in fine arts. But apart from Ray, there are others too who have done credible work in the realm of finding newer modes of expressions like Fawad Tamakant, Shibu Natesan, Ved Gupta, etc.