The United Art Fair is back!
Sep 01 2013
Varied in concept and content, the United Art Fair (UAF) had in its first showing, ushered in a ‘radically new model of an ‘artist-driven fair as opposed to a gallery-driven fair’. In the second version UAF hopes to expand on their earlier parameters by bringing in ‘a wider variety of disciplines, practitioners, media and materials’. As in the first UAF, the second edition is once again guided by Curator and Artistic Director, Peter Nagy, well known in the art world as the founder and director of Nature Morte and his eminent team of curators, consisting of seasoned art personalities. Joining him in this prestigious event are art historian Dr Alka Pande, photographer and graphic designer Ram Rahman, independent critic and curator Meera Menezes, curator and critic Heidi Fichtner who has worked in New York, Paris and Berlin and writer and curator Mayank Kaul, who specialises in design and has organised exhibitions for the Khoj Artists Workshop and the Devi Art Foundation. The 5 curators have been enlisted to aid Mr. Nagy in discovering artists and co-ordinating the exhibition.
As usual paintings, sculpture and photography will hog the limelight but there is a serious attempt being made to include, ‘examples from all fields of design including graphic art, fashion, textiles, furniture, and ceramics’, which will make this fair vastly different from other art shows. Also, included will be ‘genres of folk and tribal art, crafts and ritual arts’. Art lovers may recollect that the first edition of UAF had also attempted to expand on how “contemporary art” is defined today. The effort in the upcoming Fair will be to breach ‘boundaries between these various genres and disciplines, with exciting combinations of materials on display to challenge preconceived categories of artistic production. It will be interesting to see how UAF’s second showing improves on its earlier attempt.
For a start we can see that younger undiscovered talent, new to the marketplace and outside of the existing gallery system have been co-opted into the long list of participants. These include some refreshing and unusual subjects created by Aarti Zaveri, Devanga Kumar, Surbhi Bahl, Mitali Shaw, S Saha, Ganesh Kashwah, Shripad Gaurav and Diana Mohapatra, whose colourful ‘Mannequin Twins’, deserves to be seen by everyone.
Senior artists, whose works have earlier been overlooked or pushed away in preference to other more visible and popular artists, can now find a foothold and expect to find a place at the UAF. Perhaps the most important part is that the 2nd edition of the UAF has decided to focus on ‘visual excitement ‘rather than allow ‘academic categorisations to take precedence. We can thus expect more interchange between ‘disciplines and generations’ creating ever more interesting dialogues, installation strategies and the creation of an exciting experience for all ages. Collaborative projects are planned with a variety of arts organizations and companies, including Pro Helvetia, BestCollegeArt.com, and the Embassy of Israel in India.