A Southeast Asian palette

Updated: Aug 14, 2019, 07:27 IST | Snigdha Hasan |

Ahead of an auction that brings works by leading Japanese and Chinese contemporary artists to India for the first time, art lovers in the city have the chance to view all 90 lots sourced from across the region

Untitled by Atul Dodiya, 1986
Untitled by Atul Dodiya, 1986

That technology has made borders redundant as far as artistic exchange goes is like stating a truism. An ongoing painting exhibition on The Ramayana at the Met in New York is being viewed by not just connoisseurs making a physical visit to the museum, but also those visiting its website from halfway across the globe. Your favourite Norwegian illustrator's Instagram feed is as accessible to you as it is to followers of his work in his country. And though leading Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami's work is entering the Indian art market for the first time, his Blue Flower has already got the art world abuzz.

Mutants of the SVMS - Postbox Man by Tushar Joag, 2007

Whether or not you bid for the acrylic and platinum leaf on canvas — estimated to fetch anywhere between Rs 1.9 and Rs 3.3 crore at AstaGuru's South East Asian contemporary art auction — all 90 lots from the auction, which has brought together works by noted artists from across Asia, can be viewed in Mumbai before and a little after they go under the hammer. "This is our second edition of Southeast Asian contemporary art. The aim is to diversify the contemporary art beat and make artworks more accessible," informs Sidhant Nayangara, VP, business strategy and operations, AstaGuru.

Blue flower by Takashi Murakami, 2013

Murakami, often touted as the Andy Warhol of Japan, is among those artists who, by blurring the boundaries between high, and commercial art, are changing people's perception of art. "He has found a bridge between the traditional school and a neon pop palette," explains Nayangara, referring to Murakami's works being an amalgamation of his academic background in Nihonga, the traditional Japanese style of painting, and his love for anime and Manga comics.

Untitled by Subodh Gupta, 2005

Given our strained relationship with our neighbours, these paintings also offer a take on the internal socio-political situation in these countries in ways that news can't. Beijing-based Wang Guang-Yi's Great Criticism – Polo, for instance, which features a revolutionary image juxtaposed with brand logos, is a comment on the conflict between China's political past and commercialised present.

Great Criticism - Polo by Wang Gunag-Yi, 1998

Artworks from The Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan aside, almost every big name from the Indian scene features in the auction. "The contemporary Indian art beat is maturing. The earlier works of Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta and Jitish Kallat, who have been in the field for over two decades, start gaining historical significance," says Nayangara, referring to two lots in particular. While an untitled self-portrait by Dodiya from 1986 reflects the impact senior artist

Bhupen Khakhar had on him, a triptych from 2000 signifies a more evolved phase of his oeuvre.
Connoisseurs can also view works by Tushar Joag, Mrinalini Mukherjee and Hema Upadhyay whose early demise left a void in Indian art world, but without the inclusion of whose paintings, no talk of contemporary art in India would be complete.

FROM: August 18 to 31, 11 am to 7 pm (online auction on August 22 and 23)
AT: Institute of Contemporary Indian Art, Fort.
CALL: 22048138

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