At India Art Fair, art finds 'forwardism' via technology

The fair is being held in Delhi from February 9 to 12

art-forwardism The artwork 'Log Kya Kahenge' by visual artist and illustrator Mira Felicia Malhotra | Arvind Jain

The India Art Fair, this year, is witnessing an amalgamation of art and technology, along with several other themes, grabbing a lot of eyeballs. Being held in the national capital from February 9-12, the fair showcases enthralling artworks of cutting-edge digital artists, along with contemporary and modern artworks, championing powerful and rising new voices from India and South Asia.

Being held in partnership with BMW India, the fair presents 85 exhibitors, including 71 galleries and 14 institutions. It also consists of an extended studio that presents the ‘Digital Artist in Residence’ programme, which provides an online platform for digital artists to create and display new artwork. The initiative aims to aid artwork created using digital processes, exploring the boundaries of art and technology.

In line with this, BMW’s new model, X7, which was launched in India last month, has an artwork by Devika Sundar with the theme 'going boundless.' With Sundar's art, one steps into a world of magic and inspiration. Her design perfectly captures the spirit of wonder and possibility that lies at the heart of the human experience.

Talking about her journey of the artwork on the BMW X7, Sundar said, “I drew this art with hands first, using water colours and pen, and, then, each element was done through painting on paper. So, the background and the forms are done separately, and then, I combined them digitally and put it on the 2D render of the car. Later, it went into 3D and BMW cleared this version.”

The digital art studio comprises the artwork of three artists; all made on iPad Pro in response to the theme ‘Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.’

Visual artist and illustrator Mira Felicia Malhotra highlights the oddities and idiosyncrasies of the Indian family life in vibrant portraits of women titled 'Log Kya Kahenge' (what will people say). Inspired by her own life experiences and the work of renowned psychologists and psychiatrists, she has created three family portraits, depicting conflicts that often go unseen in traditional family structures. One can view these portraits in Augmented Reality (AR) using iPad Pro to uncover the complexities of gender roles.

In one of her paintings, that hangs on the wall, there is a family comprising a man, his wife, their daughter and an infant (whose gender is not known) – all of them smiling. However, when one sees this particular painting using the iPad Pro scanner, the visual shows the man’s angry expression instead of a happy face. The woman’s expression seems to be that of a subjugated lady, who seems to be tired of her life and is striving hard to survive in a male-dominated society. The daughter changes into a boy (representing the LGBTQ community) and the smiling baby is full of tears behind the scanner. Such is the power of technology displayed at the India Art Fair 2023. One device changes it all at the blink of an eye.

 Another artist, poet and writer Gaurav Ogale’s art, also created on iPad Pro, invites the audience to explore the extraordinary biographies of ordinary people through an audio-visual book anthology series 'Bestsellers'.

One of his artworks tells and makes one hear the story of a hijra (transgender) on the iPad Pro itself, using earphones. Nasreen, who belongs to Mumbai, begins her day doing household chores, and while she moves her hands, one can hear the sound of her bangles, the hustle-bustle of the city, and the honking sound of the vehicles while she gets out of her home.

Another artist, Varun Desai, has created an immersive projection room giving a glimpse of the future—one that fuses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and human consciousness. 

Will AI replace manpower in the future? “No, because AI is just a tool to support and enhance one’s art that comes from the heart,” he believes. 

Responding to the theme ‘Forwardism,’ and presenting a unique vision of a future where art, science, and fiction meet, Sundar will also design the wrap for BMW X7. She has also been awarded a special commission titled 'The Future is Born of Art.'

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines

*Articles appearing as INFOCUS/THE WEEK FOCUS are marketing initiatives