In Pics: ‘Anti-Art’ Fair to Clash with Posh Cousin India Art Fair

I read zines, saw sculptures, and interacted with installations. I saw a film on modernity infringing in an Uttarakhand village. I walked into a fuzzy, velvety womb on 31 January and it was just day one at ‘The Irregulars Art Fair’.

As an ‘Anti-art’ fair, the entire event seemed to push the boundaries of what art is, who creates it and who should be able to consume it. Short answer? Art is everything, and the lines need to expand. Or so the ‘Irregulars’ team made me believe.

"The idea of ‘Anti ’ art was to showcase independent artists who aren’t yet established names in the industry." - Tanveer Karan Singh, designer, visual artist and volunteer told The Quint.

On being cheekily on the same dates as the India Art Fair, Singh said:

"Wherever there’s been an established artistic scene, there has always been a fringe one. This happens worldwide and we’re bringing it to India. This is India’s first anti-art fair."

Artist Ipshita Thakur’s ‘Decorations for a Yellow Mind’
Artist Ipshita Thakur’s installation, peppered with books asking the key questions of the event, ‘Why Art’?

"“We want to make art that’s accessible and so we usually try to give our workshops for free. For accessibility, it’s also important to spread the knowledge, art should be made by everyone not just those with the technical knowledge.”" - Artist-cum-filmmaker Samvida Nanda, of Mosquito Massala, one of the collectives at the Fair

'Art is Everywhere'

Curator, artist and The Irregulars Art Fair co-founder Tarini Sethi’s work
Painter Aelay Surya Teja’s ‘The Doodled Dreams’ explores the intricate ties of reality and fantasy with childish and surreal imagination.
‘The Trial Room’ by Artist Deeipikah – the shirt have alu, or potato, written on them, and the scene mirrors all the body shape judging that goes on inside fitting rooms 

'To See and Be Seen: A Shrine of Vaginas' by Artists Aru Bose and Lyla Freechild

One of the most exciting exhibits was created by ‘Bose and Freechild’ who created a space that they called safe space for healing. “Spaces of faith, especially religious places, need you to be a good woman. There’s a discomfort with ‘bad’ women, and they themselves feel unwelcome. So you tend to move away from religion and what it means,” Bose added.

The entrance to the exhibition.
Artist Lyla Freechild’s ‘Blood Moon’ made with menstrual blood.
Aru Bose encouraged visitors to touch and play with her art.

In the background is a thumping, soothing sound, almost like a heartbeat inside the cave they have created. The soundscape was created by DJ Lush Lata.

"“It was made to create the ambience of what we think a womb sounds like.”" - Aru Bose

Altered Reality

Painter Sanskar Savant’s mural titled ‘Saat foota’.

“I’ve always wanted to visit and document archaeological sites,” says the creator of #PastelsOfIndia, an initiative to showcase the visual language of India, one mural at a time.

Gunjan Kaul’s altered reality project

Interdisciplinary designer Gunjan Kaul’s take on the theme is a speculative design project, about an old machine that becomes smart and eventually goes rogue.

Speaking on the Irregular Art Fair’s diversity in the artwork displayed and the crowd, she says, “The crowd is younger here. And of course themes of technology make sense to everyone, but the younger folks really appreciate it.”

Medha Khanna’s ‘Daimi’.

For her first exhibition, filmmaking student and artist Medha Khanna’s project is immediately striking.

“I have been doing one-line drawings like these for a year. There are 150 pieces, collectively called Daimi, which means endless in Urdu. I like to focus on abstract pieces, unique enough so that even I cant recreate them. Its all upto the viewers as to how they see it.”

Art in Everything

Graphic designer and multimedia artist Vikramaditya Sharma’s work explores cyberspace, identity, youth culture and gender politics. 
Sumantra Mukherjee’s piece titled ‘Tamasha’.

Artist Mukherjee’s note on his art spoke of increasing education to enable critique and potential change, which he argued was good for society and not ‘anti-national’ as it is often misrepresented.

Most of the artists featured had multiple personas as artists, filmmakers, writers or VJs.

The gallery floor on the grounlevel of Studio Khirkhi
The reading room full of posters and zines.

With so many forms and interpretations of art, TIRAF co-founder Tarini Seth says it best in her curatorial note from the Irregular booklet, “You pick your wonderland, Alice.” 

The fair is on from 31 January to 5 February at Studio Khirkhi, AGENC, Dhanmill compound from 11 am to 6:30 pm.

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