Flash News: Kapoor and Versailles – India Art Fair – Marina Abramovic on the up



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Kapoor and Versailles – India Art Fair – Marina Abramovic on the up

Kapoor and Versailles

At 60, the only thing missing for the Indian-born British artist Anish KAPOOR was the splendour of Versailles. This major artist, winner of the Turner Prize in 1991, elected a Member of the Royal Academy in 1999 and awarded a CBE in 2003, will be the king of the Versailles gardens between June and October 2015. And only the gardens, by the decision of the artist and the curators (Alfred Pacquement, former director of the MNAM (Musée National d’Art Moderne), and Jean de Loisy, current director of the Palais de Tokyo), although we shall reveal no more before the project begins.
Unreservedly acclaimed throughout the world, Anish Kapoor’s work is particularly popular in France, witness his spectacular Leviathan, set up in the great hall of the Grand Palais in central Paris, which attracted over 277,000 visitors in 2011: a record number.
In addition to all his honours, awards and increasingly numerous high-profile exhibitions over the last ten years, Anish Kapoor is one of the contemporary artists most sought after by collectors. Every international fair features his work, and auction houses fight to obtain his pieces. The artist has already crossed the million threshold over thirty times at auction, from London to New York, and once in Doha. His highest-scoring pieces are spaces that transport the gaze towards other sensorial and psychic perceptions by means of sculptures in alabaster, metal or pure colour pigments. Before any major exhibition, the market of a great artist will contract, because collectors and dealers hang on to their works in order to feed them judiciously into the market at just the right moment. After 2014, a year with a dearth of major works by Kapoor, we can expect a new surge in the sale rooms during 2015.

India Art fair

The seventh India Art Fair (IAF) is approaching in New Delhi (29 January to 1 February 2015). This key event in India’s effervescent cultural life started up in 2008: a significant year for world art, then suffering from a huge loss of confidence after several euphoric years on the emerging Asian scenes. For the first IAF opened just when Lehmann Brothers collapsed – a particularly tough period for laying the foundations of a major new artistic and trading event.

But Delhi and its fair are holding up well, because the creative scene is as lively as the curiosity of art lovers on site, because cultural infrastructures there have considerably densified, and projects abound, and because international stakeholders in the art world have specifically focused on the Indian scene for some years now. This interest is not likely to abate – especially as the fair is not limited to Indian artists.
It also explores Southern Asia, notably Pakistan, which has long found an excellent showcase in India. The names of several Pakistani contemporary artists are already famous worldwide, particularly Rashid RANA (b. 1968), whose photographs were first eagerly snapped up in Hong Kong before selling in London, New York and Doha. Rana, whose technique consists of accumulating miniature photographic images, achieved record bids at auction in 2008 before the infamous Lehmann Brothers collapse. Prices shot up quickly – too quickly, inflated by the euphoria of the new markets. Six years later, price indexes have grown at a more leisurely pace, in a « glocal » visibility shared by the IAF.

Marina Abramovic on the up

Marina ABRAMOVIĆ is now certain to exhibit at the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in 2016. She will be showing nearly all of her work since her early days, including archives, photos, videos, sculptures and installations, and exhibiting her own person in some eagerly-awaited performances. Marina Abramovic has been performing for 40 years as the very flesh and rhythm of her work, redefining not only her own physical, psychic and emotional limits, but also the relationships of power and dependency, whether social, artistic or public. Like other exponents of body art, her price index does not accurately reflect her true importance in the history of art. But her prices are undoubtedly climbing: the last three photographs submitted at auction smashed their estimates and set new records (September – October 2014, Paris and New York). Although her best price is only $85,000 (with Carrying the Skeleton in 2008), photographs based on her most celebrated performances are increasingly posting five-figure results. A major retrospective like the one at the MCA is also an event sure to boost her price index.