Art is the Biggest Lifter of One's Spirits: Sunil Chauhan


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Having completed 21 years Gallery 'Artland' is more than a prime exhibition space located at Kalaghoda in South Mumbai, which is a centre for promoting contemporary Indian art, which lays stress to bring the best art to the art connoisseurs. Sunil Chauhan Owner Artland talks about his journey in the world of art, the contemporary art scenario and the way ahead in the current times in an interesting conversation with Priyanka Mathur

Art happened to him completely by chance says art curator Sunil Chauhan. After doing economics honours from Delhi University, he worked at the ITC Maurya Sheraton for 6 years, while his soul searched something meaningful when he left his job to do something which was his true calling. Eventually, while he was roaming around In the city he came across his old associate at ITC Maurya, who was a Swiss art collector and that's when his journey in art began and there was no looking back. Sunil says," My friend suggested me it's a sunshine industry and gave me a lot of information on art taking me through catalogues from auction houses like Christie's, Art Books and many Art Galleries. I eventually started studying art and observed what was going on in the art market. I would collect catalogues from various galleries and showed them to him and he would guide me which Artist was good and why, what were the technicalities of the art to be noticed. Eventually, I developed a keen interest in Art and follo wing his suggestion I started the 'Artland' Gallery way back 1999 on a rented premises in Mumbai. I was lucky enough for the support I got from him, while in the first year he introduced me to many artists and helped me sell the paintings. He got me full sponsorship for my initial exhibitions and also bought many paintings from me to give the initial financial push. That's how my exploration in art began and I think now I know even more than the artists know," he chuckled!

Talking about how he perceives art he says, "I take it very differently and I feel every piece of Art is good. To me, there is a very little difference between good art and bad art, but there are technicalities that matter. A good painting must have an interesting subject followed by an attractive composition, colours, application and technical soundness which reflects in a good piece. What are the most popular forms among the art lovers, he tells" All forms of art are well taken for example 'landscapes' of Ram Kumar, 'Abstracts' of Laxman Shrestha, 'Figurative Art' of Raja Ravi Verma which all sell for lakhs and crores and are much appreciated amongst the art connoisseurs, so all forms of art are valuable as long as you create something good. It could be realistic, semi-realistic it all depends on the taste, you may buy or not buy something if you don't have a taste, that doesn't mean that's a bad art. It depends on how beautifully an artist conveys the thought on the canvas." In contemporary sometimes there is not much on the canvas, but the artist describes through words, how is such art taken, Chauhan says," Again art is a language in itself and should be self-explanatory, but sometimes an artist needs to explain because the thought is sometimes like a hidden element that an artist cannot express on the canvas and so it's explained to get one's eye towards that thought or vision."

In lieu of the current lockdown of art galleries around the world, art collectors have moved to online viewing and hence Gallery Artland in Mumbai extends their show titled 'Colors' online. Talking about the grand group show "Colours" which has been phenomenal over the years he says," This year we launched a grand show in March in Jehangir Art Gallery, but due to the pandemic we received orders to wrap it within 5 days of the show. Since we had a good line up of artists and great works we launched the 'Colors' online, where works of some 50 artists and about 100 painting were showcased across genres, which are being sold on the virtual link of the exhibition."

So how is the art market during the pandemic, he says," Post the virtual group show, I decided to give a chance to every artist for a solo show to sell their works. So we started from Nawal Kishore, and have managed to sell 1-2 paintings of every artist even during this period, which I feel is good enough.have been into this market for over 20 years now and I am well connected with clients in Delhi, Mumbai and Dubai, so I can sell some works although the sales have gone down terribly. The market is very bad and many galleries have closed down." Having sold in Mumbai Delhi and Dubai which is the best market for Indian art he says,"I have sold for over 21 years in Mumbai and in Dubai I started 2006,I have sold maximum paintings in Mumbai, then Dubai and Delhi comes third.Mumbai has an open mindset and buy both traditional and contemporary art if the piece is good,and realistic they would go for it." How is the Delhi market who are most sought after artists in Delhi " Vijender Sharma is very famous and sought after artists and have celebrity clients like Ambani's and Bachchan's? He?has his works in the Indian parliament house, we sold his 2 paintings in his solo show."

So what is the average range at which the paintings are being sold even during the pandemic," On an average, the paintings are sold from 2.5 -6 lacs depending on the size varying from 2x2,4x4 and bigger paintings 3x4 go for 8 lacs. The buyers are mainly Businessmen, entrepreneurs, art collectors." What initiatives have been taking to help the artist community during the pandemic," During the lockdown, we discussed with artists, clients and Businessman about helping the artists and we concluded that what helps the artists ultimately is the art sales which helps the artist to monetize through his work? That's why we have the galleries, the auction houses and the entire art market. So we thought of doing more exhibitions and selling the paintings to help the artists. So it's beneficial for both the artist and the clients. In my exhibitions, 10-15% of artists are younger artists who have fresh ideas and need exposure."

Taking about his future plans he says," Since the market is more virtual now,I'm planning bigger 'screen shows',which I attempted in Dubai couple if year's ago.Its a very different concept which is neither an auction not an exhibition.So we showcase the paintings on big screens in a luxury hotel banquet room along with a good catalogue, while they can watch the paintings,they enjoy cocktails with soft music, so its more of a kind if a of virtual experience and if they like the painting they can book from the catalogue."

Exhibition Segment

'Colors' Online Show
The 13th edition of Colors, is an amalgamation of a personal overtone of the beckoning of the phantasmagorical age, celebrating memories of over 50 Indian artists of the older and younger genre, in 100 paintings. Cogent individualist idioms and radically innovative depictions, shift to directness and harder precision, absorbed with elements of rush strokes typical to the Shantiniketan tradition, the expressiveness ranges from Neo-Urban Expressionism, personal mysticism, overplay erotic expressions, to land and seascapes, semi-abstract portraiture, abstracts, portraiture and more.

Participating artists:
Manjit Bawa, Suhas Roy Sanjay Bhattacharya Subroto Gangopadhyay, Suhas Bahulkar Vijendra Sharma Vrindavan Solanki Gurcharan Singh Nayanaa Kanodia Ajay Dey, John Douglas Charan Sharma Dharmendra Rathore Vinod Sharma Anand Panchal Niladri Paul Amit Bhar, Amit Lodh, Arpita Bhawsar, Balu Choudhary Bhiva Punekar Dinkar Jadhav Farhad Hussain Ramesh Gorjala Madhusudhan Kumar Manohar Rathore Manoj Paturkar Nayanjit

Nikam Madhumita Bhattacharya Nawal Kishore Naveena Ganjoo Neena Singh Nitin Utge Nishant Dange Parmesh Paul Pintu Paul Pranita Bora Prakash Ambegaonkar Pravin Utge

Ranjit Kurmi Adib Shaikh Abhishekh Patil Anand Dabli Sachin Sagare Sanjay Kumar Sanjay Soni Sanjiv Sankpal Shrikant Kadam Shivani Mathur Shruti Oswal Sukanta Das Subroto Das Sunil Lohar Vivek Kumavat Vinita Das Gupta Sujiet Das Yashwant Shirwadkar Anna Dias and others.

For the art aficionados who could not attend the show at Jahangir Art Gallery, Artland brings the viewing in the comfort of your home. Curated by Sunil Chauhan, Colors can also be viewed physically at Artland Gallery.

For Online viewing visit www.suanartland.com

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