The Annual Mela

The Annual Mela

Meera Menezes moves from one booth to another at the India Art Fair in Delhi.

A bumblebee stood transfixed by a twisted loop of large glass spheres. Viewed from different angles, they alternated between looking green and transparent. The work, Olafur Eliasson’s Continued infinite conversation, was one of the showstoppers at the Berlin-based gallery neugerriemschneider’s booth at the India Art Fair (IAF). Meanwhile, the person dressed as the bumblebee turned to offer me a tiny envelope. In it lay a ‘bee manifesto’, the last lines of which read, “Bee aware, there is no land of milk and honey, there’s no future, where bees die,” drawing attention to the alarming extinction of insects on the planet and the imminent collapse of nature’s ecosystems. A sobering note on which to begin my tour of the art fair!

The 11th edition of the IAF, mounted by the Director Jagdip Jagpal and her team from the 1st to the 3rd of February, brought together 75 galleries and contemporary art institutions from India and abroad. 

neugerriemschneider was a first-time participant at the IAF and had on display works by several well-known artists including a reclining figure by Polish artist Pawel Althamer and a porcelain vase by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Other first time entrants from abroad included Japan’s Sokyo Gallery and Korea’s Arario Gallery, the latter showcasing Nalini Malani’s Instagram animations created on her iPad as well as an array of Tallur LN’s sculptures that offered droll juxtapositions of classical Indian sculptural elements with grinning skeletons.