INDIA The Indian art market is going through a major transformation, where the market’s focus has shifted from modern Indian art to contemporary Indian art.
According to a report this month by ArtTactic, an art market research service which provides analysis and advice for art collectors, art professionals, art institutions and art funds, its contemporary art market Confidence Indicator now stands 20 per cent higher than the indicator for the modern art market. However, recent auction results show that there is still strong demand for the right period works by a selected number of modern Indian artists such as FN Souza, MF Husain, VS Gaitonde, Ram Kumar and SH Raza.
Western museums and private collectors have started to take a strong interest in what is happening in India at the moment. This will continue in 2008, with exhibitions planned at the Serpentine Gallery, the Saatchi gallery, the Mori Art Museum, as well as the current exhibition “Passage to India” at Initial Access, the space recently opened by UK collector Frank Cohen.
According to the ArtTactic Indian Art Market Confidence Survey, the overall Indian art market confidence indicator fell 13 per cent from the last reading in October 2007.
The indicator has been hit by a 54 per cent drop in both the current and future confidence in the economy. With India’s inflation surging to a more than three-year high, with global financial markets in decline and with crude oil prices rising, the economic prospect looks less promising than six months ago. And as the economic component of the confidence indicator carries a 33 per cent weighting in the overall Indian Art Market Confidence Indicator, the significant loss in confidence weighs heavily on the overall results.
However, despite the fall in overall ArtTactic Indian art market confidence, both the confidence levels in the modern and contemporary market increased significantly: up 17 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.
After the slowdown that started at the beginning of 2007, where the modern Indian art market experienced a 38 per cent drop in annual auction volume compared with the record year of 2006, the modern Indian art market is now regaining some of the lost confidence.
The ArtTactic Indian Modern Art Market Confidence Indicator is up 27 per cent from the last reading in October 2007, and while the survey respondents are less positive about the near future of the Indian contemporary market, the “expectation indicator” for the modern art market stands 23 per cent higher than the “present indicator”, showing the modern art market could be about to regain some of the ground that it recently lost.
The ArtTactic Indian Market Confidence Indicator was launched in May 2007. It is derived from polling 81 respondents, including curators, collectors, dealers, galleries and auction houses operating in the Indian art market.