Diamonds, 2007, Bindis on panel, 64.25 x 70.25 inches. By Bharti Kher
According to ArtTactic, a London based research company that examines the art market, the art market boom for contemporary Indian art may very well be over-- at least for now. ArtTactic’s confidence index states that art market confidence in contemporary Indian art has dropped by 90 percent since last October. ArtTactic’s data is based on a number of factors-- including a balance between pessimistic and optimistic art market professionals who respond to their surveys. The responses were offered by over 80 individuals-- ranging from Indian and international collectors, art dealers, art advisers, to auction house specialists.
The confidence for Indian art in general has dropped 63% in the same length of time. The report states that the market for Indian art in general may take anywhere between two and 10 years to recover due to the aftermath of a market that sent prices for Indian art souring in the last few years. In fact, just over a year ago prices for some Indian artists had doubled-- a rapid increase in what turned out to be a paper-tiger market. The founder of ArtTactic, Anders Petterson, has said, “people see there’s nothing to hold these prices up any more.”.
The current slump is largely due to the state of the economy and the financial crises that has swept the world-- another sign that the stability of the art market in general can shift rather quickly. The implications of the bubble-burst market for contemporary Indian art may end up being disastrous for western art dealers who invested heavily in Indian artist since 2006. Concerning the burst Petterson has stated, “Western galleries got involved with Indian art at a high price-point and now they’re stuck with it.”
Needless to say, there is some concern that younger contemporary Indian artists may end up in obscurity due to the fact that the high prices for their work is no longer valid within the current art market-- 10 years is a long time to wait for the art market to recover after having been introduced to rising success early on.
Young contemporary Indian artists are not alone. There has also been a downward spiral in the art market for contemporary Chinese art. Similar to the contemporary Indian art market many of the top selling Chinese artists were virtually unknown before the Chinese art market boom. Successful young contemporary artists from India and China reaped what quick fame and fortune offers to artists who dominate the global art market.
I suppose the lesson to be learned from this is that success can be fleeting-- these young artists have been caught in the downward spiral of the economically burdened art market. That said, the art market may recover just as fast as it crashed. If the global financial crises has taught us anything it is that the unexpected can happen.
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