Art News & Views

Hard Talk

Witnessing this discussion has opened for me pockets of possibilities and responsibilities at the same time to review and reconfirm the relation between the art, its maker, its promoter and the art collector. The ethics of buying and selling art has always confirmed my attention. If money rules, then what are our minds working for?

During the course of this discussion, there have been moments of reasoning, disappointment, enthusiasm, sentiments and concern which I wish I could also share. But what I can convey to the readers is the urge to reform actions and visions as a responsible part of the community.

Veteran artist Jaya Ganguly and the inexhaustible gallery person Sudipta Sen through their talk conveyed to me the spirit of upholding the true senses of cultural valuation.

Jaya Ganguly to Sudipta Sen

Jaya Ganguly: My question is on behalf of the artist community that when a gallery commissions the works of various artists in order to exhibit those works in their respective galleries, they do so for a particular period of time and if in those days the art works do not sell the gallery simply returns it back to the artists. And now the sole responsibility rests with the artists to whom the works belong, to further readdress it, which now gets a second preference as it has already been viewed by the people. The question which arises out of the situation is-do the galleries owe any responsibility towards the commissioned work of the artists, if unsold?

Sudipta Sen: It has been over a decade that I am dealing with the system in art market and such questions are not new. And I shall not say that I am here coming up with a new answer. But from my observation I can point out certain existing structures that take us on issues related to the gallery – artist relationship. By taking works from the artists, galleries create a platform for the artists to promote their works in a larger public context. In doing this they also logically work on mounting up the whole show together. The primary factor which comes along with this is the role of commerce which is initiated by the gallery owner.

Here I also suggest that a gallery and an artist should come in mutual consideration regarding the art works and their commerce. From a personal perspective, I usually try to compensate the artists, especially who are young and upcoming with a decent allowance for their commissioned works. While being in the business for so many years, I have come across innumerable artists each having their own style of practice and proliferation and being a gallery owner it is also my responsibility to acknowledge their specialty as individuals, but at the same time each gallery has its own particular choice and collect art works or promotes artists accordingly. A gallery owner should have the foresight to assume how to market a specific style of art work before promoting it. And towards the art collectors and buyers, it will be my preference to offer them with works of art that are worth collecting and has a prospect.

From this one question of yours, multiple set of questions come to my mind which I suppose need reconsideration through our dealing in the trade of art. The first thing that comes to my mind is at this juncture of time, the level of competition has taken a huge leap and Kolkata as one of the important cities has to play a crucial role in justifying the contemporary art practices which can be done through the art historians, critics, curators, artists and the art community as a whole. Secondly, as a gallery owner, what I consider very important is my relation with the artists. Here I stress on the communication in that level where I can show my concern and suggestion to the artist and their practice as I have been consistently following their work tendencies.

Taking this opportunity to express my views, I call attention for a collective effort from the artist community to give a clear vision of the contemporary art practice, as I have time and again noticed, particularly in Kolkata, a sigh of discouragement in people who are expected to give direction to the trends and methods in art.

Another factor that needs consideration when elaborating on the movement of art market and art practice is the taste of art collectors or buyers. As with the market expansion the art world has seen affinity towards various trends in art making. As it is well understood that the passage of flow in the market is created by the demands, an art collector/ buyer needs to have a proper knowledge or awareness about the piece of art that they wish to pay for. What also comes up in this course of discussion is that our city needs more affluent and educated young buyers.

Sudipta Sen to Jaya Ganguly

Sudipta Sen: As an artist, do you prefer to restrict your choices of putting forward your art work to multiple exhibitions or galleries that you are approached by?

Jaya Ganguly: I believe that an individual should always voice his/her opinion and have a choice of their own. I along with my art practice have been placed in various expositions not only just by choice but also by courtesy. Though one should be concerned about the display of his/her art works and the fellow exhibitors, one cannot always check when it is a collective demonstration.

Compiled by 
Sampurna Chakraborty 







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art etc. news & views is a monthly magazine published from India in order to promote art and culture. It intends to raise awareness about art all around India and the world. The magazine covers art exhibitions, auction highlights, market trends, art happenings besides Antique, Collectibles, Fashion, Jewellery, Vintage, Furniture, Film, Music and Culture.