Authors

Art sans aesthetics

MIRRORING LIFE Anurag Tripathi

MIRRORING LIFE Anurag Tripathi  

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Novelist Anurag Tripathi explains why he has shown art as an investment in “Kalayug”

In the age of Kalyug (the age of darkness), kala (art) has been reduced to an investment asset. Earlier art was meant for direct consumption, to admire but today it has a become a product. The elite class procures it to enter a particular socio-cultural group, whereas the middle class purchases it to adorn their walls. The number of people who understand the true aesthetics of art are very few.

Dealing with this issue is Anurag Tripathi’s debut novel “Kalayug”. A thriller, it highlights how the manipulative stock market enters the unorganised and opaque art industry. Jay Malhotra, a banker, finds himself exploited by the powerful dealers, experts and gallery owners who manoeuvre this relatively new booming industry. With unexpected twists and turns, this book is a fast-paced, revealing read about the fissures that have popped up since the late 1990s.

Inspired by real life situation, Anurag, who has a degree in Advanced Creative Writing from The University of Oxford, attempts to unveil the unregulated art industry in India. The concept of hero and anti-hero is outdated as he believes that there is no definite way characters will react. With the flow of exact replica of master art pieces in the market the definition of true and authentic art has faded. As an investment banker, who very well understands investor’s psychology, Anurag says, “The predominant reason for the purchase of art is its investment value. If you can create the perceived scarcity in the market, people will purchase it because it is scarce, not because it is valuable.” The implicit understanding is to make money out of it and not to save its aesthetics for posterity. The commercialisation of art has created an opinionated infrastructure which decides the price on the basis of its demand. To secure authentication of art pieces, Anurag says there is need for standardisation, transparency, pricing and regulation in the industry.

“Kalayug” explicitly talks about works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore who Anurag believes was a larger-than-life personality. He says, “Even he had to struggle to be accepted by the art fraternity. It is only in 1930 when he went outside India and his works were recognised there that people started lining up outside his house.” Through herd mentality, Anurag shows the struggles of an artist particularly in India.

Very few investors in the art industry have a significant background, fewer have read about it and that too only to be able to say something, “They only have an investment acumen but not the sensibility for art.”

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 4:55:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/Art-sans-aesthetics/article17024219.ece

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