Concepualized by Pollinator, a collective formed by Jiten Thukral, Sumir Tagra, and Prayas Abhinav, The Collection Bureau was an interactive project as part of the Forum at India Art Fair this year. The project served as a wonderful critique of the generation of value and validation of a work of art by the usual authorities: art history and preference of collectors. It aimed to make the process of value creation, which usually seems arbitrary, elitist, and difficult to understand or question, much more transparent and open to dialogue.
Images of works submitted via an open call were shortlisted with no bias towards any medium or subject matter. The selected artists were then invited to a face-to-face interview session at the fair itself. Artists answered a set of multiple choice questions based on an introspection of what they themselves consider to be valid, ethical, and valuable artistic work and practices. Then, following a discussion with the panel, the work was awarded 'Inherent Value Points' and, if agreed upon, acquired by The Collection Bureau as part of a growing archive and knowledge-base.
Through the course of the fair, one could see artists being interviewed at a long black table in a very aesthetically pleasing pale pink booth with a grid of empty frames lining the walls behind. As works were acquired through this new and inclusive process, the frames kept filling up. An image of my work got acquired too! Just like they did last year with the Memoir Bar, Thukral and Tagra once again provided an ecosystem to engage with questions relevant to contemporary art discourse in their signature aesthetic.