Forty-year-old Harsh Sinha uknowingly stumbles into the world of art when he ends up spending almost all his life’s savings on one painting. Sinha, overweight, unhappy and in the throes of a mid-life crisis, throws up his job in Mumbai and goes back home to his wife and daughter in Chennai. But things are not the way he had left them — the artist next-door has caught his wife’s fancy. It is at this juncture that Sinha falls into the pit that the contemporary Indian art world can sometimes be.
Harsh Sinha is the protagonist of Artist, Undone, the debut novel of art dealer and collector V Sanjay Kumar. This is also one of the few fictional works that deal with the world of art.
Through Sinha’s eyes, the confusing world of contemporary Indian art comes alive. “The art world is a fascinating area where aesthetics and commerce sometimes walk hand in hand. My book tries to capture some of the spirit that pervades this world,” says the author, who changed professions in 1988, when he gave up his job in the financial services sector to open Sakshi Gallery in Chennai. The 234-page book (Hachette India) will be launched in Delhi next Saturday. Autobiographical “to a certain extent”, Kumar admits that his association with the art world — with the dealers and collectors he met, and the art fairs he visited — played a big role in plotting the narrative. “This book is nothing but sweet revenge; the art world has been messing with my mind (and pocket) for years, and this is my way of uncovering this world of intrigue,” he says.