India’s first ‘art car’ auctioned off for Rs 13 lakh-plus

Hand-painted Nano brings riches to organisers of Kochi biennale

The world got its most expensive auction-generated Tata Nano, as a handpainted art car put on sale after India’s first biennale has gone under the hammer for more than 13 lakh rupees.

The outlandish-looking multi-colour four-wheeler fetched the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) Rs 13,01,402 ($22,438, inclusive of buyer’s premium) as a 24-hour-long online bidding organised by Saffronart at www.saffronart.com ended at 8 pm on Tuesday, ringing down the curtain on the country’s debut art car auction.

“It is so gratifying. I am thrilled to help raise money for this worthy cause,” said Bose Krishnamachari, president of the KBF, which organised the 96-day Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kerala from 12/12/12.

A Mumbai-based Malayali who was co-curator of the contemporary-art extravaganza, Krishnamachari had himself painted on the serene-white car which was handed over to him midway the festival — on February 14. Self-signed by celebrated film actor Mohanlal, the car was turned into another installation by Krishnamachari, who worked on it for four days.

The auctioned money would now go to the KBF, which is a public charitable trust registered KBF Head of Programmes and Digital Development Shwetal Patel said the provisions of Saffronart, which is one of India’s leading auction houses headquartered in Mumbai, did not permit disclosure of the identity of the victor bidder.

“The whole experience of organising the art show and, now, learning the auction result has been wonderful! The challenge was unique,” he added.Saffronart’s Shivajirao Gaekwar said the auction was set for zero reserve price which permitted the bidding to start at Rs. 100. This was “keeping in line with Bose’s well-known abstract idiom, this vivid, drivable installation evokes the myriad colours and emotions of The vehicle, which was donated to the KBF by Coffee Beanz of this city and La Gallery 360 of Thiruvananthapuram, has been parked at the Lulu Mall in suburban Edappally.

“We chose the Nano because it is the common man’s car,” said Krishnamachari, 50. The artist, who is a native of Mangottukara near Angamali in Ernakulam district, said he had used “maximum colours possible” and titled the work as ‘Maximum Nano’, under his renowned series Stretched Bodies.

“I used automotive paint. That will ensure the longevity of the work. We had got it laminated as well,” he revealed.

Round the globe, late English musician John Lennon and American singer-songwriter Janis Joplin have driven them. American artists Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol besides English painter-photographer David Hockney have painted them. But, it took 2013 for India to see

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