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Last Updated Friday May 26 2017 02:27 PM IST

'Forming in the pupil of an eye': Sudarshan Shetty explains his curatorial vision for Biennale

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Sudarshan Shetty Sudarshan Shetty

Kochi: On Monday, 12/12/16, the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) will get underway, setting off 108 days of the largest and most anticipated celebration of contemporary art in South Asia.

Titled ‘Forming in the pupil of an eye’, KMB 2016 will feature the performances and production of 97 artists from 31 countries. Of the 36 Indians on the list, eight are from Kerala. The line-up is a mixture of styles, disciplines and sensibilities with writers, dancers, poets, musicians and theater professionals sharing the Biennale space alongside a host of visual artists.

Expanding on his artistic vision at a press conference here Sunday, KMB 2016 curator Sudarshan Shetty said, “The eye is the only reflective organ in the body. It reflects as much back into the world as it takes. ‘Forming in the pupil of an eye’ is not an image of one reality, but a reflection of multiple realities and of multiple possibilities in time. My curatorial approach was shaped therefore as a conversation between different streams and forms of art practice. This Biennale is intended as a dialogue between multiple perspectives and possibilities as it evolves within the space and through the duration of the Biennale and beyond.”

“In aid of this, there are art projects this year that will involve spaces and individuals not traditionally associated with the Biennale. For example, Latvian artist Voldemars Johansons has changed the horn sounds on a number of auto rickshaws making them ambassadors of the Biennale as they drive around the city while Argentine writer Sergio Chejfec is writing a 88-chapter novel while moving through Kochi,” Shetty added.

The media gathering also heard from KMB co-founders Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu as well as Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) CEO Manju Sara Rajan. A number of KBF Trustees, including Sunil V. and Bonny Thomas, were in attendance as well.

Thanking the state government for its patronage of India’s only Biennale, Krishnamachari said, “The KMB is fortunate to enjoy the resolute support of the Government of Kerala. We are honoured to have the chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurate the third edition of what has become a Kerala institution. We look forward to welcoming the public to their Biennale over the next four months.”

Pinarayi Vijayan will officially declare KMB 2016 open at a ceremony to be held at 6.30 pm Monday in Parade Ground, Fort Kochi. Prior to the evening function, there will be a flag hoisting at primary venue Aspinwall House, which will signal the grand opening.

“Kochi is today a pilgrimage site for art. Our stated mandate, as the People’s Biennale, is to take art out to the public and to make art spaces more inclusive. The KBF is the biggest art organization in India to be officially empanelled to receive funding for education initiatives. The only way to thank the Government of Kerala, our highly committed corporate, cultural, diplomatic and individual patrons and partners is to keep getting better,” Komu said.

He also thanked the small army of support personnel, including masons, welders, carpenters, electricians and head load workers as well as their respective trade unions, which has extended its support to help bring out KMB 2016.

The main exhibition — spread across 12 venues in Fort Kochi-Mattancherry and Ernakulam —will be supported by an ancillary programme of events that includes the Students’ Biennale, conversations, talks, seminars, the Art By Children and the Pepper House Residency exhibitions, workshops, Artists’ Cinema and music sessions, among other activities.

The venues for KMB 2016 are Aspinwall House, Cabral Yard, Pepper House, David Hall, Durbar Hall, Kashi Art Café, Kashi Art Gallery, M.A.P. Project Space, Anand Warehouse, T.K.M. Warehouse, Cochin Club and Kottapuram Fort.

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