The second Kochi – Muziris Biennale, the contemporary art festival, has been kick started recently in Kochi, Kerala, India. The festival runs from December 12, 2014 to March 29, 2015. Spread across 8 venues in Fort Kochi, this year’s festival will feature 94 artists from 30 different countries. Themed Whorled Explorations, the biennale will “bring together sensory and conceptual propositions that map our world referencing history, geography, cosmology, time, space, dreams and myths.” according to its website.
I attended the first biennale held in 2012 at the same venues and came back with some interesting images for a post. But I did not have a blog back then and posting these in Facebook seemed like a disservice to these complex renditions. Here are a few of these images since I think blogs elicit a bit more discerning audience.
‘Ways of Seeing’ by Vivek Vilasini
Vivek Vilasini’s works (and their titles, more so) seem pretty self-explanatory without a synopsis. Here, the artist explores the duality of perception through these images.
‘The Last Supper – Gaza’ by Vivek Vilasini
Yet another work that depicts the famous Last Supper painting but in an extremely unlikely setting.
‘Veni, vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered’ by L.N. Tallur
Synopsis: Conquest is a basic human characteristic. At a macro level, history of mankind is full of conquering of the land, its being and its possessors. At a micro level, it is an attempt of conquer death, hunger and ageing. Hatha Yoga is the Yoga (union) of Ham (vital life force) and Tham (mental force). Hatha Yoga teaches how to conquer hunger, thirst, and sleep; how to overcome the effects of heat and cold; how to gain perfect health and cure disease without using drugs; how to arrest the untimely decay of the body resulting from the waste of vital energy; how to preserve youth even at an age of one hundred…
‘Untitled’ by Sun Xun
The Malayalam phrase reads ‘sathyathinu tolvi matram’ – loosely translated as ‘truth only loses.’
‘Untitled’ by Subodh Gupta
Synopsis: The boat suggests notions of migration and survival, experienced most acutely by the deprived masses of the society, which feature prominently in several past works of the artist. When the familiar world and home ceases to be what we know it to be, then the natural instinct of man compels him to convert that piece of boat into his home.
‘Untitled’ by M.I.A
Yes, she is a rockstar artist. True to her personality, this installation consisted of ‘ten brightly colored, 8 foot long print collages, framed with custom-built mirror mosaics. Built up of layers of saturated, digital colors and reflective, light-catching surfaces, the works feature 3D images of parrots, jungle foliage and gemstones, layered with photographs of crowds, children and cars.’ Totally multi-colored, totally M.I.A.
‘Tug of War’ by Jalaja
Duality in human identity. In Jalaja’s words: “Singly, person gains vitality; his emotions and aspirations become central to us all. When we look at him in a wider context, he is just part of a queue, a mob.”
‘The Sovereign Forest by Amar Kanwar’
Synopsis: The Sovereign Forest attempts to reopen discussion and initiate a creative response to our understanding of crime, politics, human rights and ecology. The installation seeks help from film, books and multiple media of various dimensions.
‘The Ship of Tarshish’ by Prasad Raghavan
Synopsis: The Ship of Tarshish, while a Biblical reference, illustrates the essential deceptiveness and darkness of man’s heart. It is evil and self-seeking and in its wake are conflict and slavery. They (the British) came bearing their spiritual greatness and left bearing the wealth of the conquered.
‘Fado music in reverse’ by Robert Montgomery
“The strange new music of the crying songs of the people we left behind mixing as your boat touches stone here as my new bones touch your bones.” This poem, composed by Robert himself, is about “exile in light on the sea-facing facade of Aspinwall House.”
‘Erase’ by Srinivas Prasad
Synopsis: At the end of the viewing period the cocoon is set ablaze at night in a ritual that destroys the structure along with the thoughts, memories and confessions uttered within. All remnants of the construction are destroyed leaving nothing behind except sand.
‘Cloud for Kochi’ by Alfredo Jaar
Synopsis: The texts are written in reverse making them unreadable but poetic signs. By looking at their reflection in the water, they become readable. A fragment from one of the most beautiful poems ever written in any language: Kalidasa’s Cloud Messenger, choosing the segments related to water and clouds, and ideally locate these texts on the wall in the shape of a cloud. On one side, the text is in Sanskrit. On the other side in English.
‘Celebration in the Laboratory’ by Atul Dodiya
Synopsis: The photo installation Celebration in the Laboratory celebrates some of the contributors who have made Indian modern and contemporary art significant.
’72 Privileges’ by Joseph Semah
Synopsis: The story of the copper plates tells us about the 72 privileges that were granted to the Jewish and Christian communities by the last king of the Chera dynasty, Cheraman Perumal.
Miscellaneous Wall Arts
Are you going to the Biennale being held this year in Kochi? Leave a comment.