Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Sep 29, 2016
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The Kochi Biennale Foundation and the curator of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

The Kochi Biennale Foundation

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF), an artist-led non-profit institution founded by renowned artists Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari in 2010. 

Since its inception, the KMB has established itself as a catalyst for artistic engagement and dialogue in India, becoming a repository of ideas and ideologies, an occasion to reimagine both past and present, and reflect upon the notions of diversity and cosmopolitanism as represented by the pluralism of Kochi itself. Previous editions, in 2012 and 2014, showcased the works of 183 artists from around the world, and had a combined draw of nearly a million visitors. 

In addition to the Biennale, KBF also manages several education and outreach activities to augment art education, and foster wider debate and discussion on the topic of contemporary art. 

The Biennale’s third outing will present a multifaceted programme that also showcases the results of the KBF’s outreach efforts among students of all ages. This includes the ‘Students’ Biennale’, a nationwide outreach project involving 60 Indian art colleges and curated by 15 young curators, and ‘Art by Children (ABC)’, India’s first children’s-only art event, a project aimed at initiating youngsters into art and art appreciation with children as both artist and audience.                        

About the Curator

Sudarshan Shetty is one of the most significant figures of contemporary Indian art.  Originally trained as a painter at the Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai, he moved early on to sculpture and installation and more recently into film.  

He is well known for enigmatic, large-scale installations in which physical objects, composed and joined in unfamiliar ways, become the media for contemplating loss, absence, death, emptiness and regeneration.  His work rigorously explores dualisms and polarities articulated through the binary oppositions of human being and object being, life and death, absence and presence, seeking and revealing their immanence in all forms of being. 
In his recent work, Shetty has actively engaged with other artistic forms, including poetry and writing, music and architecture to consider the distinctions between action on-screen and off-screen, the real and the imagined, tradition and the contemporary. 

An artist who came of age in India before the liberalisation of its economy and the internationalisation of its art world, Shetty’s career highlights a struggle with approaches that are conditioned by another’s vision and with the global canons of art history.  

In this spirit, his work is rooted in the knowledge that remains tacit and taken for granted in his own experience of music, poetry and storytelling traditions in Indian idioms, but which refuses to be positioned as elucidating a foreign worldview or a specific point of view on empirical reality – instead creating experiences that can be shared by viewers everywhere, drawing on their own resources.
In a career spanning nearly three decades, Shetty has exhibited widely, at some of the most prominent and prestigious international and Indian venues, most recently at the 20th Sydney Biennale. 

Other recent shows include ‘Shoonya Ghar – Empty Is This House’, NGMA, New Delhi, ‘Mimic Momento’, Galerie Daniel Templon, Brussels, 2015,‘Constructs  Constructions’, curated by Roobina Karode, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, 2015, ‘A Passage to India’ Staatliche Museum, Schwerin, Germany, 2015, ‘every broken moment, piece by piece’, GALLERYSKE, New Delhi, 2014, ‘The pieces earth took away’, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, 2012, ‘Critical Mass’, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, 2012, ‘Indian Highway’, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012, ‘The Matters Within: New Contemporary Art of India’, curated by Betti-Sue Hertz, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2011, ‘Paris-Delhi-Bombay’, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2011, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, curated by Walter Vanhaerents and Pierre-Olivier Rollin, Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels, 2011, ‘India Inclusive’, World Economic Forum, Davos, 2011, ‘Contemplating the Void’, curated by Nancy Spector, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2010, Vancouver Biennale, Vancouver, 2009, and several others, curator of the Biennale as tracing the trajectories of those streams. Incorporating this idea of the streams or rivers into my curatorial approach allows me to see the Biennale as a force and flow that continues beyond its own physical time frame and space,” said Shetty, whose work was featured in the debut KMB in 2012.

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