Kochi Art On World Map

The second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, titled Whorled Explorations and curated by artist Jitish Kallat, is slated to open on December 12 at multiple venues in Kochi. The exhibition, featuring 95 artists from 30 countries, will be open to the public till March 29, 2015.

The first edition of the Biennale in 2012 was founded and curated by artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu. Whorled Explorations will be accompanied by ‘History Now’, a series of talks​​ and seminars conceived by the Kochi Biennale Foundation. In addition, there will be the Student’s Biennale, a pilot programme opening on December 13 engaging students from government-run art colleges across India, led by young curators selected from across the country. The programmes include performances, collateral events, interactive projects for children, as well as the Artist’s Cinema project.

Some of the key artists include Franceso Clemente, Anish Kapoor, Christian Waldvogel, K G Subramanyan, Sudhir Patwardhan, Ghulammohammed Sheikh and Namboodiri among others. The exhibition brings together art works that picture versions of the world with references to history, geography, astronomy, time and myth, interlacing the terrestrial with the celestial.

Explains curator and artist Kallat, “Two chronologically overlapping but unrelated historical episodes in Kerala during the 14th to 17th centuries became the focus of this exhibition. Drawing from them, allusions to the historical and the cosmological recur throughout the exhibition like exaggerated extensions to gestures we make, when we try to see or understand something.”

From the 15th century, the shores of Kochi were closely linked to the maritime chapter of the Age of Discovery — a tale of grit, greed and human ingenuity as a string of navigators arrived here after traversing large uncharted portions of the planet seeking spices and riches. The era heralded an age of exchange, conquest, coercive trading and colonialism, animating the early processes of globalisation. This drama of search, seduction and subjugation decisively altered the cartography of the planet. Within the shifting geography were sharp turns in history where we find, in an embryonic form, several of the themes we inherit in our world today. The 14th to 16th century was also the time when astronomer-mathematicians belonging to what came to be known as the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics were making transformative propositions for understanding our planet and locating human existence within the wider cosmos. 

Whorled Explorations is conceived as a temporary observation deck hoisted at Kochi. The exhibition draws upon a wide glossary of signs from this legendary maritime gateway to bring together sensory and conceptual propositions that map our world.

By Poonam Goel 
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts for unboxedwriters.com)
Published: 19th November 2014 06:07 AM 
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