Following a visit to the ongoing third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) earlier in the week, award-winning architect Bijoy Jain felt the artworks on display double as documentation on the current state of mankind.
“The artworks all carry within them something enduring and this enables a sort of real-time documentation of our state of being or the current state of where we are as inhabitants and inheritors of this universe,” said Jain, who was a participating artist at KMB 2014.
“The Biennale is a whole universe of different thoughts, actions and movements that are very much rooted in the idea of contemporary art culture. I absorbed so much over my visit that I would need quite a bit of time to process what I have experienced here,” he added.
The Mumbai-based architect also expressed his appreciation for the spirit of inclusivity in curator Sudarshan Shetty’s vision for the Biennale, contending that the diversity of artworks, styles and forms on display made this edition of the Biennale “very special”.
“What stood for me is Michael Karikis’s Children of Unquiet, a video about a group of young boys from Southern England rapping. The line-drawings in the Secret Dialogues series by C. Bhagyanath was excellent and Where the flowers still grow, the photo exhibition by Bharat Sikka on Kashmir, had a poetic, poignant quality,” said Jain, who is also a visiting professor of architecture at Yale University in the US.
Accompanying Jain on the private visit was supermodel Lakshmi Menon, who said she would take home some intriguing images and interpretations of contemporary expression.
“This edition of KMB has introduced me to some artists
who were unknown to me and also to some new forms of contemporary expressions. K.R. Sunil’s photo series Vanishing Life-Worlds, which peeks into the life and culture of people from Ponnani, is visual poetry,” said Menon, who helped put India on the international fashion map.
The Malayali model from Bengaluru said the video installation En puntas by Spanish artist Javier Pérez at Pepper house had her on a “knife’s edge”. ‘The work features a looped video of ballerina performing atop a giant piano wearing a customised set of pointed shoes with a pair of sharp kitchen knives at the toe-ends.
She was also “astonished and disturbed” by Défilé, the photographic installation by Russian artist collective AES+F that features life-size portraits of corpses dressed in high fashion.
“Défilé is a very disturbing work. The idea of dressing up dead bodies like Barbie dolls is something that displaces one’s mind from its normal track. Perhaps the idea originated from the ancient Egyptian tradition of mummification where they adorned human corpse in finery before entombing them,” she said.
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