Distinctive Biennale Graffiti an Artwork in itself

Kochi: For over a month, the most visible sign that the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) is imminent has been, literally, just around the corner in Fort Kochi.

KMB 2016 graffiti with the iconic logo adorns walls at around 20 locations here. Accompanied by distinctive wavy, multi-coloured, multi-script text, the wall art announces the arrival of ‘Biennale Kaalam’ (Biennale Season).

While the work and the typeface itself are eye-catching, more important is the intent. “The idea was to find a visual language for the Biennale that reflects the multiculturalism of Kochi,” said Kochi Biennale Foundation Trustee Sunil V., the award-winning adman who conceptualised the design of what is now termed the ‘Biennale Font’.

“This half-art, half-language graphic ties into one of the core curatorial themes for KMB 2016: multiple interpretations. But how do you get people to buy into what KMB represents with an identifiable font that also allows them to the freedom to interpret it as they see it? That was the challenge,” he added.

For the four-member team of wall artists that put up the signage over three nights last month, the challenge lay in the execution.

“Recreating the design elements while staying faithful to the intent was the toughest part, but now the multi-lined text lends a different appeal and mood to the overall effect of the artwork. The waves painted alongside the text refers to the setting of the Biennale – surrounded by the sea and the backwaters,” said city-based artist Narendran M.

An altogether more subtle hint is in the new paintjob at every KMB site in the city. The ‘Biennale White’ – a pure white with no undertones from corporate partner Asian Paints is the event’s signature colour – sets each venue apart.

“The Biennale is a Kochi institution. Now the writing, as they say, is on the wall,” Sunil said.

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