Kochi: A host of international art experts visiting the ongoing third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) have praised the uniqueness of Sudarshan Shetty’s curatorial vision, observing that India’s only Biennale serves as a guide to contemporary art practices.
Following a visit to Aspinwall House on Tuesday, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation director Richard Armstrong noted that the Biennale was a source of information and an important demonstration of the linkages between Kochi and the outside world.
“The Biennale is a potpourri of ideas from around the world gathered in an amazing setting. The value of exhibitions like the KMB, which are hosted in places that are considered remote, as a point of pride for the people living here cannot be understated,” said Armstrong, who founded the Carnegie International exhibition for contemporary art forms in Pittsburgh, USA – one of the oldest contemporary art exhibitions.
“It has the feel of a number of survey exhibitions happening in Korea and even in the USA, where information has to be collected from different disciplines to build a good story. Thus, the Biennale is a regionally-based exhibition with international outlook and exposure,” he said.
For Sheena Wagstaff, Program Chairman of Contemporary Art at the ‘Met’ – the Metropolitan Museum of Art – in New York city, the KMB was a rewarding experience – one which offers new ideas on contemporary art practices.
“As one walks from gallery to gallery experiencing different art works, one will come to discern a continual theme that runs throughout the show, like an unfolding of narrative with time, minus a conventional structure,” Wagstaff said. “This Biennale is also about the daily lives of men and women, about people of Kochi.”
Another feature of this edition is that it has been curated by the sensibility of an artist who is influenced by music – which is reflected in the art works exhibited here, she added. “The notion of sound as art is a relatively new aspect that has been included in this edition. Different art disciplines, besides the conventional mediums, have been brought together,” Wagstaff said.
This was also noted by Shanay Jhaveri, Assistant Curator of South Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who said KMB 2016 had a different curatorial vision from the last two editions, bringing in other kinds of experiences and alternate modes of engaging with materials.
“Artists from different fields such as literature, music, and videography have been brought in to engage within Shetty’s curatorial vision, which demands dedication and time from the viewer. This edition, the KMB has grown beyond its regional mould into a larger ecosystem courtesy the curator,” Jhaveri said.