New Delhi, Dec 4 : The fifth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale will open on December 12 with over 200 projects spread across heritage properties and warehouses, galleries and public spaces across Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and Ernakulam in Kerala, and end on April 10, 2023.
The central exhibition ‘In Our Veins Flow Ink and Fire’, curated by Singaporean artist Shubigi Rao, will run until April 10, 2023, featuring 90 artists and over 40 new commissions at the historic Aspinwall House, Pepper House, and Anand Warehouse in Fort Kochi.
“Returning after a gap of four years, the 5th edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale examines how we survive, through song, materiality, joy, humour, and through language, whether written, verbal, and oral.After the states of fear, trauma and uncertain limbo of the pandemic years, it may seem strange to call for joy.Where is this optimism? Perhaps we can sense it more tangibly in artistic and collective work, especially in regional or particular contexts and forms, of the artists gathered here, in this Biennale,” Shubigi Rao said.
She added that the artists participating in the Biennale ‘find’ their counterparts from across the world, with work that includes questions like the possibly redemptive and revolutionary power of practice beyond the mark.
“We see this reflected in growing investigative methods in cultural work that directly excavate and implicate the monetisation of everything — whether environment, activism, crisis, knowledge production, and access, global capital flows and inequities.Our co-mingled virtual futures are not mere outcomes of the social isolation of the last two years.We are inextricable from the transmission of knowledge, ideas and capital, and so too are we subject to neoliberal infiltration and control.
“Implicated now is the concept of nation and inviolability of borders, a pernicious myth that denies the difusion of languages and ideas, of storytelling and sharing.Grief, anger, resistance and story are all present here.We can be messy in our attempts to remake or reshape our world in our struggles for equity, but rather than inchoate, these are nonconformist compositions, songs of new making.
In the face of capriciousness and volatility, against all odds, this Biennale thrums with the power of storytelling as strategy, of the transgressive potency of ink, and transformative ?re of satire and song,” she stressed.
Bose Krishnamachari, President, Kochi Biennale Foundation, said, “As we await you in Fort Kochi, for the 5th edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, we acknowledge change – a recalibration of our lives post the pandemic and at the foundation as we gear for another decade, having just turned 10 this year.We are optimistic, learning from Shubigi Rao’s vision for ‘In Our Veins flow Ink and Fire’ – of how artists navigate the realities of their conditions and hold hope with their creative intelligence and humour.”
Founded in 2010, the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) was started by artists for artists, with the intention to bring contemporary art and ideas from across the world to South Asia.
Krishnamachari said, “As every institution must, we are also constantly thinking about building a more agile, accommodative structure that is able to host a diversity of people and practices across various formats.”
KMB will also enter into a long-term collaboration with HH Art Spaces in Goa, who have been invited to curate the performance programme during the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2022 and will feature contributions from Amol K Patil, Joydeb Roaja, Sarah Naqvi, and Hilal Ahmed, among other artists.This edition also marks a culmination of our partnerships with UNESCO and the Muziris Heritage Project into a range of programmes along the river Periyar and in Fort Kochi.
A range of films including ‘Ek Jagah Apni’ by the Ektara Collective; ‘Yeh Freedom Life!’ by Priya Sen; ‘The Beginning of Anything’ by Maxime Fauconnier; ‘The Sun Behind the Clouds’ and ‘The Sweet Requiem’ by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam; ‘Dhuin’ and ‘Gamak Ghar’ by Achal Mishra; and a series of film screenings by Dharamsala International Film Festival will also be hosted.
The fifth edition of the Students Biennale will evolve through the duration of its exhibition and continue beyond its timeline.With the limitations of state education and to challenge the pressure to be exposed to materials, methods, and texts not relevant to our context, this edition will be informed by its student artists and the diversity of their practices, ideas and needs.
Led by Yogesh Barve and Saviya Lopes, Amshu Chukki, Arushi Vats, Suvani Suri, Afrah Shafiq, Premjish Achari and the Anga Art Collective, we hope to produce safe, transforming spaces for conversations and making.
The International Residency programme at the KBF will also evolve to focus on artistic research and thematic frameworks.
These will include two long-term multi-partner, collaborative projects that contemplate and challenge the imaginations of both the Indian Ocean world and the idea of Asia.A larger framework will be announced in the run up to the biennale.
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