We recently went to Kerala to experience the second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. We’d heard amazing things back in 2012 when it launched, and were curious to check it out for ourselves. Not only did we see some great work, but Fort Kochi, where most of the biennale takes place, is the most charming town and the buildings that house the art are worth admiring in themselves. Here are a few of our highlights.
Beautiful, atmospheric landscapes by Aji VN
Hew Locke's 'Sea Power'
British artist Hew Locke’s ‘Sea Power’ made from black cord and beads illustrates ‘the intercontinental links forged by early explorers and seekers whose voyages on unknown seas left behind a world forever transformed by the encounter’.
'Background Story: Endless Xishan Mountain Scenery' by Xu Bing
This amazing work consisted of a three dimensional collage of natural and found materials attached to one side of a transluscent screen, which when viewed against light created a silhouette on the other side of the screen that resembled a classical Chinese painting.
NS Harsha's 79ft canvas
This incredible huge abstract painting depicted the deep voids of the universe...
Marie Velardi's 'Future Perfect, 21st Century'
One of those pieces we could spend ages revisiting was Marie Velardi’s ‘Future Perfect, 21st Century’. A timeline of the 21st Century and past predictions for the future. For example, according to R.J. Pellat in 1938, in 2015 ‘There is a world government and a single currency for the whole planet, the Banko…’
Gigi Scaria's 'Chronicle of the Shores Foretold'
What a great location for it!
Beach front installations
On the beach front were several installations, including Rathin Barman’s ‘A House with a view’, a tent-like structure with a pattern constructed from zig zags and stairways.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s ‘Pan-anthem’
We found this installation interesting. Based on the vital statistics of military spending around the world it consisted of speakers, each one representing a country, which played the national anthem of that country as you got close to it. Countries were arranged in groups according to their military spending, starting with countries with no military forces on the left, ending with the highest spending on the right.
KG Subramanyan ‘War of the Relics'
Martin Creed at Durbar Hall
One of the great things about the biennale was in the amazing buildings that the works were installed in. Here is Martin Creed’s ‘Work No. 232: the whole world + the work = the whole world’ on the beautiful Durbar Hall.
If you can get down to Kochi before the end of March when the biennale finishes, go! It really is worth it.