Biennial Love

Biennial means (an event) lasting for two years or occurring every two years. In particular, it can refer to: Biennial plant, a plant which blooms in its second year and then dies.

Biennale, the Italian word for “biennial” and a term used within the art world to describe an international exhibition of contemporary art, stemming from the use of the phrase for the Venice Biennale. (The English form, “biennial”, is also commonly used to describe these art events.)

The viewer is much like an artist who experiences a self-tailored meaning. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is materialised in the eyes of the beholders.

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi, Kerala. It was the first Biennale of its kind that was held in India. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an initiative of the Kochi-Biennale Foundation with support from the Government of Kerala. The exhibition is set in spaces across Kochi, Muziris and surrounding islands with shows being held in existing galleries, halls, and site-specific installations in public spaces, heritage buildings and disused structures.

The Birth Of Kochi-Muziris Biennale:
In May 2010, Mumbai based contemporary artists of Kerala origin, Bose Krishnamachari and Riyaz Komu, were approached by then culture minister of Kerala, M.A Baby to start an international art project in the state. Acknowledging the lack of an international platform for contemporary art in India, Bose and Riyas proposed the idea of a Biennale (a large scale international exhibition) in Kochi on the lines of the Venice Biennale.

The sites for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale were:
1. Aspinwall House
2. David Hall
3. Pepper House
4. Moidu’s Heritage
5. Durbar Hall
6. Cabral Yard
7. Parade Ground
8. Fort Kochi beach
9. Kashi Art Gallery
10. Jew Town Road Godown
11. Rose Street Bungalow
12. Cochin Club
13. David Horvitz

A biennial of contemporary art can be a vital artistic and intellectual infrastructure to contemplate our stories and optics with which we view our world.

Just as life does not offer one narrative or one path Forming in the pupil of an eye offers you works that collapse into, absorb and comment on each other, reflecting each other and offering a multiplicity of narratives and paths.

Can a shift in the optics, and the focal lengths at which we view our world, propagate a shift in story?

From an artistic perspective, biennials and fertile grounds to exchange notes and cross-pollinate each other’s imaginations as artists, intellects and audience. They can described as canopies for open-ended experimentation.

Can the biennial be an observation deck to view the world, gaining orientation from the unique vantage point of the place where it is hoisted? Is a place, in fact, an event in time?

If one walks in the direction of mattancherry, where the spice markets are located, the smell of spices from the previous evening’s transactions remain suspended in the air, as if they have lingered in these historic streets for decades or centuries.

The exact location of muziris is still a matter of speculation to historians and archeologists. It is believed to have disappeared presumbly because of cataclysmic cyclone and floods in 1341, altering the geography of the region.

Fort kochi in the early hours of the morning is a silent town barring the dawn chorus from a stipulated bird population, and the hustle and bustle of fishing activity around the chinese fishing nets known locally as 
cheena valas.

For an exhibition-making process that was prompted by moments in history and time, the actual exhibition shifts axis and commences by making rapid departures in space.

Just as life does not offer one narrative or one path Forming in the pupil of an eye offers you works that collapse into, absorb and comment on each other, reflecting each other and offering a multiplicity of narratives and paths.


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