Nurturing biennale is Our Collective Responsibility


Kochi: Every edition of KMB is diverse, not just in terms of representation but also in terms of artistic practices, themes, and forms of engagement. Sudarshan Shetty, the curator of this year’s edition, titled ‘Forming in the Pupil of an Eye’, aims to move away from the constraints of the thematic and explore how other forms of artistic practices could also be brought into, and how they would interact with contemporary art. KMB 2016 is Shetty’s first curatorial venture. He studied painting at the Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai and graduated in 1985 and his art practice has evolved over three decades from being centred on painting to multi-media explorations.

 What were your first thoughts when you were asked to do this Biennale?

When I was first asked to be the curator of this Biennale, my first response was to come up with a statement that came from the concerns within my own practice as an artist. But I realised quickly that I had to move out of those limitations, to start with something that was outside of my own limitations.

What do you expect visitors to take away from the show?

One of the questions that I began with was to ask whether one could see the Biennale as a process that unfolds through the physical time of the Biennale and perhaps beyond that time. I am looking forward to that unfolding very eagerly myself.

Apart from the fact that this is my first curatorial venture, it is an enormous task also considering that the Biennale is planned on a large scale and only two editions old. The event needs a lot of nurturing that is a collective responsibility of all of us.

 Please brief us on the theme you have chosen.

The line is from Sharmistha Mohanty’s poem, the idea of which is indirectly taken from the Vedic thinking that when a sage opens his eyes to the world, he assimilates all the multiplicities of the world in that single instance and simultaneously reflects that vision back into the world. Eyes are the only reflective surface in the body. All our ancient philosophical ideas come from our physical being.

How do you plan to use the richness of the location?

The enormous maritime and multicultural history of Kerala is something of an over-determined position to take. Moreover, it will always be an underlying phenomenon in whatever you do. I see Biennale only as a natural extension of those multiple and layered histories that the location of Kochi represents.

 Other than new artists and theme, how is this edition of Biennale going to stand out from other Biennales?

One will have to wait and see. I will be happy even if I would just be able to fulfil the expectations that have been established by the last two editions.