Describing the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) as one of the finest art exhibitions in the world, eminent poet and critic K Satchidanandan today said the ongoing third edition of the Biennale was characterised by the aesthetics of resistance, loss, memory and dreams.
“There is a new artistic sensibility at work here. Art is growing more conceptual, emancipating itself from the idea that it is something that is fixed on the canvas into a larger space where it is in movement and flux,” said Satchidandan, who visited KMB 2016 today.
He noted that curator Sudarshan Shetty had put together an ‘astonishingly diverse exhibition’ that offered a multi sensual experience wholly different from previous editions.
The takeaway, for Satchidandan, was of the need to transcend the ‘morbidity of contemporary reality’ in order to recreate a world of dreams that had been lost.
“The exhibition is a reminder of what has happened to human beings, to objects, to nature, and also how the world could be better, different, beautiful, more egalitarian, more just if we would think and act differently,” he said, adding that this was something only the artist can do.
From memories of the Partition to witness accounts of the devastation of war and the ‘Sea of Pain that life forces one to wade through’, he noted the sense of tragedy and longing was counterbalanced by narrative of togetherness as represented by the coming together of peoples, perspectives, forms and styles in evoking the possibility of this kinder world.
“One of the lasting impressions anyone can carry from this Biennale is one of memory. People from different places have come together here to transcend the limitations imposed on the human mind through space and time and connect memory with dream and contemporary reality with the possibility of other worlds that we could possibly build,” he said.
Satchidanandan noted that the spirit of collaboration and conversation at KMB 2016 was both a reflection of the contemporary art scene and an ‘admirable return’ to a time when artists worked with ideas, words, scientific concepts, sounds, videos as much as paint and brush.
“So there is an emerging new aesthetic that is no longer confined to the eye and visual art. You hear sounds, you have works that appeal to nasal and tactile senses and also your intelligence and the way you think. It speaks to ideas, science and technology and about how they can be incorporated into our understanding of the art and the wider world,” he said.

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