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Curtains go up on second edition of Kochi Biennale

Curtains go up on second edition of Kochi Biennale

Kochi: Curtains have gone up on the second edition of art extravaganza 'Kochi Muziris Biennale' which shows works of 94 artists from the world over, including that of Yoko Ono, wife of late Beetle star John Lennon, being showcased at different venues.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Friday formally inaugurated the event curated by Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat in eight venues here, while a string of simultaneous exhibitions, stage programmes and interactive sessions will grace locations here and suburbs besides neighbouring Thrissur District.

'Whorled Explorations' featuring 100 artworks by 94 artists across India and abroad is the central exhibition of the 108-day extravaganza which also revels in parallel shows hosting the ancient country's traditional yet evolving music, dance, percussion, theatre and ballet besides cinema a series of seminars and lectures by scholars around the globe.

While Yoko Ono is not coming here, her work 'Earth Piece: Listen to the sound of the earth turning', one of her instruction pieces, first published in 1964 in Grapefruit- an artist’s book of instructions pieces and later released as a limited edition of signed post cards, are on display. Ono's exhibit at the Biennale consists of reproductions of this legendary postcard.

Biennale organisers, who are facing a huge funds crunch, have taken the crowd funding route to raise about Rs 15 crore.

The Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF), organising the event relies on both governmental and private funding, has maintained they have received only Rs two crore as government funding against the promised amount equivalent to that of last edition. In the last Biennale, held two years ago, the government had sanctioned Rs 9 crore for the event.

'Two choronologically overlapping, but perhaps directly unrelated, historical episodes in Kerala during the 14th-17th centuries become parallel points of departure for Whorled Explorations', said Kallat as he took media personnel round the Biennale venue this morning.

The era heralded an age of exchange, conquests, coercive trading and colonialism, animating the early process of globalisation.

"This drama of search, seduction and subjugation decisively altered the cartography of the planet. Within the shifting geography were sharp turns in history where we find in an embryonic form, several of the themes we inherit in our world today," Kallat said.

This region was also a place of great flurry in astronomy, mathematics and trigonometry, he said, adding that 'Whorled Explorations' was conceived as a temporary observation deck hoisted at Kochi.

The exhibition draws upon a wide glossary of signs from this legendary maritime gateway to bring together sensory and conceptual propositions that map our world referencing history, geography, cosmology, time, space, dreams and myths.

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