New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, July 15 (IANS) Sudarshan Shetty, one of the most innovative contemporary artists in India, was on Wednesday named the curator of the third edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale (KMB) 2016. Shetty said the biennale will be “more democratic and innovative” this time.
“KMB has contributed to Kerala’s culture, tourism and hospitality industries and renewed India’s cultural position in the world. We will extend full support to the programme in the coming years,” said state Culture Minister K.C. Joseph while announcing Shetty’s name as curator.
Shetty, 54, takes over the mantle from Jitish Kallat. The third edition of the biennale begins on December 12.
Mumbai-based Shetty’s installations and multi-media work have been displayed across the US and Europe. His work also featured in the first KMB and he is the only Indian artist commissioned to create a public sculpture in Japan. He is an alumnus of the JJ School of Art in Mumbai.
“Through just two biennales, the KMB has acquired the role of one of the most important exhibitions globally,” said Shetty, who was present with his wife and daughter.
“It is a privilege to be named curator,” he said.
KMB 14 was a 108-day event, spread across eight venues, featuring 52 international and 42 Indian artists, and received nearly five lakh visitors.
Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor, who was present at the event, said: “It is good to have a curator who has worked in various mediums and so can understand in various ways how art can capture aspects of life.”
“We have overcome some of the parochial mentalities in recognising the role of the KMB and people are coming from all over the country and the world to see it. So, we should strongly invest in it,” Tharoor added.
The new curator was selected after a month-long deliberation by a panel comprising artists Amar Kanwar, Atul Dodiya, Bharti Kher, Jyoti Basu, and patrons Kiran Nadar, Ranjit Hoskote, Shireen Gandhi, V. Sunil, and also Kochi Biennale Foundation president Bose Krishnamachari and secretary Riyas Komu.
Talking to IANS, Shetty, a renowned sculptor, said he was excited about the responsibility.
“It’s an ardous task, but I am excited about the new responsibility. Though it’s too early to talk about the plans, I want it to be more democratic and I would like people to have more conversations with various locations in Kochi,” he said.
Shetty said the process of choosing the artists will take a few months of research.
About the success of the biennale, Shetty said the first two editions exceeded expectations.
“It is important for India to have a biennale and it helped project the country in the art market. Artists from all over the world participated and the biennale has established itself as a centre for artistic engagement,” he said.
The first two editions of the biennale, held in 2012 and 2014, had a combined draw of nearly a million visitors.
Shetty said Kochi’s cosmopolitan nature helped in the biennale’s success.
“We can’t have a better location than Kochi. It has a cosmopolitan feel,” he said.
Shetty’s recent shows include “Mimic Momento”, Galerie Daniel Templon, Brussels, 2015, “Constructs Constructions”, curated by Roobina Karode, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, 2015.
In 2010, Shetty presented a work for Louis Vuitton called the “House of Shades”, an installation with 700 pairs of sunglasses.