Kochi, November 15: So it is Jitish Kallat, and he’ll do it alone.
Ending eight months of suspense that prevailed after the conclusion of the debut Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the organisers of the country’s pioneering new-art show today named the curator for the 2014 edition.
The 39-year-old Kallat, a reputed artist born and raised in Mumbai, has been selected as the curator for the second edition of India’s only biennale, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany announced here in the presence of top functionaries of the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF).
The Mayor said that Kochi Corporation has plans to set up a permanent venue for hosting prestigious contemporary art and cultural events like the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
The name of Kallat, who was formally introduced to the media here, had been finalised by a Special Advisory Body, consisting of some of the country’s pre-eminent artists, curators, gallerists and critics.
The KBF advisory body, which met in Mumbai on October 15 specifically to select the 2014 biennale curator, includes Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu — the co-curators of first biennale in 2012-13.
The role of the curator assumes special significance in an event like biennale, as his aesthetics overview and expertise would have a definite say on the selection and interpretation of the works of art.
“One of the most celebrated contemporary Indian artists internationally, Jitish an inquisitive enthusiastic observer of life and creative self, we are proud to have this young and brilliant artist as our new Artistic Director /Curator of India`s International Biennale, Kochi-Muziris Biennale-2014“, Bose Krishnamachari, who is president of the KBF, noted.
At the function attended by KBF trustees, Komu, who is secretary of the foundation, said that Jitish is skilled with scholarly approach in art criticism and a meticulous approach towards his own art making.
Kallat said he was pleased to take up this immensely exciting and challenging project. Thanking the KBF and the selection panel, he said that “the biennale has the possibility of becoming a site to exchange prompts and assemble working notes; to induce shifts in each other’s perceptions and practices and to collectively expand the tools with which we might propose versions of the world today.”
In the run-up to 2014, the foundation is planning to engage in a wide variety of educational and cultural activities. The KBF also plans to introduce a number of programmes, specifically for children, the trustees said, thanking the Kerala government for its support in the conduct of the first edition of the biennale.
As an international platform of contemporary art, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale had its inaugural edition highlighting works by 89 artists from 23 countries. It saw revelry of different mediums, including painting, sculpture, installation, film, digital media and performing arts at sites in Kochi and the Muziris region. Nearly 400,000 people visited the 96-day show which started on 12/12/12.
As for Kallat, the KBF noted that his works take form in a wide variety of media including painting, sculpture, site-specific installation, animation video and photography.
A few themes such as time, birth, sustenance and mortality continue to recur in his work, often overlaying disparate dates, everyday images and events into interconnected palimpsests.
Currently, he has an ongoing solo exhibition titled ‘Epilogue’ at the San Jose Museum of Art (6th Sept 2013 – 20th April 2014).
Kallat’s work has been exhibited widely at museums and institutions including Tate Modern (London), Martin Gorpius Bau (Berlin), Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane), Kunst Museum (Bern), Serpentine Gallery (London), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Palais de Beaux-Arts (Brussels), Hangar Bicocca (Milan), Busan Museum of Modern Art, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (Oslo), ZKM Museum (Karlsruhe), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Oslo), Arken Museum of Moderne Kunst (Copenhagen), Institut Valencia d’Art Modern (Spain), Art Museum (Tokyo), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Jean Tinguley Museum (Basel) and the Gemeente Museum (The Hague) amongst many others.
His work has been part of the Havana Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Asian Art Biennale, Curitiba Biennale, Guangzhou Triennale and the Kiev Biennale among others.
Kallat has had several solo exhibitions at galleries such as Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), Haunch of Venison (Zurich and London), Arario Gallery (Beijing and Seoul), Arndt (Berlin) and at Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris) and Nature Morte (Delhi). His recent solo exhibitions were held at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne and the Art Institute of Chicago.