An insider’s guide to navigating the Kochi Biennale 2018
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Here are 7 artists you can’t miss at the Kochi Biennale 2018:
The Beijing-based artist was born the year Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution began in China. He draws upon his experiences of growing up with limited resources and therefore, reusing objects to create art. His sculptures, installations, and videos seek to explore how one’s connection to objects can reveal the emotional and cultural dynamics of their personal relationships. He has created installations comprised of the thousands of objects his mother collected in their family home to fill the void after his father’s death.
Glasgow-born and raised, Nathan's A Place Beyond Belief is an acclaimed light sculpture that has its origins in a radio conversation the artist heard post the 9/11 New York attacks. The work talks about the necessity to go beyond religious belief and ethnic suspicion for us to live peacefully as a society. By its location, at the entrance of the Kochi Biennale, and through a play on the word 'belief', the statement asks what it means to rise “beyond belief” in the current political context in India.
In the Tokyo-born artist's 2001 film Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam, a handful of men pedal cyclos, or three-wheeled taxis, on a shallow ocean floor. The drivers come up for air every few minutes and return to the tough task, representing the struggle felt by a socio-economic class of urban workers. Driving these taxis provided sustainable occupation for Vietnamese soldiers following the war, although in recent years, the local government is phasing out cycle rickshaws in favour of motorised vehicles. This work takes on a profound meaning in Kerala, which was recently hit by the worst floods in over a century.
The New York-based feminist artist group has been creating performances, protests and visual works that challenge gender and ethnic inequality in the American and global art scene for over three decades now. The group chooses to remain anonymous by wearing guerilla masks so the focus remains on their work. At the Kochi Biennale, you can view its iconic posters and video-based work.
Kolkata-born and based, Bapi Das worked as a autorickshaw driver in the city for many years and, today, recreates his observations in intricately embroidered panels. Through embroidery and fabric, he conjures fantastical depictions of Kolkata's streets, people and larger visual culture.