Wrestler. Judo player. Pilot. April’s edition if IndiGo’s in-flight catalogue captures Captain Gaurav Balkwade’s story in stunning fashion, thanks to the good work of resident designer and illustrator Reshi Dev. In what is now his trademark style, Reshi captures Captain Gaurav’s evolution from wrestler to pilot from the ‘bottom of the page to the top’. Whichever way you look at it, we think the new cover is a triumph.
Culture vultures will be well aware that the FOCUS Photography Festival has returned to Bombay. Part of the festival is this excellent show that brings together 25 contemporary artists from around the world to explore ‘female identity and representation’ – one of whom is W+K collaborator Prarthna Singh showing her series, The Wrestler. What adds to the show is its setting – a repurposed space at one of Mumbai’s famous, defunct mills, Sun Mill Compound.
As you may know, it’s Biennale year again at Kochi, only this time we all went. That’s right. A large contingent from the office last week took the reddest of red eye flights to Kochi to spend the weekend absorbing some pretty incredible art. What was it like? Akshita Phoolka, one of our creatives and one among many other first timers, recounts the experience.
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is nothing short of spectacular. Spanning three months, it’s the largest exhibition of contemporary art held in the artistic heart of Kerala; Kochi. Now in it’s third and very successful edition, we were greeted by blue skies, soaring temperatures, and inspiring works of art from over 90 participating artists from India and around the world. Their works making, the old seafront warehouses, colonial Dutch bungalows, and vintage townhouses come alive.
Sea Of Pain, Raúl Zurita
Supermarket, Dia Mehta Bhupal
Artworks ranged from larger than life, dramatic installations, mixed-media works, videos, short films, sound sculptures, and more traditional mediums. Spread across twelve locations around Kochi, The Biennale’s main venue, Aspinwall House, held most of the works. Highlights here include, The Pyramid Of Exiled Poets by Aleš Šteger, a celebrated Slovenian poet and novelist. Serving as a tomb for poets who have been exiled from their nations, the installation is a disorienting walk in complete darkness, populated by the voices of the poets. The work is as powerful as it is disturbing.
The Pyramid Of Exiled Poets, Aleš Šteger
Inverso Mundus, AES+F
Another powerful piece is Chilean poet Raúl Zurita’s immersive installation titled, Sea Of Pain. Here Zurita creates a shallow sea pool of water in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, dedicating the work to Galip Kurdi, the five-year-old brother of Alan Kurdi (who became an icon of the Syrian crisis after photographs of his lifeless body were shared around the world, spurring humanists into action). Visitors wade through its waters taking in Zurita’s poems along the way.
Calls & Oni-bi (Fen Fire), Yuko Mohri
Elsewhere inspiration is to be found in the works of AES+F, a Russian collective whose works include photographs of dead bodies that have been heavily styled and dressed in couture, Indian artist Dia Mehta Bhupal’s life-size washroom intricately woven from old magazine pages, artists Miller Puckette’s Four Sound Portraits, Latvian artist Voldemars Johansons mesmeric audio-visual documentation of a stormy North-Atlantic sea, titled Thrist, and many more than can possibly be listed in this short space.
Thirst, Voldemars Johansons
Three days fall short, given the scale of the event and the range of works. There’s also much to be explored in the city itself, with its Dutch architecture, quaint cafe’s, toddy shops, and more. But were glad we got to take in a little bit of of everything.
Where The Flowers Still Grow, Bharat Sikka
Like we mentioned in our previous post, this year’s edition of the India Art Fair featured work from our very own Hemant. Some of us were there to take a closer look and this is what we found.
Detail of Parul Gupta’s Drawing
So what is it? It’s in fact a collaboration between Hemant and Parul Gupta that started with a residency at 1After320, the collaborative arm of Delhi’s Exhibit320 gallery. Parul Gupta first drew a series of (very) intricate lines in what emerged to be a 24 feet canvas. Why lines? That’s kinda her thing. The idea was to put herself through something that’s routine to the point of being painful and mundane, so as to feel the ‘heightened awareness’ of time.
Hemant then took this work and created a sonic response. He created a digital algorithm that treated each line as a frequency creating sound that is faithful to the very last stroke. So clever.
How did people react to the work? With a fair bit of bewilderment and confusion, as you’d expect. Luckily, Hemant was at hand to explain the piece, leaving visitors duly impressed with the work’s depth and all round genius. Naturally.
Vibha Galhotra, Exhibit 320
Krupa Mukherjee, Art District XIII
Xenia Hausner (Detail), Lukas Feichtner Gallery
It’s the India Art Fair weekend and as ever, there’s some great work on display. Plus, our very own Hemant Sreekumar has a fantastic piece in collaboration with Parul Gupta, which of course, you have to go and see for yourself. Details are here.