Malayalee artist Madhusudhanan and Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective to feature in Venice Biennale

Dated: March 12, 2015

Kochi, Mar 12: It is a twin honour for Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB).

Kerala artist Madhusudhanan and Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective, who feature in the ongoing second edition of the exhibition, have been selected to display their artworks in the upcoming Venice Biennale.

Madhusudhanan and Raqs Media Collective — the latter a group of three artists Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta — have been selected for the 56th Venice Biennale, a seven-month showstopper event commencing May 9.

They share the honour with Mumbai-based Collective Research Initiative Trust (CRIT), which works in the area of urban development projects. CRIT is run by two artists — Prasad Shetty and Rupali Gupta.

Mariam Suhail, a Pakistani artist based in Bengaluru and married to Malayalee artist Anup Mathew Thomas, also features in the coveted list of artists from India whose works will be on display at the Venice Biennale, arguably the most prestigious contemporary art event in the world. Incidentally, Thomas was among the artists who featured in the first edition of KMB in 2012.

The two KMB’14 works of Madhusudhanan and Raqs Media Collective were selected for the 56th Venice Biennale by its legendary curator Okwui Enwezor. “Kochi Muziris Biennale is the 21st century Biennale,” he had said during his recent visit to the KMB.

“It is going to be a great experience. I can show my work in the Venice Biennale where top names from the contemporary art will be showing their work,” said the 1956-born Delhi-based Madhusudhanan whose exhibit at KMB’14 — Logic of Disappearance — is an installation of 90 charcoal drawings. Displayed at Aspinwall House, the drawings are a complex landscape of memory, triggering flashbacks of an era gone by.

Bose Krishnamachari, Director of KMB’14, said Madhusudhanan would take his original work of 90 drawings along with 70 new ones for the Venice Biennale. The 70 new drawings are on the Malabar rebellion of 1921.

“It is the memory of known and unknown freedom fighters that was an inspiration for me. The work depicts the ‘wagon tragedy’ where nationalists were crammed into a freight wagon and most of them suffocated to death,” explained Madhusudhanan.

Raqs Media Collective, which has put up its installation — Log Book Entry Before Storm (2014) — at Kashi Art Gallery, however, will be presenting a new artwork at the Venice Biennale.

Bose said the selection of Madhusudhanan and Raqs Media Collective in the list of 136 artists for the 56th Venice Biennale is an international affirmation of the Kochi Muziris Biennale. “Barely in its second edition, it has been creating ripple effects, inspiring international artists and institutions to associate it with its credibility. The Liverpool Biennale has been inspired by the KMB to start a “Children’s Biennale’ parallel to the main exhibition,” he added.

“Venice Biennale is the most coveted international art event. We are happy that artists from Kerala are being selected for the internationally-acclaimed art events,” he noted.

CB

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