Jitish Kallat’s tryst with biennale comes a full circle

Jitish Kallat's work at the Kochi Muziris Bienanle while it was being installed last week.

Jitish Kallat's work at the Kochi Muziris Bienanle while it was being installed last week.  

Monograph that covers the body of works of the Mumbai-based Malayali artist launched at the event on Thursday

Artist Jitish Kallat’s tryst with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale has come a full circle, with a monograph on him being launched at the arts event on Thursday.

The Mumbai-based Malayali artist from Thrissur was the curator of the second edition of the biennale and is presenting his sculptural installation, Untitled (Two Minutes to Midnight), in the ongoing edition. The installation is at TKM Warehouse.

The 376-page monograph, published by MAPIN in association with Nature Morte, Galerie Templon, Chemould Prescott Road, covers the body of works of the painter-sculptor. Former Kochi Mayor K.J. Sohan received the first copy of the book at the biennale pavilion at Cabral Yard. It is priced at ₹3,950.

Short fiction too

Edited by Natasha Ginwala, it has contributions by curators, art historians and scholars. “It also includes two pieces of short fiction,” Ms. Ginwala said. “Shumon Basar deftly manoeuvres the dystopia of city planning and its libidinal fantasy that generates a ‘walkway in the sky’. This, while also revealing the self-destruction programmed into suburban lives.”

“In the book, one could see Kallat’s aesthetic language and its obsessive interweaving of the cosmos and the cosmopolis,” she said. Kallat’s installation at the biennale brings together two carefully chosen pointers -- one from our prehistoric past and the other pointing to a prophesied future, says a note in the biennale short guide.

“The suite of sculptures derives their form from palaeolithic hand axes and stone tools that were the first human effort to alter the planet. The first stone tools mark the dawn of human ingenuity, augmenting physical capacities before exponential future innovations lead to uninhibited human supremacy and indiscriminate manipulation of the planet. Numerous clusters of reptilian and mammalian, fish and bird eyes imbue the oversized tools with an uncanny sentience. Kallat places these enigmatic sculptures on a plinth that derives its form from the hands of the iconic Doomsday Clock,” it says.

The Doomsday Clock has been maintained by members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board since 1947 as representing a hypothetical man-made catastrophe as ‘midnight’, with the number of ‘minutes’ to midnight indicative of the Bulletin’s perception of how close is the world to a global catastrophe. Since January this year, it’s just two minutes.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:55:28 PM |

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