Re­turn to LOSS

TWO PO­ETS, A DANCER AND AN IN­STAL­LA­TION ARTIST CHAL­LENGE THE NO­TION OF ART IN THE THIRD EDI­TION OF KOCHI-MUZIRIS BI­EN­NALE

India Today - - FETISH - TEXT BY CHINKI SINHA PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY BANDEEP SINGH

Out­side the ware­house at Aspin­wall, Kochi, the poet who was born in San­ti­ago, Chile, is un­ty­ing his shoelaces be­fore step­ping into the sea, a tomb to Galip Kurdi, the Kur­dish refugee child who drowned in the wa­ters off Turkey. A woman hitches up her dress and asks if the wa­ter is dirty. The poet Ral Zu­rita looks away and walks into the man-made sea. He stands there in the mid­dle ex­posed, vul­ner­a­ble and open to in­ter­pre­ta­tions as all po­ets are. The poem at the end of the make-be­lieve sea, Sea of Pain, is an­cient. The poet says it took him 66 years to think about it. He writes “No one can mimic his fi­nal im­age moored face down at the wa­ter’s edge. No artist can pro­vide that low blow. Ah, the world of art, the world of images, bil­lions of images. The words of a poem are cleaner, more pure.” Zu­rita stud­ied en­gi­neer­ing and be­came a poet. The It was in re­sponse to the coup in Chile in 1973. He saw bod­ies be­ing dumped in the sea. He wrote verses com­mem­o­rat­ing the deaths. He of­fers no an­swers in a post-truth world. He only of­fers hope. If the Sea of Pain could drown us then and there, we’d be re­leased of a mil­lion guilts. The poet holds his pen steady. For min­utes, the pen rests in his hand. Parkin­son’s hadn’t come in the way. He had once said “My dis­ease feels beau­ti­ful to me”. In the ephemeral sea, his wife steps in with a cam­era. Later, he looks at her and smiles and says “love is you.” Poet Sharmistha Mo­hanty’s in­stal­la­tion is an in-be­tween space, a meet­ing ground of ev­ery­thing—she works with time and re­al­ity and their shift­ing na­tures. Yar­dena Ku­rulkar re­turns to the mem­ory of an old wooden cup­board in an in­stal­la­tion (she has three at the Kochi-Muziris Bi­en­nale) where her Jewish fam­ily would keep their sa­cred texts. The dance of long­ing is per­formed by Pad­mini Chet­tur and her group of five who have cho­sen texts from Anais Nin, Junot Diaz and Jeanette Win­ter­son among oth­ers to per­form on. The slow­ness mim­ics the dis­tance and the long­ing of the hero­ine, who doesn’t cut a sorry fig­ure but a strong-willed woman who can dare to love an­other woman or leave a man who be­trays. There is a lot of po­etry and per­for­mance at the Kochi-Muziris Bi­en­nale, the third edi­tion of which is on till March 29, 2017. At its helm, artist Su­dar­shan Shetty has es­tab­lished that art can tran­scend fron­tiers of ex­pres­sions. Through the poet who lives and works in Mumbai, the con­tem­po­rary dancer from Chennai and the in­stal­la­tion artist who finds mean­ing in a cup­board, he is re­mak­ing the old into some­thing vi­tal and vi­brant. “…this isn’t a dream, this is the sea” - Raul Zu­rita, For Kurosawa/The Sea

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