HOW DIFFERENT CURATORIAL APPROACHES SHAPE THE EXPERIENCE AND PERCEPTION OF PERFORMANCE ART
Irene Müller & Dorothea Rust
published in ART&DEAL, Indian Art Magazine with a Difference, May 2017
In February 2017 the art space of Sristhi Institute for Art, Technology and Design at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and the Venkatappa Art Gallery in Bangalore became the performance spotlights: both brought together about 130 artists from different regions in India for a lively exchange of up-to-date performsative art practices, affecting not only the artists and audiences but also the Swiss-Indio curatorial team.
At the Bangalore event the authors were actively involved as co-curators but in Kochi they were just visitors with any influence in the curatorial decisions. Experiencing the two different roles within the same artistic field provoked a closer look on the way performative practices had been presented in these two curatorial formats. Thus, this article focuses on their common features and differences as well as their specific aspects depending on the site and context.
Kala Samuha Art Marathon was a collateral venue of the Kochi- Muziris Biennale that took place from February 9 to February 11, 2017, at Mill Hall Compound. Based on an open call 100 artists presented their works during three days showing all different genres of art, i.e. painting and drawing, sculpture and installation, photography, video and audio work as well as live performance. In order to manage so many artists in one exhibition space the curator Suresh Kumar decided to use a tight time structure. Each day was divided into six slots of 40 minutes, involving between six and eight artists and their works. Regarding this setting Kumar referred to initiatives by the Venkatappa Art Gallery Forum (VAG) in Bangalore where these art marathons articulated an artistic strategy of successful resistance to keep this art space without commercial boundaries, ensuring that VAG remains a democratic public space for creative activities.
In combining various genres of art, the live performances became just one part of a continuously changing exhibition, surrounded by other art works and visitors strolling around. This setting basically enhanced the quality of time in exhibition slot, thus the experience and perception cannot be separated from the one of the other exhibited artworks.