In appointing Sudarshan Shetty as curator, Kochi-Muziris Biennale continues its tradition of having artists at its helm, with Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu leading the inaugural edition in 2012 and Jitish Kallat curating the 2014 edition.
Sudarshan Shetty was born in Mangalore in 1961, with his family moving to Bombay within a few months of his birth. He has since been based in Bombay. His father, Adve Vasu Shetty, was a Yakshagana performer and Sudarshan says there was “a lot of music and singing in the house” when he was growing up. He studied painting at the Sir JJ School of Art, Bombay and graduated in 1985.
His art practice has evolved over three decades from being centred on painting to multi-media explorations that include sculpture, video, performance and installation. Experimenting with scale and motion, Sudarshan’s works frequently involve bringing together heterogeneous object-worlds, insinuating into the familiar an intimation of the strange and the new.
His works have been exhibited in solo and group shows in India and abroad, including at the Gwangju Biennale (2000), Tate Modern, London (2001), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2001), Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011), Guggenheim Museum, New York (2010), and Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012).
Sudarshan was declared curator of the 2016 Kochi-Muzirs Biennale by the Minister for Culture, KC Joseph at an event in the State capital Thiruvananthapuram on July 15, 2015. He was unanimously chosen as curator by an Artistic Advisory Committee appointed by the Kochi Biennale Foundation for the third edition. The Committee comprised artists Amar Kanwar, Atul Dodiya, Bharti Kher and Jyothi Basu, art critic Ranjit Hoskote, patron Kiran Nadar, gallerist Shireen Gandhy along with KBF trustees Sunil V, Riyas Komu and Bose Krishnamachari.
The next Biennale will be Sudarshan’s first curatorial venture. Speaking about developing a curatorial project on this scale, Sudarshan says: “Following the first two editions, it would be tough to raise the bar further… KMB is a people’s biennale, and that makes it special.”
- Sudarshan Shetty