Art museums must set eyes on the future: Chris Dercon at Kochi Biennale

Kochi, Dec 19: Art museums need to be futuristic in their vision and must rethink about generating memories in ways other than wistful showcasing of vintage exhibits, according to renowned scholar/curator Chris Dercon.

  “Museums are not just about the past. They shouldn’t be fetish about just the archives and be steeped in nostalgia,” the former director of London’s Tate Modern art gallery said on Monday evening ahead of the start of screening his set of movies curated at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB).

  The task of a museum is to make ownership for the public and not individuals, the Belgian added.

  As for KMB 2018, Dercon said he was pleasantly surprised by the direct and tacit references its curator Anita Dube has succeeded in stringing together at the ten venues of the 108-day festival. “Frankly, I had only heard her name and seldom got a chance to see her works or learn her viewpoints. I am highly impressed with the way Dube has ensured that the artists she has brought together not only communicate to us viewers but between themselves as participants,” he said.

  Each of the KMB 2018 artist has contributed to art much beyond just participating, Dercon said, lauding Dube for the accomplishment. “It is high time the geniality of a curator stops to matter,” he noted. Nor does certain new-age artist’s craving for becoming a curator make sense, added Dercon, 60, who was briefly intendant with the Volksbühne people’s theatre in Berlin, Germany.

  Later in the evening, Dercon, speaking at his segment of the 100-day Artist Cinema in the Biennale Pavilion, said he was “most fascinated” by those who had the courage to stop making art—at a point of self-realisation. “Arts need to help and support each other. It is important to cooperate and do things together and find out new relationships between different disciplines," he added.

  Eight films are being shown as part of the Dercon-curated programme titled ‘Convoys’at the Pavilion in the KMB venue of Cabral Yard in Fort Kochi till December 12. The inaugural movie was Jardin- ‘Theatre Bestiarium’(director: Gilles Coudert) and ‘Repetitions’ by Marie Andre.

  The other movies are Die Afrikanische Frau (Alexander Kluge), The Coming Society (Susanne Kennedy, Richard Janssen), Roi Soleil (Albert Serra), A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (ApichatpongWeerasethakul), Casanova Gene (LuiseDonschen) andGuards (Hito Steyerl).

VISITING THE BIENNALE

“The fourth edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale runs from 12 December, 2018 – 29 March, 2019.“
Venues are open every day from 10 AM – 6 PM.
Tickets are available for purchase for ₹100 at Aspinwall House.

Universal free entry every Monday.

GETTING TO FORT KOCHI

By Air: Fort Kochi is 45 km from Kochi International Airport, Nedumbassery.
By Train: Fort Kochi is 13 km from Ernakulam Junction (South) Station and 16 km from Ernakulam Town (North) Station.
By Boat: Fort Kochi is 20 mins from the Ernakulam Boat Jetty and 10 mins from both Willingdon Island and Vypin Boat Jetty.
By Bus: Fort Kochi is 15 km from the main bus station in Ernakulam.

Many of the locations of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale are walking distances from each other (most are around 10 minutes or so).

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