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Portrait of Art Lovers

Kochi | © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore

We often forget that artists are art lovers, too. That while they make art, they may also enjoy viewing other people’s art, considering it, critiquing it. The last week of the bangaloREsidency gave our artists the opportunity to finally, after weeks of working on their own projects, be the spirited gallery hoppers that they are.

Soon after wrapping up their final presentations in Bangalore, all the residents headed to Kochi, Kerala for the famous Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Spread across the historical area of Fort Kochi, this art festival brings together artists from all around the world. The town’s colonial warehouses – which are normally sleepy, routine business centres – transform into quirky gallery spaces and site-specific artworks themselves. As our residents explored the art in Kochi, the paparazzi a.k.a. their buddies (the interns) followed them to find out about their experiences. Here is Ingo talking about why this work caught his eye:

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Ingo Gerken, who works with found objects in his own work was struck by a work titled “Mr. Sun” by the Danish artist EB Itso. Comprised of a tyre and rope, the piece speaks of the impact of tourism-related development in Kerala.
Sometimes, our responses to art cannot be encapsulated by words. Sometimes, it’s just the feeling of walking by a work or through it or sitting in its presence that makes it memorable. Here is Laura’s mini tour of the work:
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Laura Fiorio’s favourite work at Kochi was Temsuyanger Longkumer’s “Catch a Rainbow 2”, which deals with queer identity and shows at a timely moment, just after the abolition of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that outlawed homosexuality.
Three bangaloREsidents were also residents at Pepper House, one of the venues for the Kochi Biennale. Anton Kats, Lisa Premke, and Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton each presented a work that they developed in Kochi. In the process, they also got to know Kochi more intimately.
Kochi is a town of colliding histories. There’s the Dutch. The Portuguese. The Indian. The Hindu, the Muslim, and the Christian. Beyond the dizzying art displays, the town itself, with its half-crumbling buildings and large boats is an exciting site to explore:
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Here, Anton Kats talks about his forming relationship with the town, and what he has discovered outside the Biennale.

After their visit to Kochi, the artists were ready to head their separate ways—some off to Goa for another arts festival called Serendipity, others back to Germany, and others to somewhere else in India, without a specific plan. Just before they left Kochi, Nika and Lucas of matthaei&pfeifer summed up their wonderful visit:
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Here is them moaning about having to leave and also giving us their Kochi recommendations. (The Indian artist B V Suresh and Chinese artist Song Dong are on their must-see list.) They said they will be back for sure!