Polish Artists at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2017

12 December 2016 – 29 March 2017
Fort Kochi

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is a three-month long festival of international contemporary visual art hosted in Kochi, Kerala. It is India’s largest contemporary art event, and the only Biennale in South Asia. The landmark event has created an enduring platformfor artistic and cultural contributions to society and established itself as a centre for artistic engagement in South Asia. The last two editions of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, in 2012 and 2014, have ensured that Kochi now occupies a confident place on the global art calendar.

The third edition of the Biennale will see a vibrant plurality of Polish artists presenting their works.

Paweł Althamer, as part of his project for the Biennale, set off as a pilgrim around India to pay tribute to spiritual teachers and sacred places. The journey draws from the ancient Lila game developed by Rishi priests and veda poets. Like the ancient game, the artist’s journey was based on the assumption that life is a play of Gods and
reality an illusion. Drawings prepared by the artist during his pilgrimage form part of an installation displayed at the Biennale venue.

Born in Warsaw in 1967, Paweł Althamer is a Polish sculptor and performance artist. He studied under the renowned sculptor Grzegorz Kowalski at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. Since graduating in 1993, Althamer has established a body of work centered on portraits of himself as well as friends and family members depicted by haunting, life-size figures. The sculptures often contain materials that are familiar yet disturbing – such as animal intestines, hay, leather, human hair, and resin – prompting viewers to reassess their own role in art’s origination.

Aleksandra Ska, another Polish artist participating in the Biennale, is currently presenting her latest project
entitled Pandemic. Pandemic is an installation previously presented in Piekary Gallery, Poznań. In her project, Aleksandra Ska confronts the global threat of deadly diseases not by spectacular imagery of possible disaster but through the presentation of scientific evidence that turns out to be fictional; this fiction is what makes Pandemic inevitable. The research for the Pandemia project was supported by a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Republic of Poland. Piekary Gallery, Poznań is a partner of the project.

Aleksandra Ska lives and works in Poznań. She is head of the Sculpture and Spatial Art Forms Studio at College
of Art in Szczecin, Poland. In her artistic practice she undermines the socially and culturally established
models of sexual identification, emotional expression, interpersonal relations and life roles. She treats
installations, videos, and objects as visual, or sometimes, haptic metaphors aiming to transform social and cultural patterns of thinking and doing.