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Painterly explorations: Notes from India’s Kochi-Muziris Biennale

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This article offers a critical account of ‘painterly explorations’ at the second Kochi-Muziris Biennale (which under the curatorship of Jitish Kallat took the title of ‘Whorled Explorations’). Painting at the Biennale in 2014 was surprisingly conspicuous, particularly when understood in its expanded sense. Following an account of some of the different painting practices on display, the article draws upon the term ‘social gestus’ (the critical demonstration of gestures) to suggest a reading of global, contemporary art that is concerned with the coordinates and situating of gestures as an entire form, and which is critically revealing of itself. The productionist site of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale provides a fitting example of what social, critical meanings painting can reveal.
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Keywords: India; Indian artists; Kochi-Muziris Biennale; painting; social gestus

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Southampton

Publication date: April 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Contemporary Painting responds to the territory and practice of contemporary painting in its broadest sense, viewing painting as a context for discussion, exploring its sphere of history and influence, rather than as a medium specific debate. The JCP combines a thematic approach with an open call, each issue opening up and problematising pressing concerns in contemporary painting.

    As well as contributions to current debates on contemporary art, a particular feature of the Journal of Contemporary Painting is the publication of archival or newly translated texts alongside current responsive articles, based on the premise that contemporary painting cannot be understood without reflecting on its history. Dedication to understanding the nature and forms of painting research has also led to the inclusions of an original visual essay for every edition. Additionally we respond to current exhibitions, books and symposia, nationally and internationally, in our reviews section.

    Our aim is to be responsive to current debates in painting and related art practices, drawing from a wide geographical field and across discipline boundaries to provide a discursive space in which a range of subject specialisms can be brought to bear on the culture of painting. We are particularly interested in writing emerging from practice-based research as well as from academics working in different disciplines.

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