Jitish Kallat
Artistic Director, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014
Jitish Kallat was born in Mumbai in 1974, the city where he lives and works. His work has been exhibited widely at museums and institutions including Tate Modern (London), Martin Gorpius Bau (Berlin), Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane), Serpentine Gallery (London), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Hangar Bicocca (Milan), ZKM Museum (Karlsruhe), Arken Museum of Moderne Kunst (Copenhagen), MAXXI (Rome) and the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney).

Kallat’s work has also featured at the Havana Biennale, Gwangju Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale, Guangzhou Triennale, and the Kiev Biennale amongst others. He has had one-person exhibitions at galleries such as Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), Haunch of Venison (London), Arario (Beijing), Arndt (Berlin) and Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris). His solo exhibitions at museums include the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne, the San Jose Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.


Two chronologically overlapping, but perhaps directly unrelated, historical episodes in Kerala during the 14th to 17th Centuries become parallel points of departure for Whorled Explorations. Drawing from them, allusions to the historical and the cosmological recur throughout the exhibition like exaggerated extensions to gestures we make when we try to see or understand something. We either go close to it or move away from it in space, to see it clearly; we also reflect back or forth in time to understand the present. Whorled Explorations draws upon this act of deliberation, across axes of time and space to interlace the bygone with the imminent, the terrestrial with the celestial.

From the 15th century, the shores of Kochi were closely linked to the maritime chapter of the ‘Age of Discovery’, a tale of grit, greed and human ingenuity, as a string of navigators arrived here after traversing­­ large uncharted portions of the planet seeking spices and riches. The era heralded an age of exchange, conquest, coercive trading and colonialism, animating the early processes of globalization. This drama of search, seduction and subjugation decisively altered the cartography of the planet. Within the shifting geography were sharp turns in history where we find, in an embryonic form, several of the themes we inherit in our world today.

The 14th to 16th Century was the time when astronomer-mathematicians belonging to what came to be known as the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics, were making transformative propositions for understanding our planet and locating human existence within the wider cosmos. They were making mathematical breakthroughs, amongst them treatises on trigonometry and calculus. Acknowledging this vibrant history, Kochi might serve as an interesting site to invoke the mysterious expedition of our planet Earth, our shared dwelling hurtling through space at a dizzying velocity. None of the interdependent co-habitants of this twirling tenement seem to experience its speed or comprehend its direction; a productive state of uncertainty from where we may investigate several questions about our existence, take stock of our collective conflicts and ecological footprint, even as we continue to examine our place in an ever-inflating cosmos.

Whorled Explorations is conceived as a temporary observation deck hoisted at Kochi. The exhibition draws upon a wide glossary of signs from this legendary maritime gateway to bring together sensory and conceptual propositions that map our world referencing history, geography, cosmology, time, space, dreams and myths.

Jitish Kallat
Artistic Director
Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014

  • Laurent Grasso
  • Yoko Ono
  • Yang Zhengzhong
  • Xu Bing
  • Wim Delvoye
  • William Kentridge
  • Wendelien van Oldenborgh
  • Valsan Koorma Kolleri
  • Unnikrishnan C
  • Theo Eshetu
  • Tara Kelton
  • Susanta Mandal
  • Surendran Nair
  • Sunoj D
  • Sumakshi Singh
  • Sudhir Patwardhan
  • Sissel Tolaas
  • Shumon Ahmed
  • Shanthamani Muddaiah
  • Shahpour Pouyan
  • Sarnath Banerjee
  • Sahej Rahal
  • Sachin George Sebastian
  • Ryota Kuwakubo
  • Rivane Neuenschwander
  • Raqs Media Collective
  • Punaloor Rajan
  • Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
  • Pushpamala N
  • Prashant Pandey
  • Prajakta Potnis
  • Pors & Rao
  • Peter Rösel
  • Parvathi Nayar
  • Nikhil Chopra
  • Neha Choksi
  • Navjot Altaf
  • Navin Thomas
  • Nataraj Sharma
  • K M Vasudevan Namboodiri
  • Naeem Mohaiemen
  • N S Harsha
  • Muhanned Cader
  • Mona Hatoum
  • Mithu Sen
  • Michael Stevens
  • Michael Najjar
  • Menika van der Poorten
  • Martin Creed
  • Mark Wallinger
  • Mark Formanek
  • Marie Velardi
  • Manish Nai
  • Madhusudhanan
  • Lindy Lee
  • Lavanya Mani
  • Kwan Sheung Chi
  • Khalil Rabah
  • Katie Paterson
  • Kader Attia
  • K G Subramanyan
  • Julian Charrière
  • Janine Antoni
  • Iqra Tanveer
  • Ho Tzu Nyen
  • Ho Rui An
  • Hew Locke
  • Hema Upadhyay
  • Hans Op de Beeck
  • Hamra Abbas
  • Gulammohammed Sheikh
  • Guido van der Werve
  • Gigi Scaria
  • Francesco Clemente
  • Fiona Hall
  • Dinh Q Lê
  • Dayanita Singh
  • David Horvitz
  • Daniel Boyd
  • Christian Waldvogel
  • Chen Chieh-Jen
  • Charles and Ray Eames
  • Biju Joze
  • Bijoy Jain
  • Bharti Kher
  • Benitha Perciyal
  • Arun KS
  • Aram Saroyan
  • Annie Wan Lai-Kuen
  • Anish Kapoor
  • Andrew Ananda Voogel
  • Akbar Padamsee
  • Aji VN
  • Adrian Paci
Aspinwall House, Fort Kochi
David Hall, Fort Kochi
Pepper House
Durbar Hall, Ernakulam
Parade Ground, Fort Kochi




There couldn’t have been a better space than Kochi for symbolic free speech;a space for expressions created and leveraged by the various social activist movements. Kochi is the confluence of heterogeneity, a city where more than 30 non-‐Malayali communities have, over the centuries, come to find refuge, trade, proselytise and much else, only to develop roots and integrate into the local society. It is to this shore that one would bring in the practice of contrasting problems or adverse imagery with constructive imagery to create a force, specificity, confidence and conviction sometimes lacking in the more general, wishful, positive images. Critical imagery can only have its genesis in a shared space where celebrations of ethnicity or historical themes can collapse into metonymic utterances that cancel the distinctions between places and boundaries, aesthetics and politics, between life and art.

Kochi-Muziris Biennale explores the possibilities of blurring the boundaries, in a geographical region where boundaries are blurred in a local and cosmopolitan way, where the surroundings offer inspiration by way of the character of the place one can exhibit in. It can generate response to something that is already there as a public space in the neighborhoods, where perceived political content has been a major determinant of what survives and of what gets created as art in the first place.

Kochi’s cosmopolitanism is one that has been worn by generations in Kerala as a badge of honour even as it has led to a series of struggles, time and again, generating a curiosity about current realities, a complex one. It is one that is at the crux of the civilisational crisis — one that is economical, ideological and, thereby geo-‐political. The compendium of these complexities is what gives this biennale a context and an enquiry. It is a quest that brought the world to these shores and it is the allure of possibilities that inspired great thinkers and saints to embark on numerous adventures — of the body and the mind. The trails they have left behind needs treading upon at this juncture to make a provocative investigation into the entrails of all the conflicts that we see around the world. Conflicts that lend a modern explanation for the mutual distrust and misgivings that pervades in not just the immediate society but also snapping at the delicate fabric of India’s assertion as a nation-‐state and the globe that is ironically celebrating its flat character at the same time.

It is in this backdrop of an earnest enquiry that we propose to make Kochi the repository of emerging ideas and ideologies, an occasion to explore a mechanism to process, reflect and rewrite history, different histories, local, individual and collective that would confluence at Kochi. The Kochi Muziris Biennale proposes to open a new discourse, one that will explore a new, hitherto unknown language of narration.

Bose Krishnamachari & Riyas Komu
Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012

  • Ahmed Mater
  • Ai Weiwei
  • Alex Mathew
  • Alexis Leiva Machado
  • Alfredo Jaar
  • Amanullah Mojadidi
  • Amar Kanwar
  • Anant Joshi
  • Angelica Mesiti
  • Anita Dube
  • Anup Mathew Thomas
  • Ariel Hassan
  • Atul Dodiya
  • Bani Abidi
  • CAMP
  • Carlos Garaicoa
  • Clifford Charles
  • Cyprien Gaillard
  • Dylan Martorell
  • Ernesto Neto
  • Gert Jan Kocken
  • Gitanjali Rao
  • Giuseppe Stampone
  • Hossein Valamanesh
  • Ibrahim Quraishi
  • Jalaja P. S.
  • Jannis Kounellis
  • Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige
  • Jonas Staal
  • Joseph Semah
  • Justin Ponmany
  • Jyothi Basu
  • K. P. Krishnakumar
  • K.P. Reji
  • Kiran Subbaiah
  • Mahlet Ogbe
  • Majid Nasery
  • Maya Arulpragasam
  • Nadia Kaabi Linke
  • Nalini Malani
  • Olga Chernysheva
  • Paris Vishwanadhan
  • Prabhakaran K.
  • Prasad Raghavan
  • Ranbir Kaleka
  • Rashid Rana
  • Ratheesh T
  • Rahul S Ravi
  • Reghunadhan K
  • Rigo 23
  • Robert Montgomery
  • Rohini Devasher
  • Sanchayan Ghosh
  • Santiago Sierra
  • Shahidul Alam
  • Sheela Gowda and Christoph Storz
  • Shreyas Karle
  • Siji Krishnan
  • Sosa Joseph
  • Srinivasa Prasad
  • Subodh Gupta
  • Sudarshan Shetty
  • Sumedh Rajendran
  • Sun Xun
  • T. Venkanna
  • Taf Hassam
  • Tallur L.N.
  • Thomas Florschuetz
  • Thrissur Nataka Sangham*
  • UBIK
  • Upendranath T R
  • Valsan Koorma Kolleri
  • Varavazhi Project
  • Vivan Sundaram
  • Vivek Vilasini
  • Wangechi Mutu
  • Zakkir Hussain
  • Zhang Enli