The Kochi Biennale 2014 – Whorled Explorations

Art should always be viewed under a high level of irritation and heat as a litmus test. (Or so I’m going to suggest. QI informed me that we make better decisions when we really need to pee, something about the sub-conscious vs the conscious etc. Maybe this could work with heat, discomfort & art.)

Will the artwork viewed through the lens of a crank, soothe or further enrage?

High heat and one sized smaller chappals were my goad at the Biennale reducing my art bollocks tolerance to zero.

It was fucking hot. Now that I’m freezing in London I can look back at it fondly.

The locations for the various groups of art work were beautiful old buildings. The one housing the big watery bell (see below) was particularly charming with a lovely green courtyard and cool wooden verandas.

The art work in the smaller venues I thought had much less pretension about them, and the write-ups were less loaded with the dead weight of all that academic heft and ego.

On the other hand art waffle is a true joy if you come to appreciate it as a connoisseur. The first and largest location had the best/worst art waffle I’ve ever read. (see images below)

Here are my basic art requirements: (particularly when hot and sticky)

At least 2 out of 3 to be met.

1. Visually stimulating
Must be to some degree visually engaging. Since I’m an illustrator that’s my baseline.

2. Technical skill / Technique
Actually making the thing, not just doing the admin/paper work,  finding investors and then paying some low-wage fabricator / construction company to created your masterpieces. This one is tricky because obviously nothing big is ever done solo.

e.g. while Anish Kapoor might be visually stimulating and I do admire the admin involved in getting investors & then the fabricator to make it, I have to minus admiration points for lack of personal involvement. Also that bullshit Olympics red roller coaster sculpture pisses me off so much that I’m permanently minusing points for that skyline eyesore. Fuck that.

I should add as a footnote, that his piece at the show was ‘out of order. And in repair’. Many minus points for that, but plus point for what is an accidentally interesting statement about conceptual sculpture)

3. Concept
Not critical if 1 & 2 present but nice to have. And I mean an actual concept. Not some bullshit art wank.

I systematically avoided the video installations and took careful note of art waffle: See example below.

Kochi Bubbles

Art waffle: Translation is simple “Bubbles are nice. They burst. I like bubbles”

Example 2:

Kochi Wave

This was a smallish acrylic box of water. That’s all. I don’t know how it powerfully captured anything. I couldn’t be bothered to take a photo: just imagine a hole in a wall where there is a clear box with water in it. The box moves back and forth. I wanted it to move me but I’m dead inside.

Example 3:

"Repeating Nokia welcome screen" Bitch please.

“Repeating Nokia welcome screen” Bitch please.


I’ve never fully understood the point of a video installation in a gallery space. Especially the longer ones with narration or dialogue. You have to focus on some abstract video while standing in a badly sound proofed room with a single thin hard bench they may occasionally deign to place in the middle, that will only seat 3 people uncomfortably.

Just send me the fucking YouTube link. I’ll watch your meandering pointless splices of footage when I’m at home, smoking one.

I suppose I’m biased. But that being said some of the shorter ones were good. (Digital Manual clock, see below)

That’s all the complaining I can muster up for now. As per my agenda, more drawing less blogging!



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