OVER THE PAST 124 YEARS, Venice has served as the fittingly exotic stage to showcase the world’s finest contemporary art of its time. The 58th edition of the Venice Biennale (11 May-24 November 2019) was particularly special on account of the Indian pavilion—only our second time there. Titled Our Time for a Future Caring, Roobina Karode curated a show celebrating the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, coinciding with his 150th year. Works by Pre-modern and Modern masters like Nandalal Bose and MF Husain are placed alongside a group of our leading Contemporaries, offering an ode to the Mahatma, either in plainly literal form, or in the finer instances, in more subtle terms. The Indian pavilion is one amongst the 90 countries participating, each showcasing the finest from their land, displayed across palazzos, churches, and private buildings, liberally sprinkled along the Grand Canal and assorted Venetian islands. There’s a copious amount of art to view already, and added to this are the works by the 79 officially invited artists that constitute the main presentation, May You Live in Interesting Times, curated by the London-based Hayward Gallery’s Ralph Rugoff.
A walk through some of the most compelling works of the Biennale:
(Text by Arvind Vijaymohan)