Retaining the sanctity of art
The son of the soil is back, this time with grains of sand. The Kerala-born artist, Paris Vishwanathan will showcase his 1976 work, ‘Sand’, at the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The Paris-based artist has done several changes to the work for the installation at Aspinwall House, a major biennale venue.
“In 1976, I collected sand from India’s coastal areas and made a panel of 17 squares, filling up the sand in each of them, one square for each place from where I gathered the sand,” said Vishwanathan.
‘Sand’ went on to become a major work for the 72-year-old artist, who left India when he was 28. “The installation is a ‘prathishta’. In that sense, my artwork is a ‘prathishta’,” says Vishwanathan.
Vishwanathan chose each place of his sand collection for its “cultural, historical and mythological memories”. The places included Dwaraka, Porbandar, Dandi, Somnath and Mumbai.
In Kerala, he collected sand from Kannur. He also went to the beaches in Kanyakumari, Pondicherry and Chennai.
Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan shot a film based on Vishwanathan’s artwork. The 90-minute film, along with other films made by Vishwanathan himself, will be screened at the Aspinwall House venue exhibiting the artist’s work.
Vishwanathan has changed the position of the squares from his earlier work for the biennale, bringing the square denoting Dandi to the middle of the panel with the other square surrounding it. “Dandi is the central point of my work. It is a point of resistance,” Vishwanathan said.