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Colombo In Colombo: Jean-Francois Bocle

Rajesh Punj

Seeing space as “public and private, space as protest and contestation, space as tangible and imagined, as community, memory and legacy, space as architectural, performative, temporal, spiritual and rhythmic, space as liminal and ritualistic, space as embodied and meditative, and space as virtual and transcendent. Scrutinising space Boclé sees it as much a liberty as a liability.

The original model of the Biennale as a platform for the arts has since the 1990’s been adopted internationally as an opportunity to elevate and emancipate aesthetics of its specific geography; in order to allow for a temporary landscape or biennalescape that is intended to facilitate cross-cultural colloquies. Art historian and curator Federica Martini argues “besides being mainly focused on the present (the “here and now” where the cultural event takes place and their effect of “spectacularisation of the everyday”), because of their site-specificity cultural events may refer back to, produce or frame the history of the site and communities’ collective memory.” The Biennale as cultural currency in South Asia includes the Kochi Muziris Biennale in the South Western state of Kerala, Lahore’s newly intended Biennale opening in 2017, the Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh, and Colombo’s fourth Biennale among others. That as a continent’s contribution to the arts is intended to cultivate culture as content to a lucid and very elastic debate about the strength of people as the audience and agents of art. As everything including painting, performance, sculpture and film, in a biennale style setting are intended to create a context from within which to engage with everything as an elixir for social exchange.

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