Kochi: A book on eminent artist Jitish Kallat was released here on the sidelines of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale on Thursday. The monograph on the 44-year-old Mumbaikar Malayali is titled ‘Jitish Kallat’. It unveils his expansive corpus of artwork that has won critical appreciation over the past quarter century.
The exhaustive book explores the contemporary visual culture which inspired the prolific artwork of the painter-sculptor.
Edited by Natasha Ginwala and featuring an extensive interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, art curator, the work chiefly includes essays and conversations involving curators, art historians and scholars in the fields of social theory and science.
The 376-page tome with 155 colour photographs is brought out with contributions from Ginwala and Obrist as well as other art scholars such as Ranjit Hoskote, Girish Shahane, Suhanya Raffel, Dilip Gaonkar, Jyoti Dhar, Bernardo Kastrup and Shumon Basar.
“It also includes two piece of short fiction,” reveals Ginwala. “Shumon Basar deftly manoeuvres the dystopia of city planning and its libidinal fantasy that generates a ‘walkway in the sky’. This, while also revealing the self-destructivity programmed into suburban lives.”
Further, the commissioned work commemorates Kallat’s 2017 retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi. “In the book, one could see Kallat’s aesthetic language and its obsessive interweaving of the cosmos and the cosmopolis,” notes Ginwala. “You will find hitherto-unpublished sketches: visual references for his early paintings and works such as Rickshawpolis and Aquasaurus.”
Jitish noted the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is the best place for a book on him. “I wanted to give the first copy of my book to the Biennale Library and everyone enjoys the book,” he noted.
Kallat, whose family hails from Kiralur village in Thrissur district, was the curator of the second edition (2014) of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The ongoing Biennale also features a new work by the artist.
Former Kochi Mayor K J Sohan received the first copy of the book. It was released at the Pavilion at Fort Kochi’s Cabral Yard, which is one of the ten venues of the 108-day Biennale that began on Wednesday.
The book, which costs Rs 3,950, has been published by MAPIN in association with art galleries Nature Morte, Galerie Templon and Chemould Prescott Road.