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Valsan Koorma Kolleri’s How Goes the Enemy (2014), that inhabits Cabral Yard, seeks to transform this disused enclosure —a site where nature has spontaneously taken back a strip of earth once occupied by human activity— into a dynamic sculptural space; “a tactile experiential landscape of our collective memory”.

Unlike formal archeological excavations, the artist’s excavation of this site is an individual’s exploration of time. Without disrupting the ecosystem, Kolleri rearranged the natural elements and found objects within this site, channelising nature’s momentum to derive geometric forms out of the seemingly chaotic growth of wilderness. Within the restructured space, elements made from locally available natural materials such as laterite stones, mud and clay have been introduced. Created by the artist with support from the masons of ‘Shilpapaddiam’, the art school and studio that he established in Pattiam, and ‘Clayclub’, a collective of young architects based in Ahmedabad, these range from architectural elements to miniature sculptures.

Located close to the entryway, a laterite sculpture responds to the Sun. It is designed to project shadows onto an inclined surface calibrated to the local latitude (Kochi is located very close to the Equator at 9.97° north). According to the artist, though it follows the same principle as a sundial, the structure is not a clock but a device to simulate time’s movement. The diameter of the dial is 24 feet, representing the number of hours ascribed to one full rotation of the Earth. An incline on one side registers the subtle movement of the shadow of the gnomon, indicating time’s passage.

In the course of the Biennale, rainfall and humid air will erode the laterite and mud surfaces. According to Kolleri, with this act of time (‘the enemy’), the beauty of the installation will slowly emerge.

Details

  • Title: How Goes the Enemy
  • Creator: Valsan Koorma Kolleri
  • Physical Dimensions: Dimensions variable
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Medium: Laterite, mud, baked earth
  • Gallery: Cabral Yard, Fort Kochi
  • First Creator: 1953
  • Date of artwork's creation: 2014
  • Creator's practice: Pattiam, India.
  • Creator's date of birth: Pattiam, India.

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