Kochi: The first in a series of free entry Mondays at the ongoing third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) saw a record one-day turnout of around 20,000 people. Winding queues of visitors, including families with children, at Aspinwall House stretched out into the street between 11 am and 5 pm. In order to accommodate everyone waiting to get in, the Biennale kept its doors open beyond the scheduled closing time. Slovenian artist Aleš Šteger’s installation ‘Pyramid of Exiled Poets’ proved especially popular with people standing in line for almost an hour to enter the structure.
“The record crowd at the Biennale is a reflection of its reputation as the ‘People’s Biennale’. Besides providing a boost to art and culture, it has revitalised the state’s economy and tourism sector, which had been on a downward spiral due to demonetisation,” said Minister for Tourism Mr Kadakampally Surendran. “P.K. Sadanandan’s mural based on mythology was wonderful. I had seen something similar while visiting temples in Kerala, but the scale of the work and the pain he has taking to realize his vision is extraordinary,” said David Cartu, an Israeli tourist.
Other big draws on the day were Lundahl & Seitl’s performance-based work, ‘Symphony of a Missing Room: The Mnemosyne Revolution’, Camille Norment’s sound installation ‘Prime’ and Wu-Tien Chang’s illusive video exhibit ‘Farewell, Spring and Autumn Pavilions’. For families, there was fun to be had putting together graphic artist Orijit Sen’s jigsaw exhibit ‘Going PlayCes’, taking in the Art by Children exhibition, buying collectibles from the Biennale shop. The cafe at Aspinwall House too was busy.