Petrichor by Vipin Dhanurdharan documents the canals of Kochi
Over the last three editions of Kochi Biennale, we have watched the growth of this youngster as an artist working with sketches, to a personality who critically engages with his surroundings through a varied array of artistic practices.
“I would like to be an active participant in whatever I am doing,” shares Vipin, whose first major breakthrough in art took place during the 2012-2013 edition of Biennale, where he presented a water-based installation. Hailing from Kollam district, Vipin’s artistic experiments so far range from a photo series showcasing the interiors of a hospital ward to inking the skin of a drum set. But, a constant or recurring element in this twenty something’s work would be water. So, when Riyas Komu invited him to be part of Mattancherry— a group show featuring 13 artists kicking off tomorrow at Uru Art Harbour—Vipin didn’t have to think twice. “For this particular project, I have tried to document the canals of Kochi, especially those in the Mattancherry region,” explains Vipin, who will be presenting a 35-minute long video presentation of him personally collecting pots of water from these mud-ridden channels.
Go with the flow
Lacking a definite narrative structure, the production is a result of Vipin’s interactions with the locals who recounts these canals as large water bodies that once facilitated trade and transport within the region. “Petrichor is my humble attempt to understand what went wrong and when. There have been instances when I’ve found faecal matter in the collected water,” shares Vipin, adding that the pipes carrying drinking water to Mattancherry stay immersed in these waterways.
Starting out in an unconventional manner—with the artist roaming the streets of Kochi—Petrichor also offers an interesting cross section of the region’s distinct urban landscape. Shot in real time, comments from the general public, as they watch Vipin’s seemingly odd practice, forms an integral part of the project.“A densely populated region, Mattancherry’s residential areas are mostly located on the banks of these canals. While I don’t have an immediate solution to offer, I do believe that documenting this issue is necessary,” says Vipin signing off.
Till October 12. At Fort Kochi.