The next edition of Chennai Photo Biennale, which will be held over 60 days from December 9 next year, hopes to attract global audiences visiting the city during music and dance season.
“CPB aims to position Chennai as a contemporary art destination by aligning the biennale with other prominent festivals happening around the same period, and attract audiences who criss-cross the city to attend the music and dance season,” says CPB’s co-founder Varun Gupta, a city-based photographer. “People fly to Cochin to visit the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (an international art exhibition in public spaces), we want visitors to come to Chennai to view CPB,” he asserts. The second edition held earlier this year witnessed over 50,000 visitors viewing the works of about 50 artists across 15 venues.
Four artists and curators who have been exploring different aspects of photography will be curating the ensuing third edition of the biennale. They are Arko Datto (Kolkata), Boaz Levin (Berlin, Germany), Bhooma Padmanabhan (Chennai) and Kerstin Meincke (Essen, Germany). “The biennale’s first edition in 2016 (which was a pilot) did not have a curator, while the second one had artist Pushpamala N as the curator. For the third edition, we decided to have a team of artists who could work together. Each of the four curators brings different perspectives to the table. We think that having international curators on board will help in drawing more global audiences,” Varun tells us. Besides contemporary photographs that touch upon a variety of socio-political subjects, archives will also be showcased during the exhibition.
While the artists and venues for the upcoming edition will be chosen by curators in the days ahead, improving the quality of installations remains one of the main tasks for the organisers. “We want to improve the quality of works exhibited, and also make navigating between venues easier for people. The quality of volunteers/knowledge guides, who would share details of the artworks to visitors, is another aspect we want to work on,” he admits.
While the second CPB was organised with a budget of Rs 3.3-crore, the two-month-long third edition hopes to raise Rs 5.5-crore, for the biennale as well as for the Foundation’s activities. “We aim to build a community that appreciates visual arts,” remarks Varun.