At Kochi, it's ethics before aesthetics: Italian artist

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 01, 2012 07:50 hrs

Kochi, Dec 1 (IANS) Giuseppe Stampone, an Italian artist, is among those whose works will be exhibited at the first Kochi-Muziris Art Biennale beginning Dec 11.

Stampone's presence at the biennale is significant, especially as his country's ties with this southern state have been frosty ever since the shootout in high seas in April last by crew of an Italian liner, leaving two Indian fishermen dead.

"The kind of artists who have been invited here believe in ethics before aesthetics. They are artists who touch the political theme," Stampone, a multi-media artist, told IANS.

His multi-media bi-lingual installation at Kochi is called "Uttam Duniya", "Il Mundo Perfecto (The Perfect World)".

Stampone says the site-specific project is a mosaic of images of Indian rickshaws, billboards, texts and maps of India to present a changing India, seen through a visitor's eyes.

The 39-year-old artist, a biennale regular for a decade, believes that the "decentralization of art from the traditional hubs in Europe and US to the emerging cities in the developing world presents the new globalised face of art".

"I have participated in the new biennales in Cuba, Sao Paolo, Liverpool, Korea and Gwangju and now in India. The old biennales like the ones in Venice are like museum exhibits - they live in their own historic formula. The new biennales are all happening in the new emerging world," Stampone said.

Art has traditionally flowered in great economies since like Spain, France and Italy in the 19th century and New York in the 20th century, he says. "But the euro-centricism is eroding. It is not that art has moved out of Europe, but a new world is happening somewhere," Stampone said.

Another reason for art to relocate its new energies in the upcoming world is the fiscal stagnation in the old economic bastions of Europe and America, which have stopped state funding of art, the artist pointed out.

"Italy for example has not invested in art in the last 10 years. Paradoxically, out of that, mediocrity has been taken out of the art market and only the creative cream and the avant garde continue to exhibit," he says, his eyes trained to see silver linings.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at

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