La Perle Noire: Aspenwall House

Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi


December 2014
Duration: 52 Hours
Costume Design: Loise Braganza
Photography: Shivani Gupta
Curator: Jitish Kallat

Breathing life into the Black Pearl- Staff Reporter, The Hindu
A man is sitting relaxed in the middle of a cell. He is stripped to his underwear and has his face and body blackened. He eats, sleeps and –most importantly- draws on the walls behind. Around him, onlookers ebb and flow, while the artist, oblivious to his audience, continues to perform.
Le Perle Noire: Le Marais, a 52 hour performance by the Goa-based artist Nikhil Chopra, which is on at the Aspinwall House is turning out to be one of the most curious and provocative work during the second edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale. No wonder then that his life performance art is drawing visitors in large numbers right from its beginning on Saturday evening.
The artist, whose characters are generally built around India’s colonial past, takes on the persona of the Black Pearl who inhabits a cell and, on the walls, draws focally the Periyar—Kerala’s longest river that runs through its middle. The Black Pearl is a reference to pepper and the region’s spice trading past.
The performance will culminate on Monday evening with a musical performance by a two-member band of vocals and harmonium.
The 40 year old artist says he is excited to be a part of the the country’s premier art event. “I have been mulling over the idea of what I would do if I were invited to the biennale’’, said the artist, who graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Baroda’s M S University and went on to study in Ohio, USA.
Chopra notes that the Black Pearl is both ruler and subject; monster and angel. “He is armoured, yet defeated—and is also a metaphor for that ubiquitous spice which has drawn traders to the Malabar Coast for long’’, he adds.


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply