Abir Karmakar’s contribution to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2016 spread across the Kashi Art Gallery, a repurposed old Portuguese house not interesting enough architecturally to qualify for the ‘heritage’ label. Karmakar covered the bare walls with realistically painted, fit-to-fill canvases depicting a home he had seen during a family visit to Kutch. In conceiving and executing the sequence as he did, the artist elegantly overcame the hurdles that painting often faces within blockbuster shows. Attention-grabbing room-sized sculptures and location-specific installations are commonly found in biennales, but house-sized, site-specific paintings are vanishingly rare.
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