Well-known artist Jitish Kallat found himself the subject of a book that was launched with much fanfare at the Biennale in Venice at a cocktail do host by Shalini Passi. Earlier, dramatically dressed in an elaborate pink and white gown with a swan hand accessory and an intricate feather headgear, the hostess also attended the Dior Tiepolo Ball, one of the most glamorous parties held during the Venice Biennale week which has attendees like Karlie Kloss, Sienna Miller Tilda Swinton, Italian actor Monica Belluci all dressed in Dior. Other Indians who contributed glamour at the event included Natasha Poonawala and Anima Jaffer.
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But it is his work titled ‘Covering Letter’ being exhibited at the India Pavilion in the ongoing Venice Biennale which is creating quite a sensation. The artist says, “Covering Letter, much like my three Public Notice works, reflects on an utterance from history that might be repurposed to re-think the present. The work is a piece of historical correspondence beamed onto a curtain of traversable dry-fog; a brief letter written by M. K. Gandhi to Adolf Hitler in 1939 urging him to reconsider his violent means. There is a sense of perplexity in the way that Gandhi words his address; as the principal proponent of peace from a historical moment, he greets Hitler, one of the most violent individuals of that era, as a friend. Like many of Gandhi’s gestures and his life experiments, this piece of correspondence seems like an open letter destined to travel beyond its delivery date and intended recipient - a letter written to anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
The Venice Biennale is a non-commercial show so no works are for sale but counted among India’s most eminent and irreverent artists, Kallat’s works according to Delhi’s gallerists could sell for as much as Rs 60 lakhs.Read More