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Venice. Picture: Wikicommons
Mozambique will participate in the 58th International Art Biennial of Venice with ‘The Past, The Present and The In Between’. The project brings together contemporary artists Gonçalo Mabunda, Mauro Pinto, and Filipe Branquinho and will be housed at the Palazzo Mora. It is curated by Lidija Kostic Khachatourian and the official commissioner is Domingos do Rosário Artur.
The Venice Biennale runs from May 11 to November 24 and this year hosts 91 national representations.
This year’s central exhibition, ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, which is being curated by Ralph Rugoff, the director of the Hayward Gallery in London, includes 83 artists, with some working in pairs and collectives. The youngest of them is Lithuanian artist Augustus Serapinas, born in 1990, while the oldest is Berlin-based, US artist Jimmie Durham, born in 1940.
Rugoff, the first UK-based curator ever to helm the Biennale, has selected 16 Americans for the show (the most widely represented nationality), with six artists from China, and three apiece from India, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the UK.
The show’s title is drawn from a speech given in the late 1930s by British MP Austen Chamberlain, who spoke of an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” With the tensions that eventually led to the Second World War looming in the background, “there is no doubt that the curse has fallen on us,” Chamberlain said. “We move from one crisis to another. We suffer one disturbance and shock after another.”
“This summary sounds uncannily familiar today as the news cycle spins from crisis to crisis,” Rugoff said in his curatorial statement. And yet, fittingly, considering the current age of so-called fake news, “it turns out that there never was any such ‘ancient Chinese curse,’ despite the fact that Western politicians have made reference to it in speeches for over a hundred years.”
Angola, which has been participating in the Venice Biennale since 2013 and won the Golden Lion for the Best National Participation that year, will be absent “because there were no conditions,” the Angolan government announced in January.
South Africa will showcase works by artists Dineo Seshee Bopape, Tracey Rose and Mawande Ka Zenzile. Nkule Mabaso and Nomusa Makhubu of Natal Collective are the curators of the South African Pavilion.
The three artists explore the themes of social, political and economic resilience under the title ‘The Stronger We Become’, the aim of which is to capture the collective strength of South Africans in response to the 2019 curatorial theme, ‘May You Live In Interesting Times’, set by Ralph Rugoff.
Rugoff suggests that “uncertainty, crisis and turmoil” makes it necessary to focus on “art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking”.
‘Swinguerra’ is the title of Brazil official project, organised by the São Paulo Biennial Foundation, chaired by José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, and curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro.
The artists responsible for the project are Barbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca, who created an audio-visual work for the Brazilian pavilion in the Giardini area. ‘Swinguerra’ is an installation that centres on a film about a local cultural festival in the northeast Brazil that mixes music and dance.
The official Portuguese presence at the 58th Venice Art Biennial will be curated by João Ribas and the project by Leonor Antunes whose title freely translates as “‘a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot’.
The exhibition’s point of departure is Antunes’s significant research into key figures in the cultural history of Venice, such as the architects and designers Carlo Scarpa, Franco Albini, and Franca Helg, as well as the legacies of the patronage of Savina Masieri and architecture of Egle Trincanato, who were both active in the city in the postwar period.
The Antunes project will will be housed at the Palazzo Giustinian Lolin.
The biennial’s online site declares that, this year, there will be five countries participating for the first time: Algeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan. The Dominican Republic and the Republic of Kazakhstan, which have participated in previous editions, will have their own pavilions for the first time this year.
First organised in 1895, the Venice Biennale now takes over the Giardini and the Arsenale every two years and has become one of the most important art expositions in the world.Source: Lusa / ARTTHROB / ArtNet / ArtNews
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