Venetian projects fed by 'Milk of Dreams
About the Venice Biennale, which runs until 27 November 2022.
The Venice Biennale returned to the lagoon on 23 April, eagerly awaited since it was postponed for a year due to the health crisis. No less than 1,433 works of art are to be discovered there. For Beaux Arts Magazine, journalist Emmanuelle Lequeux has made a world tour of 14 national pavilions to draw up a non-exhaustive short list of the most attractive proposals from among the 213 artists gathered here, 80% of whom are female.
In the French pavilion, Zineb Sedira and her empathetic lounge where everyone is invited to sit and listen to music and watch videos against a backdrop of images of modern Algeria celebrating its 60th anniversary. The British visual artist, of French and Algerian origin, is unparalleled in her ability to make the great story resonate with the individual.
In the Austrian pavilion, which has been transformed into a "space of desire", the striking duo Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Scheirl explode the canons, conventions and dominations of all kinds! No doubt that their "Invitation of the Soft Machine and Her Angry Body Parts" will be remembered as much as their hairnet and disco installation at the last Lyon Biennale...
Housed in the Dutch pavilion, which has itself moved to the city, the Estonian pavilion has chosen the delicate work of Kristina Norman, the multidisciplinary artist who represented Estonia in 2017, in association with the Iranian Bita Razavi. Taking as their starting point the little-known story of Emilie Rosalie Saal, a 19th-century Estonian artist and traveller devoted to tropical flora, the two contemporary artists propose an exhibition linking the past to the present through the lens of colonial botany and its socio-political ramifications.
The Catalan artist who received the prestigious Joan Miro prize in 2015, Ignasi Aballi, has designed a project for the Spanish pavilion called "Correccion", which consists of "doubling the pavilion on a 1.1 scale, but rotating it 10 degrees from the original". In short, there are a number of themes that can be addressed with this architecture that turns everything upside down, including that of institutions that are too rigid...
Maria Eichhorn defies history on the German pavilion in one of the projects that had been most carefully kept secret. With "Relocation of a Structure", she also shakes things up by literally cutting down a building built by the Third Reich.
The British and American pavilions both invited a black woman to represent them for the first time. Simone Leigh for the US and Sonya Boyce for the UK. The former, a creator of imposing bronze and ceramic sculptures, made a big splash earlier this year when she left the powerful Hauser & Wirth gallery. With "Sovereignty", Simone Leigh claims to be a black woman and a sovereign, creating above all for black women and refusing all subjection. The second has been questioning the freedom of the artist since the 1990s. With "Empowerment", Sonya Boyce proposes an installation mixing video, sound, sculpture and wallpaper, crossed by "the irrepressible spirit of human creativity".
The former architect and visual artist Francis Alÿs has chosen the planet as his playground and unveils the parallel universe of childhood in the Belgian pavilion, while in the Luxembourg pavilion, which has relinquished its historic space on the Grand Canal to the Arsenale, the painter Tina Gillen creates an "uncertain landscape" in eight large paintings like a floating world.
In perfect harmony with the programme of Cecilia Alemani, the artistic director of this 59th Venice Biennale, taking the title of a book by Leonora Carrington, "The Milk of Dreams", the Polish representative re-enchants the world: Matgorzata Mirga-Tas has covered the walls of the Polish pavilion with twelve large embroidered hangings telling the story of her nomadic people, transforming it into "a sort of temporary and adventurous asylum where visitors can find respite and hope".
The Nordic Pavilion creates a stir by recognising the Sami as a nation in Venice for the first time. The indigenous people of northern Sweden, Norway and Finland are represented by artists Pauliina Feodoroff, Maret Anne Sara and Anders Sunna, who use the concrete slab building to demonstrate the strong awareness of Sami art today, with its unique way of connecting humans to the environment and to each other.