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lexperience-detrangement - ARTACTIF
July 2024 | Reading time: 18 Min | 0 Comment(s)

About the interview with the curator of the 60th Venice Biennale by Artpress magazine.

Obviously, articles related to the Olympic and Paralympic Games or the Venice Biennale are everywhere these days in our favorite art magazines! In the May issue of Artpress, Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director of the New Museum (New York) and the Nicola Trussardi Foundation (Milan), speaks with Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director of the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, but especially this year curator of the 60th edition of the Venice Biennale. Who presents himself as “a sort of outsider in art history” and a curator from the “global South”. Adriano Pedrosa’s project tends to put the margins back at the center. And according to Artpress, it seems that it has been heard as these issues cross the national pavilions, like the French pavilion entrusted to Julien Creuzet (see also my article entitled “At the Venice Biennale the exhibition curators are also political strategists).

But let’s return to the title of this Biennale, “Foreigners Everywhere”, borrowed from a series of neon lights by the Claire Fontaine collective which punctuate what is undoubtedly the most important international exhibition on the contemporary art market.

“In 2009, for the exhibition Panorama da Arte Brasileira (Panorama of Brazilian art) which I curated, I used the title “Mamoyaguara opa mamo pupe”, which means “Foreigners everywhere” in ancient Tupi ( extinct indigenous language of Brazil). The exhibition only presented foreign artists whose work was in one way or another connected to Brazil, or produced in Brazil – and this, under a title incomprehensible to Brazilians. About ten years ago, visiting the Venice Biennale, I remember saying to myself that it would be interesting to imagine a biennial of foreigners. When the president of the biennial, Roberto Cicutto, called me in October 2021, I started with this title and set about developing it and making it more complex,” explains Adriano Pedrosa to Massimiliano Gioni. Which then reminds him that this title is also borrowed from the work of the Italian-British duo Claire Fontaine…

" Indeed. Started in 2004, this series of neon sculptures now includes more than 50 pieces, each of which is composed of the words “Foreigners everywhere” in a different language,” confirms the exhibition curator. A vast selection of these works of art is therefore exhibited at the Gaggiandre, in the Arsenal, while others appear at the entrance to the Corderie and the Central Pavilion... and all interpretations are possible. That we are always and everywhere surrounded by strangers, especially in Venice, that we are always and everywhere someone's strangers, that we are strangers to ourselves... the symbolism is vast. And grows even more if we broaden it to the more global concept of strangeness. Of oddity. Queer. This title is therefore “politically charged, but also imbued with a poetic dimension”, affirms Adriano Pedrosa, defining himself as “a queer man who, during his life, has often been a foreigner”. And who did not hesitate to exhibit, in one of the themes of the exhibition, the work of the most important “raw” artists in Europe, such as Anna Zemankova (already present at the 2013 Biennale), Madge Hill or Aloïse.

The exhibition is in fact built around two main “Nuclei”: the Nucleo storico, in homage to the historical section of the 1998 Biennale and composed of three sections bringing together 190 artists of the 20th century, and the Nucleo contemporaneo, which itself even comes in four themes. As Massimiliano Gioni points out, a lot of coordination work was necessary to build the Nuceo storico. Notably because many works of art here are on loan from non-European museums, while the Venice Biennale traditionally exhibits almost only living contemporary artists, represented by art galleries who sell their works of art on the market. of contemporary art.

“The central idea is that, during the 20th century, modern art moved to different regions of the world where it was cannibalized, reappropriated and reinvented, very much in the spirit of antropofagia by Oswald de Andrade (an essay published in 1928 by the Brazilian poet and polemicist),” explains Adriano Pedrosa. “But artists also moved through modern art. In the 1920s and 1930s, many settled in Paris, while others chose London, Rome, Berlin, Amsterdam or New York. These experiences of travel and strangeness have often led them to rediscover their origins, their stories; their work has sometimes been completely transformed. The experience of being a foreigner has led many artists to consider their culture and their original context with a new eye. »

Because Adriano Pedrosa believes in the power of exhibitions, in the sense that “the juxtaposition of works gives rise to new meanings and new interpretations – well beyond what the curator had imagined”, he wanted a Venice biennial made up of connections and debates. “A section is dedicated to queer abstract art, with works by Nedda Guidi, Maria Taniguchi and Evelyn Tao-cheng Wang. There are some very occasional juxtapositions, such as the photographs of Miguel Angel Rojas and Dean Sameshima, who both photographed gay cinemas, in Colombia and Germany respectively; and a room dedicated to African artists or of African origin who lived or currently live in Italy, such as the Mozambican Bertina Lopes, the Brazilian Rubem Valentim (died in 1991) and the young Cameroonian Victor Fotso Nyie, who lives in Faenza. The Corderie also hosts several large-scale installations by the Maori collective Mataaho, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger (Mexico), Palestinian artist Dana Awartani, Daniel Otero Torres (Colombia), Bouchra Khalili (Morocco), Isaac Chong Wai (Hong Kong), the Aravani Art Project (India) and WangShui (United States). Outside we also find major works, also large, by the American Lauren Halsey, by Claire Fontaine at the Arsenal, by Ivan Argote (Colombia), by Sol Calero (Venezuela), by Mariana Telleria ( Argentina) and a work by the Brazilian indigenous collective Mahku. All this gives the exhibition a certain rhythm in terms of scale, form and concept – a dimension absolutely necessary in an exhibition as large as the biennial. »

So that's it ? Have you bought your ticket to Venice?


Valibri en RoulotteArticle written by Valibri in Roulotte

Photo: Adriano Pedrosa.
Photo Daniel Cabrel, Courtesy Museu de Arte de São Paulo.

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