In Sibande’s practice as an artist, she employs the human form as a vehicle through painting and sculpture, to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context, but also attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women in our society. The body, for Sibande, and particularly the skin, and clothing is the site where history is contested and where fantasies play out.  Centrally, she looks at the generational disempowerment of  the black woman and in this sense her work is informed by postcolonial theory, through her art making. In her work, the domestic setting acts as a stage where historical psycho-dramas play out. Sibande’s work also highlights how privileged ideals of beauty and femininity aspired to by black women discipline their body through rituals of imitation and reproduction. She inverts the social power indexed by Victorian costumes by reconfiguring it as a domestic worker’s “uniform” complexifying the colonial relationship between “slave” and “master” in a post-apartheid context.  The fabric used to produce uniforms for domestic workers is an instantly recognizable sight in domestic spaces in South Africa and by applying it to Victorian dress she attempts to make a comment about history of servitude as it relates to the present in terms of domestic relationships.

Pavilion of South Africa
Desire: Ideal Narratives in Contemporary South African Art
Exhibitors: Mary Sibande, Siemon Allen, Lyndi Sales
Commissioner: Lethole Mokoena
Curator: Thembinkosi Goniwe
Venue: Torre di Porta Nuova, Arsenale Nuovissimo

Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode… Indian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Gigi Scaria

Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode… Indian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Gigi Scaria (painter, sculptor, video artist; born in Kothanalloor, Kerala, 1973; now lives in New Delhi) interviewed by Ilari Valbonesi.

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The historic occasion of India’s first-ever National Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia – curated by cultural theorist and poet Ranjit Hoskote – approach that idea through the tropes of transcultural practice, migration and cross-pollination. Hoskote’s aim, in making his selection of artists, is to represent a set of conceptually rigorous and aesthetically rich artistic practices that are staged in parallel to the art market. Furthermore, these have not already been valorized by the gallery system and the auction-house circuit.

Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode… Indian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.  Commissioner: Ranjit Hoskote. Artists: Zarina Hashmi, Gigi Scaria, Praneet Soi, The Desire Machine Collective (Sonal Jain, Mriganka Madhukaillya).

Russian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Boris Groys

Russian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Boris Groys by Ilari Valbonesi.

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The Russian Pavilion hosts an attempt to view CA’s actions retrospectively as life in art. The exhibition shows art as the production of oneself rather than of objects (paintings, sculptures, installations). Empty Zones is the concept of life as a unique kind of artwork. And this life in art is demonstrated through using the metaphors created for the Russian Pavilion space. The exhibition also hosts an installation by A .Monastyrski “11” built on references to the historical and topological contexts and based on materials of CA’s 125 actions and compiled 10 volumes (work on the 11P thP is in progress) of the Trips out of Town books.

Boris Groys, Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University, USA, curator of The Russian Pavilion 2011. Curator of several exhibitions, including: “Dream Factory Communism”, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt a. M. (2004); “Total Enlightenment. Conceptual Art in Moscow (1960–1990)”, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt a.M./Fondacion March, Madrid (2008-2009); “Medium Religion” (with Peter Weibel) at the ZKM, Karlsruhe (2009). Recent publications: “Art Power”, MIT-Press (2008); “History Becomes Form: Moscow Conceptualism”, MIT-Press
(2010); “Going Public”, Sternberg Press/e-flux (2010). Lives and works in New York, USA

 Enjoy the Collective Actions Коллективные действия on YOUTUBE CHANNEL

One man’s floor is another man’s feelings | Israeli Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Sigalit Landau

One man’s floor is another man’s feelings. Israeli Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Sigalit Landau by Ilari Valbonesi.

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Based on Landau’s historical research, the launching point for the new installation is the small three-tiered Israeli Pavilion building in which her exhibit will dwell – a structure designed in the modernist style.  The title the artist has already given to her work for the pavilion, “One man’s floor is another man’s feelings” is a variation on the familiar saying “one man’s floor is another man’s ceiling”, which here becomes feelings. With this title, we might guess that the installation will evoke the interdependence of human beings and the sharing of riches. But the water that will be present all over the pavilion, like blood irrigating the body, is not only the precious liquid so scarce for billions of people, but it becomes a metaphor for the knowledge, sharing and feelings that connect us to each other and organize our common destiny. Like salt deposited on an object or penetrating a wound, the journey that Sigalit Landau is plotting for Venice, crystallizes the fears and hopes of these uncertain times.

Sigalit Landau was born in 1969 in Jerusalem. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, at the Gallery Kamel Mennour, Paris, at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art as well as the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and is at the moment presented as part of the Centre Pompidou’s collections in the collective exhibition elles@centrepompidou.

Registros + (Ex)tensões y Pontos. Brasilian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Artur Barrio

Registros + (Ex)tensões y Pontos. Brasilian Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Artur Barrio by Ilari Valbonesi.

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Artur Barrio weaves one of the most original bodies of work in the field of Brazilian experimental art. Though he deals with various different techniques and procedures, the conceptual core of his art lies in his Situações [Situations], which he creates for sundry environments, mixing bodies and materials to work ephemeral modifications upon a given time and place. Room 1 of the Brazilian Pavilion presents Record-photos, Record-films and Record-books of some of his most emblematic Situations, while Room 2 houses a work specially conceived for the 54th International Art Exhibition, in which the senses are invited and invoked in different ways. Whether executed in the streets or in institutional spaces, Artur Barrio’s projects challenge the sensorial coordinates with which we usually think the world so as to conjure other modes of understanding it. As such, they espouse a pedagogy of un-learning all that we think we already know, thus opening a clearing into which the new might emerge.

Born in Oporto, Portugal in 1945, Artur Alipio Barrio de Sousa Lopes arrived in Brazil in the mid-1950s. In 1967 he enrolled at the Escola Nacional de Belas-Artes in Rio de Janeiro and, in that same year, exhibited his drawings at Galeria Gemini. From 1969, Barrio received recognition and acclaim for his Situações [Situations], works involving everyday, low-cost organic materials conducted in the streets, on beaches and in the interior and grounds of museums and galleries. Using rolls of toilet paper, the situation/action P…H………(1969) was enacted in the gardens of the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM-RJ) and completed in the sea. In Situação…ORHHHHHHH…ou…5.000…T.E…em………N.Y… City……(1969) and Situação T/T,1 (1970), Barrio deposited his disturbing T.E. (trouxas ensanguentadas/Bloody Bundles) in the vicinity of an open stream in Belo Horizonte, confusing passersby and police and evoking the violent repression that marked the dictatorial period.
He also made what he calls Registros-filmes [Record-films] of various Situações, in which he documented the production of the work and the reaction it evoked. Highly revealing of his poetic, Barrio collected notes, reflections and other ideas in CadernosLivros, which have been exhibited in São Paulo and Paris.
He returned to Portugal in 1974, during the Carnation Revolution, moving to France the following year, where he worked with the Cairn Experimental Art Cooperative in Paris, exhibiting works at Espace Cairn and Espace Cardim. In 1978, he returned to Rio de Janeiro, where the book Barrio, published by Funarte as part of the Contemporary Brazilian Art Collection, would be launched in 1979.
The artist received a research scholarship from Beroepsvereniging van Beeldende Kunstenaars (BBK), which lasted from 1981 to 1984, during which time he lived and worked in Amsterdam. In 1985 he began to divide his time between Amsterdam, Aix en Provence and Rio de Janeiro – where he lives today. Barrio continued to exhibit at collective and individual shows in a number of different countries. In 2002 he was among the guest artists at the 11th Kassel Documenta, in Germany; in 2005-06 he presented the work Interminável [Interminable] in Japan and Belgium; in 2006 he showed Ensaio sobre a monotonia [Rehearsal of Monotony] in the United States; and in 2010 he featured in the collective exhibition Map Marathon at the Serpentine Gallery, England. O ignoto [The Unknown], from 1993, and da INUTILIDADE da UTILIDADE da POLíTICA da ARTE [on the USELESSNESS of the UTILITY of the POLITICS of ART], from 2010, were presented at the 23rd and 29th editions of the São Paulo Bienal, respectively.
In 2011, Barrio was chosen by the curators of the 29th São Paulo Bienal to represent Brazil at the 54th Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte. La Biennale di Venezia. Padiglione Brasile, Venice. In 1987, he received the Mario Pedrosa Award from the Brazilian Art Critics Association and, in May 2011, the Velázquez Plastic Arts Prize, conferred by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

The Pavilion of Serbia at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Raša Todosijević

The Pavilion of  Serbia at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Dragoljub Raša Todosijević by Ilari Valbonesi.

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The theme of my presence at the 54th Venice Biennale in Serbia Pavilion could be summarized as the thought of LIGHT and DARKNESS of symbols. In this particular case, I use expressions such as ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ in the metaphorical sense. (from STATEMENT)

Dragoljub Raša Todosijević was born on 2 September 1945, in Belgrade, Serbia. He graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, in 1969. He works and lives in Belgrade, Serbia. Todosijević is one of the key protagonists of the circle of Belgrade conceptual artists. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he had made radical steps away from the ideology and practice of socialist modernism, taking part in the new movements that were emerging on the world scene. Together with his colleagues (Marina Abramović, Era Milivojević, Neša Paripović, Zoran Popović and Gergelj Urkom) gathering in the Student Cultural Center in Belgrade, he contributed to the affirmation of the so called New Artistic Practice throughout the territory of former Yugoslavia, and profoundly influenced many contemporary artists. His work is intensely imbued with political and social criticism, through constant questioning and reexamining of traditional cultural and art systems, as well as society, as a whole. The art practice of Dragoljub Raša Todosijević is directed towards research in various media and techniques, from performances, actions, video works, three-dimensional installations, to the problematizing of the medium of painting and the practice of painting, itself. Some of his most prominent works are “Decision as Art”, “Was ist Kunst?” (“What is Art?”), “Gott liebt die Serben” (“God Loves the Serbs”), “My Fuxus Pianos”, and many others. Todosijević’s performance is marked by a provocative and aggressive behavior with which he irritates the negative in a person in order to draw attention to that particular problem, as in the works “Was ist Kunst?”, “Vive la France-vive la tyrannie, “Decision as Art”, and so on. During the mid-1970s, he performed a series of drawings under the common title “No a day without a line” (“Nulla dies sine linea”). Applying consequently or dogmatically this well-known proverb in various galleries and museums, he was trying to demystify the act of art, itself, connecting it, ironically, with an act of labor and “training of the hand”, and the context of presentation of artworks. In the 1970s, he also produced numerous collages through which he examined authority and authorship in the art world. In the 1990s, Todosijević used advertising media, such as newspapers, posters, billboards and radio, starting a series of pseudo-ads and pseudo-advertisements, featuring a fictitious art academy “Todosijević”, a fictitious  Kvass corporation Todosiyevitch-Malevich, etc. Through a cycle of installations, drawings, and sculpture he entitled “Gott liebt die Serben”, which started in 1989, Todosijević ironized nationalistic kitsch, pushing it to the extreme, as he did in Belgrade and Čačak, in 1998, when he served Serbian national specialties- bean broth, bread and beer at tables set up to form the shape of a swastika. From the year 2000 he continues to undertake actions titled “A Mother For Sale” in urban environments- on billboards, buses, trams etc.

Todosijević also writes theoretical texts, fine art criticism, and stories, such as: “For Art- and Against Art” (Belgrade 1974), “The Edinburgh Statement – Who makes a profit on Art, And who gains from it honestly?” (Belgrade 1975), “What Lines Are” (Belgrade 1977), “Art As Criticism of Society”, “Art and Revolution”, which he publishes in catalogues and trade publications. He is an author of a number of books of stories on art.  Dragoljub Raša Todosijević has exhibited at numerous solo and group exhibitions, in prestigious galleries and museums throughout the world.  He is the recipient of the ArtsLink 2004 Award, IASPIS Residential Award 2001, in Stockholm, and the 2006 Emily Harvey Foundation Award in New York -Venice. He also received the 50th October Salon Award in Belgrade, as well as the 2009 “Politika” Award in Serbia.

The Pavilion of Serbia at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Interview with Sanja Kojić Mladenov

The Pavilion of Serbia at the 54th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia. Sanja Kojic Mladenov, exibition curator of Dragoljub Raša Todosijević project Light and Darkness of Symbols interviewed by Ilari Valbonesi.

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Through the issue of symbols, the project of the Belgrade conceptual artist Rasa Todosijević is engaged in observation and ”clarification” of sociopolitical, economic and cultural context of the author’s social environment, with special focus on sensitive issues such as mythology, religion and power. The Project Light and Darkness of Symbols is composed of several segments, conceptualized through the different forms of installations, journal, and history.

Sanja Kojić Mladenov (born in Pančevo, 1974) graduated in History of Art at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, and is currently attending postgraduate interdisciplinary studies at the University of Novi Sad. Since 1995, she has been an author, curator, and selector of numerous projects related to the field of recent artistic practice, media, and gender. Her most recent scientific research projects include: Gender Equality and the Environment at the 53rd Biennale in Venice, Female Archetypes in the Contemporary Art of Serbia, Gender and Art. She is a member of Visart, the Association for Visual Art and Culture, Novi Sad, and international associations – AICA (International Association of Art Critics) and ICOM (International Council of Museums).