The 58th Biennale of Venice opened on 11 May. Here is a
(non-comprehensive) list of Iberian and Latin American artists represented at
the exhibition, which runs until 24 November 2019, and at accompanying events.
Mexican artist Teresa Margolles was awarded a Special
Mention at the event’s opening ceremony. By shifting existing structures from
the real world into the Exhibition halls, Margolles creates sharp and poignant
works that deal with the plight of women grossly affected by the narcotics
trade in her native country. Her work Muro
Ciudad Juárez. 2010 can be found in the Biennale’s central pavilion at the
Giardini, entitled May You Live in Interesting Times and curated by Ralph
Other Latin American artists invited to participate in the Biennale’s international exhibition (split between the Giardini and Arsenale) are Jill Mulleady (born in 1980 in Uruguay), Gabriel Rico (born in 1980 in Mexico) and Tomás Saraceno (born in 1973 in Argentina).
The international exhibition is accompanied by 89 national participations. Spain’s pavilion, located at the entrance of the Giardini, showcases Perforated, a collaboration between Itziar Okariz and Sergio Prego. Through performance, video, and sound, Okariz explores the displacements between the subject, the language, and its physical presence. Prego’s sculptural works relate to architecture, calling materiality into question through the use of lightweight, flexible materials that allow the form to only exist in a specific state or as a result of a continuous action on the constituent material. Both artists reiterate the alternative functions of the body in our technified society.
Brazil’s pavilion, Swinguerra, takes its title from a combination of swingueira, a popular dance movement in the north-east of Brazil, and guerra, war. Wagner & de Burca’s work focuses on the powerful expressions of popular culture in contemporary Brazil, and their complex relationship with international and local traditions.
exhibition, La casa empática, paintings, drawings, photographs, and
mural works by Yamandú Canosa are arranged as a ‘landscape-territory’ of the
world, an inclusive and empathic ‘total landscape’. The total landscape is
completed by the intervention on the facade and by the starry sky installed in
the ceiling of the pavilion.
de las tres ventanas. Venezuela: Identidad en tiempo y espaciois the pavilion of Venezuela.
Three metaphorical windows— thresholds for light, air, and the gaze—symbolise
the long construction of collective history and an all-encompassing narrative filled
with challenges and rebellion. Venezuela aims to promote its libertarian
identity, woven over the centuries, and share it in a clear gesture of
invitation to the complicity of others.
Other national pavilions are located in the Arsenale. Argentina’s
exhibition, El nombre de un país/The Name of a Country is a punk,
Frankensteinish bestiary that flaunts a high-fashion collection attitude. Mariana
Telleria traces a highway with an infinite number of linguistic lanes,
activating confusion—mixing things together, building monsters—and sustaining
viewers’ awareness in a continual state of transit.
Pavilion, Altered Views, Voluspa Jarpa offers a proposal for
decolonisation through a review of European history. Altered Views
comprises three reversed cultural spaces/models: the Hegemony Museum,
the Subaltern Portrait Gallery, and the Emancipating Opera. The
project collects concepts that defined colony: race and cross-breeding,
subordinate male subjects, cannibalism, gender, civilisation and barbarism,
monarchy and republic, appealing to a critical view from a transtemporal
Mexicois represented by Actos de dios/Acts of God by Pablo
Vargas Lugo. This exhibition which speculates on the life of Christ to generate
a non-linear narrative that raises new questions. What would happen if the man
who was chosen to redeem humanity had set out to fulfil all the predictions
made by the prophets about his life without being certain that he could
“Indios antropófagos”. A butterfly
Garden in the (Urban) Jungle, the exhibition of Peru,
is a paradox: a post-conceptual exploration of the fiery sensory impact of
Amazon culture on certain (neo)Baroque horizons in Peruvian art, namely in Christian
Bendayán’s work, where it is energised by a critical reconsideration of the
Amazon as a constructed image.
Other national exhibitions are dotted around Venice. In Cannaregio, the Dominican Republic presents Naturaleza y biodiversidad en la República Dominicana. This is the country’s first independent national pavilion at the Biennale. It offers a reflection on ecological threats affecting the luxuriant local nature, the Earth and humankind.
Next to the Dominican Republic is Guatemala’s
Interesting State. The term
‘interesting state’ evokes a woman who is pregnant. Acts of violence against
women constitute the denial of existence. Guatemala is an ‘interesting State’ because
of the persistence of this devastating phenomenon. Art therefore becomes an
ethical instrument, in which the seductive aesthetic nature of the works is
there to serve an indispensable social denunciation and an essential
opportunity for redemption.
Portugal’s pavilion, a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot, features artist Leonor Antunes reflecting on the functions of everyday objects and contemplating their potential to be materialised as abstract sculptures. The artist is interested in how craftsmanship traditions from various cultures intersected in the work of Venetians such as Carlo Scarpa, Savina Masieri and Egle Trincanato. Elements of the exhibition are fabricated with Falegnameria Augusto Capovilla, one of the still-active Venetian carpentries that worked closely with Scarpa.
The Cubanpavilion, located on the island of San Servolo and entitled A cautionary environment/Entorno aleccionador brings together installations, paintings, and interdisciplinary works on allegorical themes of the times in which we live. The invited artists, Alejandro Campins, Ariamna Contino, Alex Hernández and Eugenio Tibaldi, discuss the relationship between man and the environment.
The Biennale’s programme is accompanied by a series of collateral events. Catalonia
in Venice’s To Lose
Your Head (Idols) documents the complex life of statues, which some
artists today recreate and reflect upon. This multi-authored exhibition
explores the theory of art reception and documents the complex life of public
statues in our time. In a world of images, iconoclasm and iconodulia, it questions
the fetishism of images as living entities and encourages conversations as a
way to foster human happiness, awareness and freedom.
The latest works by the
contemporary Portuguese sculptor Joana
Vasconcelos (born 1971) are being displayed under the title What
are you hiding? May you find what you are looking for at the
Venice Biennale on the island of San Clemente across the Palazzo Kempinsky
gardens and in the church of San Clemente itself, supported by the film
production company MGM. In the church the exhibition shows her large-scale
floor sculpture Madragoa (2015–2019),
inspired by Lisbon’s buildings and façades, which explores the intersections of
sculpture, architecture and painting. This piece has new elements specially
created for it since it was first shown in Macau in 2015. In the gardens
Vasconcelos is displaying I’ll be Your
Mirror #1 (2019), a giant Venetian carnival mask made of mirrors, which the
sculptor recently showed at the Guggenheim, Bilbao in a solo show. Also on show
in the gardens is Betty Boop PA
(2019), a high-heeled shoe crafted out of saucepans, which proposes a revision
of the “feminine” in today’s world by bringing together two tropes of a woman’s
private and public image.
Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (Spanish, 1838–1874), The Choice of a Model, 1868–74. Oil on wood. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Corcoran Collection (William A. Clark Collection), 2015.143.12.
A painting by Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838–1874), The Choice of a Model (1868–74), is on long-term loan from the National Gallery of Art, DC, to the Meadows Museum. In honor of this prestigious loan, the Museum will host an exhibition dedicated to Fortuny and his world, drawing from its rich holdings of works on paper as well as key loans from private and public collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in order to showcase many of the friends, family, and followers who engaged with the popular Spanish painter’s work. Fortuny’s paintings were especially prized by nineteenth-century American collectors as well as by contemporaneous artists. The legacy of that popularity resonates with the distinctly American provenance of both the Meadows’s Beach at Portici and the National Gallery’s The Choice of a Model, and their current ownership by American museums.
Though today Fortuny is lesser known outside the country of his birth, the Spanish painter was extremely popular in both Europe and the United States during his lifetime and well into the early twentieth century. Imitators of his characteristically proto-Impressionist, painterly style and eclectic, “exotic” genre scenes were so plentiful that their style came to be described with its very own “ism”: “Fortunismo” (Fortuny-ism). Fortuny: Friends and Followers explores that legacy by bringing together a diverse group of artists, including the important French artists Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904), James Tissot (1836–1902), Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815– 1891). Fortuny’s sphere of influence is explored through a variety of themes including intimate representations of family and home, trends of modern life in European cosmopolitan centers like Paris and Venice, cultural arts from Spain and beyond, and much more.
Born in Granada in 1871, Mariano Fortuny trained as a painter in Paris before settling in Venice at 18. Moving in international artistic circles, he befriended Gabriele D’Annunzio, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Marchesa Casati and Prinz Fritz Hohenlohe-Waldenburg, among others. He was fascinated by the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, a total union of music, drama and visual presentation which he strove to realise in his set designs. In addition to his work for the theatre, he decorated aristocratic homes and museums. His luxury textiles were produced in a factory on the Guidecca in Venice and sold in shops in all European capitals. Towards the end of the 1930s Mariano Fortuny retired to a palace in the San Beneto district of Venice. Decorated by the artist, the palazzo now hosts the Fortuny Museum.
Currently on show at the museum is Futuruins. The exhibition focuses on the the multiple meanings attributed to ruins through the centuries. Works from Venetian Civic Museums, the State Hermitage Museum and other international collections explore the architectural and sculptural remains of the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian-Babylonian and Syrian civilisations. Contemporary art looks at the physical and moral ruins of today’s society. This is an exploration of the ruins of architecture, cities and suburbs, but also of men and ideas, as the result of time, negligence, degeneration, natural or political tragedies such as war and terrorism.
Ruins are an allegory for the inexorable passage of time, always uncertain and changeable, disputed between past and future, life and death, destruction and creation, Nature and Culture. The aesthetics of ruins is a crucial element in the history of Western civilisation. The ruin as concept symbolises the presence of the past but at the same time contains within itself the potential of the fragment. Fragments of antiquity, covered by the patina of time, hold cultural and symbolic implications that turn them into valid ‘foundation stones’ for building the future. Coming from the past, they confer a wealth of meaning on the present and offer an awareness to future projects.
Curated by Daniela Ferretti, Dimitri Ozerkov with Dario Dalla Lana, the exhibition includes works by such modern artists as Acconci Studio, Giorgio de Chirico, Jean Dubuffet, Anselm Kiefer, Alberto Burri. Franco Guerzoni, Christian Fogarolli, Giuseppe Amato, Renato Leotta and Renata De Bonis have realised new commissions for the event. In addition, the State Hermitage Museum has lent more than 80 pre-modern works, including paintings by Albrecht Dürer, Monsù Desiderio, Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Jacopo and Francesco Bassano, Parmigianino, Veronese, Jacob van Host the Elder, Arturo Nathan and Alessandro Algardi.
Chair: Juan Calatrava (Universidad de Granada)
10.00-11.00 Antonio Almagro (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Escuela de Estudios Árabes)
Emulación o asimilación. La arquitectura palatina entre Castilla y al-Andalus
SESSION I: Islamic heritage in Italy and Spain
Chair: Juan Calatrava (Universidad de Granada)
11.00-11.30 Susanna Calvo Capilla (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
El mundo clásico y la construcción de la identidad en la Córdoba omeya y en Bizancio en el siglo X: escenarios y objetos
11.30-12.00 Anna McSweeney (University of Sussex) and Arianna D’Ottone Rambach (Sapienza – Università di Roma)
From al-Andalus to Rome: Hadith Bayad wa Riyad
12.30-13.00 Laura Rodríguez Peinado (Museo de Artes Decorativas, Madrid)
Textiles andalusíes y sicilianos: la problemática de su estudio
13.00-13.30 Lamia Hadda (Università di Napoli “Suor Orsola Benincasa”)
La tradizione dell’iwan nell’architettura palaziale arabo-normanna in Sicilia
SESSION II: Cross-cultural exchange in the Middle Age
Chair: Francine Giese (University of Zurich)
15.00-15.30 Luis Rueda Galán (EPHE, Paris / Universidad de Jaén)
La cristianización de aljamas en Castilla durante la Baja Edad Media. La catedral de Baeza
15.30-16.00 Noelia Silva Santa-Cruz (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Propaganda regia e imagen promocional en la sicilia normanda: préstamos iconográficos llegados de al-andalus y de la corte fatimí
16.30-17.00 Julie Marquer (Université de Lyon 1)
Inscripciones árabes que alaban reyes cristianos. Estudio comparativo entre Castilla y Sicilia
17.00-17.30 Antje Bosselmann-Ruickbie (Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz/Justus-Liebig-University Gießen)
A Silver-gilt Casket from Sicily (13th Century): Cultural Transfer in the Middle Ages
Saturday 2 February 2019, Palazzo Badoer, Santa Croce 2468, Venice
Chair: Guido Zucconi (IUAV)
9.30-10.30 Ezio Godoli (Università di Firenze)
La fortuna dell’Alhambrismo in Toscana e Emilia nella seconda metà dell’Ottocento
SESSION III: Ideologies and identity building
Chair: Guido Zucconi (IUAV)
10.30-11.00 Carlos Plaza (Universidad de Sevilla)
Memoria histórica, identidad local y arquitectura “alla moresca”. El legado islámico y la moderna arquitectura del Renacimiento entre Sevilla y Palermo
11.30-12.00 Angel Jiang (Columbia University)
From Lost Time to Timelessness: Madīnat al-Zahrā and the Place of Ruin in Identity Negotiations in Spain
12.00-12.30 Juan Carlos Ruiz Souza (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Relatos de inclusión y exclusión de al-andalus y la historiografía del arte español. Gestión de memoria y creación de identidades.
SESSION IV: Re-appropriating the Islamic past in 19th and 20th centuries art and architecture
Chair: Ariane Varela Braga (University of Zurich)
14.30-15.00 Alessandro Diana (Università di Firenze)
Islam delle lettere / Islam delle arti: il caso di Firenze fra XIX e XX secolo
15.00-15.30 Anna Mazzanti (Politecnico di Milano)
Interni d’artista e la voga islamica. Dall’atelier alla casa fra XIX e XX secolo
15.30-16.00 Sandra S. Williams (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
The Life of Two Ceilings
16.30-17.00 Angelo Maggi (IUAV, Venezia)
Ignazio Cugnoni e la documentazione fotografica dell’Alhambra
17.00 -17.30 Antonia Fernandez Nieto (Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Pozuelo) and Marta Garcia Carbonero (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid)
Learning from the Alhambra: Houses and Gardens in Spain between Modernism and Islamic Tradition (1953-1975)
17.30-18.00 Eleonora Charans (IUAV, Venezia)
Architettura nei paesi islamici. La seconda mostra internazionale del settore architettura della Biennale di Venezia (1982)
Mariano Fortuny, Idyll, 1868, watercolour and gouache on paper, Museo Nacional del Prado
The Museo Nacional del Prado has recently opened an exhibition on Mariano Fortuny y Marsal (1838-1874). This artist, who achieved international renown in the last third of the 19th century, was a skilled painter and draughtsman who excelled in watercolour. He was also a graphic artist and a passionate collector of antiquities.
As with previous monographic exhibitions held at the Prado, Mariano Fortuny (1838-1874) offers a reassessment of the artist’s finest works, drawn from both the the Prado’s extensive holdings and from international lenders, including the more than 30 rarely-seen works from the Museo Fortuny in Venice.