Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018

Vatican to debut at Venice Biennale


(By Kate Carlisle)Venice, May 15 - The Holy See has
embarked on a contemporary journey and for the first time will
appear with its own pavilion at none other than Venice's epic
art event, the Biennale.
Instead of dipping into the Vatican museum's rich and
expansive collection full of Renaissance greats, the Holy See
went for a fresh approach.
Three contemporary artists were commissioned, no bars held,
to create interpretations of the first 11 chapters of Genesis.
There are no iconic classics like crosses, the Madonna or
other liturgy greats, just "great universal messages contained
in the story of Genesis," President of the Pontifical Council
for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said.
Italy's Studio Azzurro cooperative, Australian-born
American painter Lawrence Carroll and Czech photographer Josef
Koudelka all produced works surrounding the timeless themes of
"creation", "uncreation" and "re-creation".
"There is no one who has not experienced ups and downs,
depression, defeat, and times when they must get back up and
search for hope again," Vatican Museums Director Antonio
Paolucci said.
"These three elements are universal," he said.
This new 'trinity' of themes that outline the pieces
making up the exhibition criss-cross artistic endeavors and dip
into a variety of mediums.
Creation as interpreted by Studio Azzurro becomes a
multimedia work composed of chaotically outreached hands on
video screens with the cries, squeals and chatter of children
and animals piped in.
"Their work triggers a dialogue, awash with echoes and
reverberations, between the vegetable and animal kingdoms and
the human dimension, which leads, via memory, to other personal
narrations on the concept of origins within an interactive plane
that is also a temporal intersection," Cardinal Ravasi said.
Koudelka instead tackled the theme of uncreation with 18
photos, some over two and a half meters tall, showing a dismal
depiction of destruction brought about by war and environmental
"The power of his panoramic, black and white (photos),
speaks of the opposition between the human being and the world
with its laws - moral and natural - and the material destruction
that comes from a loss of a moral sense," Ravasi said.
Czech-born Koudelka became famous for photos taken in
then Czechoslovakia during the Soviet invasion in 1968 that he
smuggled out to the West.
Instead, Carroll's works try to literally shed light on
recreation using strings of electrical wires and light bulb
sockets dangling from a large panel with an almost shroud-like
cloth as a backdrop. Carroll's illuminating work leaves some
sockets empty and others with lit-up bulbs.
Carroll is capable of "giving life to salvaged materials,
transfiguring them through processes of reconsideration and
regeneration and who, against all odds, opens new possibilities
of coexistence between as seemingly unrelated dimensions as
fragility and monumentality," Ravasi said.
Cardinal Ravasi chose the name "In the Beginning" for the
exhibition at the 55th edition of the Biennale.
The Holy See will debut alongside eight other first-time
participants - Paraguay, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Bahrain,
Kuwait, the Maldives, Bahamas and the Republic of Kosovo.
The Venice Biennale attracts hundreds of thousands of
visitors to its biannual event, while the Vatican Museums, which
include the Sistine Chapel and one of the world's largest art
collections, attract some three million visitors a year.
Sponsors have spent about 750,000 euros on the Vatican
pavilion that opens this year on June 1 and lasts six months.

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