(vaporetto n.2 stop S.Basilio/Zattere 5’ direction Campo S.ta Margherita)
Under the auspices of the Cultural Council of UPM (Union pour la Méditerranée), during the Venice Biennale 54th edition, ART for The World is organizing at the piano nobile (first floor) of the XVIIth century baroque Palazzo Zenobio (former Armenian College), located between San Basilio/Zattere and Campo Santa Margherita, an international show exploring an approach to artistic expression in the Mediterranean area today.
THE MEDITERRANEAN APPROACH is curated by Adelina von Fürstenberg, President of ART for The World , with Thierry Ollat, Director of the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Marseille, in collaboration with architect Uliva Velo and indipendent curator Anna Daneri. Artists and film-makers: Ghada Amer (Egypt), Ziad Antar (Lebanon), Faouzi Bensaïdi (Morocco), Marie Bovo (Spain), David Casini (Italy), Hüseyin Karabey (Turkey), Ange Leccia (France), Adrian Paci (Albania), Maria Papadimitriou (Greece), Khalil Rabah (Palestine), Zineb Sedira (Algeria), Gal Weinstein (Israel), Peter Wüthrich (Switzerland).
The Mediterranean area is so much more than a geographical reference. The birthplace of great civilizations, as well as an open gate between the West and the East, developing through centuries on multiple complex models, it remains a constant and yet changing crossroads of peoples and languages, a nurturing ground to growth of social and cultural awareness, a powerful source of inspiration to art. Through the work of the artists hereby selected, the show is aiming to emphasize differences as well as similarities as part of the underlying deep identity connecting all Mediterranean peoples.
THE MEDITERRANEAN APPROACH is an ART for The World project in collaboration with Boghossian Foundation (Brussels), with the support of La Fundacion Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte (Madrid), Epson Italia, Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, Neonlauro, Gondrand, as well as with the following Art Galleries: Kamel Mennour (Paris), Almine Rech (Brussels/Paris), Riccardo Crespi (Milan), Kaufmann Repetto (Milan), Minini (Brescia/Milan), Fumagalli (Bergamo).
The Mediterranean Sea, as the area where three continents - Africa, Asia, and Europe - meet, is a unique geopolitical system world-wide. To the West, the Strait of Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. On the North-Eastern side, the Sea of Marmara, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus are a passage to the Black Sea. The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean to the Red Sea at South-East.
A political and economical crossroads between East and West as well as between North and South, the Mediterranean area, home to the three major monotheistic religions, still breeds and houses several civilizations and cultures, distinct philosophies of life and conceptions of the world.
The Mediterranean is so much more than a geographical expression. The birthplace to of major civilizations as much as the millenary gate between West and East, open to the legendary horizon of ancient trade routes as much as to constant Eastern input, the whole area developed as a complex cross-section refl ecting different cultural models, languages, peoples.
ART for The World is promoting the exchange between cultures through art, believing art is a powerful unequalled vehicle of dialogue, development and peace. Ancient routes have become paths to knowledge and creativity, aspiration to freedom and democracy is thriving. Through the selected artists’ vision, The Mediterranean Approach explores both differences and similarities in past and contemporary identities of the Mediterranean people.
Built in 1690, Palazzo Zenobio in Venice is a masterpiece of Baroque style. On the first floor, the so called piano nobile, the trompe l’oeil frescos and ceilings are splendid (early Tiepolo) and the luxuriant garden among Venice’s largest and loveliest. The palace housed for more then two centuries the Armenian college Murat Raphael. It recently opened its doors to scholars and guests and to art exhibitions during the Venice Biennale.
THE MEDITERRANEAN APPROACH was designed to travel and be shown in 2011-2013 in several major harbour towns in the Mediterranean area, to reach also Marseille in 2012, in the context of Marseille Provence 2013, Cultural Capital of Europe.
The two works in exhibition, Le Salon Courbé, and The Definition of the Word Fear in English, 2007 (embroidery and gel medium on canvas) spread from the desire to confront two different realities: the Arabic world, and the Western one. The visitor is compelled to recover the slow rhythm of words, of thought and of reading as suggested by the texts in Arabic an English embroided on the sofa and on the canvas, and printed on the wallpaper. The texts refer to the meaning of the words “terror” and “fear” in the two languages, creating a short-circuit between the cozy context of the lounge, and tensions, fears and sometimes prejudices that often characterize intercultural relationships.
Ghada Amer studied painting and fine arts in Nice, Boston and Paris, and has been exhibiting her works since the early 1990s. From the very beginning of her career, Amer has been engaged in an investigation of the stereotypical notions, images, and techniques of femininity, as they are played out both in visual arts and in everyday’s life. In 1997 she was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, and in 1999, she received the Unesco Award at the Venice Biennale. She has had solo exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum in New York City; San Francisco Art Institute; De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Ind.; MACRO Museum, Rome. Her work has been exhibited in group shows at such venues as Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Deste Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, Athens; National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C. as well as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She also participated in the Kwangju Biennale, the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale.
The work Beirut Bereft. Architecture of the Forsaken and Map of the Derelict, 2007-2009 (series of photos) is the result of a collaboration between the writer Rasha Salti and Ziad Antar, which included producing and publishing a book, as well as a series of photographs. More than fifteen years after the end of violence, Beirut’s urban landscape still bears the stigmas, scars and vestiges of a seventeen years long civil war, like a refl ection of the town political, social and cultural condition. The very fabric of the city is woven with unfi nished, abandoned buildings, often a mere concrete structure. Sometimes sheltered behind rusted fences, these naked edifi ces stand today bereft, as if enclosing grief, loss and destitution. Painful evidence of failure, nagging reminders of all over which shadow is steadily cast, hidden away from sight, description, narration.
Ziad Antar’s work deals with crucial issues in Lebanese society, in particular with war and human condition in a conflict situation. He graduated in agricultural engineering in 2001 and has been working in photography and video since 2002. He completed a residency at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2003 as well as at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His recent exhibitions include: 6th Seoul International Biennal of Media Art, Seoul; Who Wants to Act Now, or Even See Acting, Depo, Istanbul; America, Beirut Art Centre, Beirut; Breakfast of Champions, Guest Project, London; Taipei Biennal, Taipei; Future Generation Art Prize, the PinchukArtCentre, Kiev.
Shot in one frame with a steady camera in front of a wall in a Moroccan town, Le Mur records the bizarre, joyful and gloomy events taking place on an ordinary day in a highly banal place. A thread in the works of the Moroccan director and actor, the wall becomes a proscenium for life, an element of transgression, a metaphor of individual and social connections and clashes, also questioning the role of an artist involved in a wide range of means of expression. The movie received an award at Cannes Festival in 2000.
After working in theater as a director and an actor, in 1997 Faouzi Bensaïdi shot his first film, La Falaise, which received 24 awards in French and international festivals. In 1999, he co-wrote the movie Loin by Andre Techine. In 2000, he directed two short films: Le Mur, awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, and Trajets awarded at the Venice Film Festival. In 2003 his first feature film Mille mois was doubly awarded at Un certain regard at Cannes. In 2006 his second film www-what a wonderful world in the section “Venice Days” of the Venice Festival. The installation Man’s worlds - World mens is a reflection on the elements building the film, yet ending up left out of the final version (footage, sketches, ideas, images and video).
He returned to theater in 2008 with Histoire d’amour en 12 chansons, 3 repas et 1 baiser. He is currently working on his third long feature film, Death for sale.
Part of a series called Cours intérieures, (2008-2010) the seven photos show the courtyards of the popular district of Belzunce in Marseille, located in the crossroads to Algeria harbour area. They were shot by the artist at different moments of day and night, always orienting sight towards the sky. Ropes for hanging laundry connect the houses facing the courtyards, as interstitial spaces between the domestic landscape and the street. Working with long exposures, Marie Bovo saturates the film, creating almost unreal lighteffects that recall the skies of Baroque frescos, creating an impression of suspension and loss of gravity.
Marie Bovo works with video and photography. Time is a key element of many of her works, suggesting mostly metaphorical temporalities which recall the universal cycles of the living. Her work is deeply rooted in reality. It highlights geopolitical and social issues, particularly in her approach to the city. Her work has recently been shown at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris; the CCC of Tours; the Luìs Serpa Projectos in Lisboa; the Collections de Saint- Cyprien; the [MAC] of Marseille; the ERA Foundation in Moscou; at the Federation Square of Melbourne and at the “Nuit Blanche” in Tel Aviv.
Unauthorized Mediterranean buildings, mostly unfi nished architectural structures symbolizing a disturbing contemporary vision, are at the core of the art work L’illogica abitudine, 2011 (5 sculptures - coral, resin, glass). Shown them as precious objects set on corals and kept under glass bells, the structures form a particular wunderkammer, recalling historical museum collections, yet with a disenchanted gaze on modern times. Five works structured here as micro-systems where small scale reproductions of real ’ecomonsters’ are grafted on coral skeletons, as if they were two different species in a particular symbiosis, do create a unique surreal landscape, somehow as fascinating as a tormented mutation.
A distinguishing characteristic of David Casini’s art lies in his approach to the practice of manufacture, with particular regard to investigation in materials. Casini creates miniaturized landscapes made of ceramic and quartz surrounded by a certain kind of nostalgic kitsch feeling, developing a particular dimension in spatial/environmental installations.
Casini won the Talent Prize 2009. Villa Paloma Museum, Monaco; Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; Villa Noailles, Hyeres; Mambo Museum, Bologna; Musée de Carouge, Geneva; Viafarini, Milan. He participated to the Biennial in Carrara.
The film No darkness will make us forget is based on the funeral of the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, killed in Istanbul in 2007 by a seventeen year-old ultranationalist. At Dink’s funeral, two hundred thousand mourners marched in protest against the assassination. The short film, produced by ART for The World, portrays with drawings by Aksel Zeydan Göz the funeral, and the protesters peacefully marching through all Istanbul, while the audio broadcasts the actual speech Mrs Rakel Dink addressed to her beloved husband and to the crowd, an intense and powerful message, becoming a manifesto of peace and tolerance.
Hüseyin Karabey pursues film directing since 1996. He graduated from the Film & Television department at Fine Arts School of the Marmara University in 2001. His short films, documentaries and his first long feature Gitmek - My Marlon and Brando have been shown at many important festivals and have won the Tribeca Film Festival for the Best New Narrative Filmaker in 2008 in NYC. Currently he is involved as Artistic Director in the production of the film project Do not Forget me Istanbul commissioned by 2010 Istanbul Cultural Capital of Europe in which six internationally renowned directors each shoot a short segment about the city. ART for The World produced in 2011 his new short film No darkness will make us forget, under the patronage of the Council of Europe, UN, and of the City Geneva.
Recurrent issue in the works of the artist, La Mer, the sea, is filmed here in a single steady frame from a perpendicular plan, creating continuously changing abstract images. One could linger watching them for hours, as in a Zen meditation practice. Projected vertically on the wall, waves actually loose their familiar aspect, producing a feeling of estrangement that amplifi es their beauty. They become magic fluorescences, infinitely recurring in a continuous loop that underlines the materiality of video images and their vivid relation with paintings.
Major figure on the French contemporary art scene, Ange Leccia produces films, installations and deploys video projections in architectural interventions and arrangements, to convey stories of personal and public dramas.
He is professor at the Ecole supérieure de Beaux-Arts de Cergy-Pontoise (ENSAPC) and directs research for young artists at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. His works has been shown at Musée Rodin, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, Takanawa and Seibu Museum, Tokyo; Sydney Biennial; Musée du Louvre, Paris.
The work Last Gestures composes a scenario in which fragmented episodes capture gestures determining the video’s whole duration. During the moments before a wedding a drama unfolds between a bride and the family that she must abandon in order to construct a new one. The bride’s somber behaviour is highlighted by the family’s ritualized gestures, a seemingly ancestral model contrasted by the characters’ awareness of the artificial gaze that both undermines their spontaneity and confines them as willing actors in a codified drama. The video shows a painterly quality, presenting a portrait of gestures in which aff ectation dwells with solemnity.
Dealing with contemporary issues such as migration and identity, Paci’s video production speaks about fragments of humanity the artist has experienced. His works are very often a refl ection on the themes of origins and of emotional bounds, intended both as personal and public values. Adrian Paci’s recent exhibitions include solo shows at Kunsthaus Zürich; PS1 New York City; Center for Contemporary Art CCA, Tel Aviv; Kunstverein Hannover; Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul; Bloomberg Space, London. Among the group shows: Venice Biennale; Tate Modern, London; Renaissance Society, Chicago; Shangai Art Museum; Kunsthaus Graz; Manifesta3, Lubljana.
The installation Apparatus, composed of glass sculptures and a stylized Revenue Guard Corps boat, takes up almost an entire room at Palazzo Zenobio. The work represents a metaphor of the travels undertaken by migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea: a beach made with glass fragments evokes the often tragic destiny of the many lives broken in search of a better future.
Maria Papadimitriou’s previous works revolve around the notions of parody, paradox, and personal identity. She teaches at the Dept. of Architecture, University of Thessaly and she is the founder of T.A.M.A. (Temporary Autonomous Museum for All)in Greece.
Papadimitriou won the Deste Foundation Prize (2003) She exhibited at the Sao Paulo Biennial; Manifesta04, Frankfurt; Kunsthaus Graz; Espacio Uno - Museo Reina Sofi a, Madrid; MMCA Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki; MM Projects Rincon Puerto Rico; Pavillion of Contemporary Art Milan; Olivetti Foundation, Rome; EPO, Munich; Bâtiment d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Casa del Lago, Mexico City; 1st Bienal de Arquitectura Arte Paisaje de Canarias; The Haifa Mediterranean Biennale; 10th Lyon Biennial; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Denmark.
The video-installation documents The 3rd Annual Wall Zone Auction, organized in 2004 by The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind as a result of a major study in the surroundings of the “wall zone” launched in 2002, examining an enormous catastrophe for life on earth. Eight items containing natural and unnatural material from the wall zone surroundings were auctioned in order to seek support for their preservation, developments and presentation in a show at the Museum. Focus of the project is thus the understanding, in the context of contemporary events, of the history of the earth and of its inhabitants.
Khalil Rabah has participated in a number of group exhibitions around the world, as well as several biennials, including the Sao Paulo, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul, Liverpool and Venice Biennales. Rabah has had numerous international solo shows and has been part of various artist-in-residency programs in Europe. Rabah also taught architecture at Birzeit University, Palestine and Fine Arts at Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem. He is the founder of The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind (2003-ongoing) and co-founder of Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem and ArtSchool Palestine in London. He is the Director of the Riwaq Biennial, Palestine. Rabah also serves on the advisory boards of Delfi na Foundation of the Biennial Foundation, and is a member of the Curriculum Committee of Home Workspace Program- Beirut. Khalil Rabah has participated in a number of group exhibitions around the world, as well as to several Biennials, including the Sharjah, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul, Liverpool and Venice Biennales.
Combining documentary films with installation, Gardiennes d’images (2010) proposes a new look at, and a wide acknowledgement of, photographer Mohammed Kouaci’s work on Algerian revolution, through the voice of his widow, Safia Kouaci. Since the death of the photographer in 1997, Safia has worked to preserve these priceless archives of Algerian history. Collaborator and privileged witness of numerous historical events, Safia Kouaci steps from shadow into light to become a central figure of the project, underlining the power of links outlasting death and solitude, as well as the importance of the voice of elderly people and the fragility of memory.
Zineb Sedira’s work is concerned with issues of language and storytelling. She uses photography and video to deal with such topics as wandering, and colonial vestiges and legacies.
Her work has been presented by several museums and institutions, such as Rivington Place, London; John Hansard Gallery, UK; the Pori Art Museum, Finland; BildMuseets, Sweden; Prefi x Institute of Contemporary Art, Canada; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille and Palais de Tokyo, Paris.
An installation made with carpets, representing the longing for settlement and home through the everchanging language of the weather forecast, Nahalal (Partly Cloudy) is exhibited close to a work based on the image of the town Petra ( steel wool on plywood, 2011), a city called the 'Red Rock' in Hebrew. Evoking the longing for travel, adventure and instability, through the 'stable' steel material, these two works turn into iconic images of a place and of confl icting passions: both tell us about absence and missed opportunities, and the gap between ideal and actual fulfi llment.
Gal Weinstein's installations are based on iconic images that are deeply engraved in the Israeli "collective memory." His artistic process involves translating the sentimental aesthetics of popular photographic sources (journals, postcards, photographic albums) into concrete substance, through the use of industrial and functional materials such as wall-to-wall carpets. Th e works can therefore be read as a literal refl ection on the two-fold nature of the term "touching," alluding both to the concrete sense and to the sentimental aspect of the word. His recent exhibitions include: Family Traces, Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Portrait: Different Sides, Ashdod Museum of Art; Boys Craft, Haifa Museum of Art; Israele: Arte Contemporanea, Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin; Tremors, Centro Huarte de Arte Contemporáneo, Navarra.
Part of an on-going project, The Angels of Venice (series of 90 photos), the work, conceived in Venice, implied the participation of anonymous people passing met by the artist in the streets of the city, and asked to wear an open book on their back. The medium of transformation of the people into angels is the book, with its connotations of knowledge, imagination and creativity, that change it into ’angel wings’.
Peter Wüthrich is currently working on a ongoing public project entitled The Angels of the World, that he has realized up to now in different cities: Los Angeles, Santiago de Compostela, Milan, Mexico City, Madrid, London, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Paris. The participants in all those cities got transformed in a real and virtual way, through a medium (the book) into another medium (the angel), by the medium of photography.
His recent exhibitions include: Espace d’Art Contemporain HEC, Paris; Assab One, Milan; University Gallery of Massachusetts, Amherst; Fondation d’Art Contemporain Salomon, Annecy; CGAC, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela; Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur.
Kamel Mennour Gallery, Paris
Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels/Paris
Riccardo Crespi Gallery, Milan
Kaufmann Repetto Gallery, Milan
Francesca Minini, Milan