The Venice Art Biennale has come around once again. This year, for the first time, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands present a joint pavilion. The proposal selected by an international jury is Mabel Palacín: 180º, a project by this video artist that has been curated by David G. Torres.
The installation, which was inaugurated this afternoon at Magazzino del Sale No 2, is made up of a huge still photograph of a Venetian building, of which very precise details are shown on a large screen. At the same time, different visions of the same image are on display on five small screens.
The inauguration was attended by Ferran Mascarell, the Minister of Culture of the Government of Catalonia; Vicenç Villatoro, the director of the Institut Ramon Llull; David G. Torres, the curator, and the artist, Mabel Palacín. Also in attendance was Marco Baravalle, artistic director of the SaLE collective that have ceded the space at the Magazzino del Sale and with whom a joint programme has been prepared, which will be developed in the coming months.
Ferran Mascarell, the Minister of Culture of the Government of Catalonia, reminded the audience that “Catalan art has always been present at the Biennale since the end of the nineteenth century, but with the consolidation of the Catalan and Balearic Islands’ pavilion it has reached a new level. It is a solidly democratic presence, chosen by a jury through a competition, of Catalan art.” Mascarell stated that “the presence of the cultural reality of Catalonia at Venice also implies dialogue and learning, and it is positive that we can participate at events like the Biennale with the aim of configuring a type of transverse culture. We are aware that facing up to reality has to entail opening doors and entering into dialogue with our environment.” In order to do this, the minister assured listeners that “we need the art world to express the perspectives that allow us to discover new horizons and create interrelated links between the complexities of our world. We need deep and radical perspectives through art.”
The director of the IRL, Vicenç Villatoro, praised the virtues of the selection process for the project, based on a prestigious international jury. He also expressed his satisfaction at “doing what we want to, which is coming to Venice with the logic of Venice, which is aided by our collaboration with SaLE, a Venetian cultural organization that is firmly rooted in the cultural and associative life of the city and allows us to attend the Biennale hand in hand with one of the outstanding cultural actors of Venice.” Villatoro also pointed out that “this is the pavilion of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and through it we present an individual project, since it is people who create. Individual creation, however, always arises in a matrix of culture and tradition. Hence if you like this pavilion, take an interest in the cultural tradition from which it is drawn.”
For his part, the project’s curator, David G. Torres, explained how it is based on two ideas: “First of all, I have always been mindful of the 1999 Biennale, guided by Harald Szeemann, which has been a very important reference point for me. With a radically different approach to what had been done until then, Szeemann insisted on looking at art through contemporary eyes, returning to the idea of production and giving artists a voice. Secondly, there is the dialogue between history and the contemporary world and the contradictions of the Art Biennale itself, which is impure, with national pavilions and its own interests.”
Finally, the artist Mabel Palacín explained that “images today do not exist just once, they are destined to reproduce themselves and to circulate, with many traditions coinciding in this process: cinema, photography, text... 180º expresses this idea based on a single image filmed and narrated from different perspectives, explaining many stories from a single image.”
The project for Catalonia and the Balearic Islands can be seen at the Magazzino del Sale No 2 from 4th June to 30th October of this year.