Some beautiful dreams and many nightmares

July 14, 2022
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A walk through the pavilions

Visiting the 59th Biennale forces one to remember that history is cyclical, and this unfortunately is often a sad truth. The occurrences and recurrences of history, theorized at the end of the 1600s by Giovan Battista Vico, appear in all their chilling reality when, strolling through the Giardini, one arrives in front of the closed pavilion of Russia surrounded by a cold silence. Memories immediately return to those who were in the same places a few years earlier and found themselves in front of national pavilions that, belonging to opposing factions , chose to not participate in the event. The Cold War had excluded so many states and, then as now, the walls were not meant for art and were only colored in red. The Ukrainian pavilion, called Ukrainian Square and designed by architect Dana Kosmina, is located in the Esedra space at the Giardini, and is meant to depict a war zone.

FASCINATING THE IVORY COAST PAVILION WHERE,
WE UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF DREAMS TO REACH A REALITY THAT OFTEN IS ELUSIVE

One stands in front of a monument that is totally covered with sandbags to protect the life of art and the life of the human being who is its pater: a salute to all of the artists living under the bombings today. Unfortunately, following the wave of the moment and remembering among the many wars only the Ukrainian one, the president of the Biennale Roberto Cicutto has invited the artists of this tormented nation to send works in poster mode to be shown to the public: to me it just seems like a way of wanting to be there. Fascinating is the journey into the Ivory Coast pavilion located at the Salt Warehouse. “Nel mondo del sogno” is the theme curated by Alessandro Romanini, professor of theory of perception and psychology of form, together with Massimo Scaringella, who has extensive knowledge of South American art. Their work shows how important it is to reach some realities of life that often escape us through dreaming. The culture of places where one is not yet subjugated by modernity, allows this privilege, and here one perceives through the artists’ stories, how much art is a privileged channel of it.

AT THE ESEDRA SPACE, THE UKRAINIAN PAVILION
PROPOSES A MONUMENT COVERED IN SANDBAGS

It is also worthwhile to reach the island of San Servolo to visit the pavilion of the Syrian Arab Republic. Welcoming us we can find an installation by Lorenzo Puglisi, who in a conceptual manner violently addresses the unfortunately increasingly topical theme of a crucifixion imprisoned in an iron cage. The work “Il viaggio al termine della notte” is emotion unleashed through the blackness of the surface, which thanks to the clashes of red-soaked whites becomes a violent cry against today’s increasingly homo homini lupus society. Consistent are the works of Giuseppe Amadio, who through his slashes brings attention on the pain that is present in our souls at this time. The choice to exhibit in the pavilion of a nation that has been torn apart for so many years is another act of courage wanted by the artist. Arriving at the end of the Arsenale we can find the Italian pavilion. The Curator Eugenio Viola presents the work of a single artist. To allow us to fully experience he allows a maximum of 50 people at a time and silence is mandatory to enjoy the atmosphere. Gian Maria Tosatti’s “Le Sette Stagioni Dello Spirito” is set in Naples, and by proposing an abandoned factory, wants to remind us with great sadness - I believe - of the collapse of economic prosperity, the alienation of work and life.

AN ABANDONED FACTORY AT TOSATTI'S ITALIAN PAVILION BRINGS US GREAT SADNESS

It is a journey into the rejection of the pleasure of being a protagonist of the productive machine. The whole work is steeped in references to Arte Povera (who doesn’t remember some works with lots of Singer machines?), or perhaps it is a polical curtsey to a reality in which universal basic income tells us that work should not make men proud, and who cares if you kill art as well. We are dangerously running towards too much political power and this is a demonstration of that. Only time will give us the answers.

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