55th Venice Biennale. The Czech and Slovak Republic Pavilion / MOUSSE CONTEMPORARY ART MAGAZINE

55th Venice Biennale. The Czech and Slovak Republic Pavilion

by mousse

June 10~2013

The Czecho-Slovak pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia opened to the professional public on 29 May 2013 with the exhibition project Still the Same Place by Petra Feriancová and Zbyněk Baladrán curated by Marek Pokorný.

As the project curator Marek Pokorný says: The project Still the Same Place is an affirmative as well as critical attempt at reflection on the cultural-historical and psychological significance of Venice, usually crowded out by the self-centred gesture of artists from national pavilions and from the presentation of art at the Biennale.

However, in the site-specific installation of the Order of Things II by Slovak artist Petra Feriancová, Venice as a starting point and theme disappears in a return to intimate history: although pigeons, shells, masks and cityscapes are universal figures with a specific information value right here in Venice, their photographs or their collections were taken for purely personal reasons (the artist and her family) and have in fact nothing in common with Venice. On the contrary, in his new film, Liberation or Alternatively, Czech artist Zbynek Baladrán conceptualises the relationship between the mental map of Venice, metaphorically materialised in Petra Feriancová’s archive, in his own critical reading of the collected material and the context of the Venice Biennale as an institution. Subjective comments of the montage of images take the viewer through distant and close, personal, social and political contexts of Venice as a contemporary art centre, without which the Biennale would not be what it is – a joyous apocalypse of meanings and values.

On the one hand, the project evaluates a long-term interest of both artists in memory and methods of its preservation, processing and construction. On the other hand, it embraces intensive reactions to the phenomenon of Venice as a specific place embodying to contemporary artists, and not just to them (in terms of individual imagination and structure of global artistic fields), a productive conflict between the past and the present, memory and intervention, personal experience and institutionalised power.


Petra Feriancova, An Order of Things II, 2013. Photos: Keizo Kioku

Petra Feriancova, According to Ruskin from An Order of Things II, 2013

Petra Feriancova, According to Ruskin from An Order of Things II, 2013

Petra Feriancova, Almost Venice from An Order of Things I