The sixth and final installment of the 59th Venice Biennale

The sixth and final installment is dedicated to Africa and America with reference to the national pavilions of Uganda, Brazil and the United States at the 59th Venice Biennale. Article in Neo2 #180, now available on newsstands.

This is the last, but not the least important, installment of essays at the 59th Venice Biennale. The Ugandan Pavilion was given a special mention by the jury. For her part, Simone Lee, who represents the United States of America, deservedly won the Best Female Artist award dream milk. And the Brazilian wing is present in this chapter, because it literally enters through one ear and exits through the other, as attested by the azan, which act as doors for entry and exit.

By following these links, you can read the first chapter of the series, here are the second, third, fourth and fifth of the series 59th Venice Biennale.

Cover photo: US Pavilion, Simon Lee: Sovereignty. picture: Marco Cappelletti.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African Americauganda wing, Glittering: dreaming over time. View installation. Photo: Andrea Avezo

The sovereignty in the United States of America

USA, in 59th Venice Biennale, gets on the bandwagon of current problems. Racism, masculinity or colonial heritage is also addressed in the award-winning Brexit England. An American committee washes its face “post-Trump” and also exposes a black woman. Simone Lee is the first black woman to represent the United States. However, Lee is one of those women who received late recognition in this Biennale. The American pavilion artist lends her a feminine touch and a post-colonial and post-slavery tone with the image of black and white women.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African AmericaUnited States Pavilion, Simon Lee: Sovereignty. picture: Marco Cappelletti.

Under the title dominion / dominion he isThe artist is distinguished by his ambition, his productive values ​​and his high commitment to works designed in ceramic and bronze and expressed in black and white, like the ethnicity of his characters. Fragile white woman with round skirt, made of porcelain, friable and easy to break. For its part, the black slave is made of bronze, strong and resistant, like the stormy history of blacks in North America. The black figure leans over a puddle doing laundry.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African AmericaUnited States Pavilion, Simon Lee: Sovereignty. picture: Marco Cappelletti.

Shapes of baga guinea masks mixed with Lee pieces. but also from the culture of early black Americans in South Carolina, and even the motifs from Egyptian funerary sculpture.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African AmericaUnited States Pavilion, Simon Lee: Sovereignty. picture: Marco Cappelletti.

Outside, a massive female figure with a concave disc of a head rises above the courtyard in front of the building. This statue, more than seven meters high, is made of black bronze. Strangeness and colonialism, because in addition, Leigh covered the entire American pavilion in a neoclassical style with a thatched roof. Simulation of traditional West African buildings displayed in the pavilions of the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African AmericaUnited States Pavilion, Simon Lee: Sovereignty. picture: Marco Cappelletti.

In Brazil it goes in one ear and out the other.

At the Brazilian Pavilion for the 59th Venice Biennale, artist Jonatas de Andrade based his work on his deep interest in popular culture. The installation gathers and unites through a catalog of idiomatic expressions and proverbs that include metaphors for the human body, along with a series of works that capture the extraordinary poetic charge of these proverbs, making them concrete.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African Americabrazilian wing, And my heart comes out of my mouth. View installation. Photo: Andrea Avezo

Which is that the title itself is a common saying: And my heart comes out of my mouth (equivalent to “I came with the heart that came out of my mouth”).

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African Americabrazilian wing, And my heart comes out of my mouth. View installation. Photo: Andrea Avezo

Two large ears positioned at the entrance and exit of the pavilion refer to the common expression “one ear goes in and the other goes out,” allowing visitors to “enter by one ear and exit the other.” Passing in either ear and once inside, a video clip interspersed with close-ups of people’s hands and feet is shown rhythmically with footage of the current social unrest in Brazil under Bolsonaro’s mandate.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African Americabrazilian wing, And my heart comes out of my mouth. View installation. Photo: Andrea Avezo

Together, the works are an indicator of the sensations experienced by an imaginary Brazilian body. The sensations are translated into simple and fun expressions, yet they capture and convey the historical moment in which we live in all its complexity.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African Americabrazilian wing, And my heart comes out of my mouth. View installation. Photo: Andrea Avezo

Uganda Shines Art at the 59th Venice Biennale

The Ugandan Pavilion, participating for the first time in the Venice Biennale, was honored in recognition of his vision, ambition and commitment to art and work in his country. the sample Glittering: dreaming over time It is the result of multiple processes. These include online talks or field trips to centers of excellence in Uganda where technical practices are developed.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America

The two-year pregnancy allowed artists Akai Kirunen and Colin Sekagogo to reflect on, revise and re-evaluate their ideas. Thus creating a series of paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations rooted in Contemporary Africa.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America 59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America

Uganda, particularly its capital Kampala and its second city Jinja, presented a fast-paced economy in which culture took root. This is why Uganda, but above all these cities, support, contextualize and contextualize contemporary African artistic production in terms of design, crafts, script work, exhibition creation and organization, theater or film representation, and performance.

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America

59th Venice Biennale, 6th: Africa and African America

All Ugandan Pavilion pictures, Glittering: dreaming over time by Andrea Avizor


All images of the 59th Venice Biennale are courtesy of Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale of Artsuntil November 27.

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