National Pavilion of the Republic of Mauritius at the Venice Biennale, 56th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (first official participation)
Here the citizen does the talking about the country himself; the stranger is not asked to help. You get all sorts of information. From one citizen you gather the idea that Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius. Another one tells you that this is an exaggeration…
[Mark Twain, Following the Equator, 1897]
The first national Pavilion of the Republic of Mauritius at the Venice Art Biennial, 9th May - 22nd November 2015, is based on a dialogue between Mauritian and European artists. Mauritius is a fusion of cultures, languages and ethnicities, with its population made of Indian, African, Chinese and European descendants; the co-presence of temples, churches and mosques in every town of this island nation reveals this diversity.
Virtually uninhabited until the end of the 16th century, the island was then ruled by the Dutch, French and British, before gaining independence in 1968. The newly born state has managed to maintain close ties with their former rulers, and also to establish an economic relationship with the USSR. Since 2000 the Ibrahim Index of African Governance has consistently rated Mauritius as the best-governed African nation in terms of safety, economic development and human rights.
Curators: OfRR: Alfredo Cramerotti & Olga Jürgenson
Participants: Alix Le Juge, Bik Van Der Pol, Djuneid Dulloo, Helge Leiberg, Kavinash Thomoo, Krishna Luchoomun, Neermala Luckeenarain, Nirmal Hurry, Olga Jürgenson, Römer + Römer, Sultana Haukim, Tania Antoshina, Vitaly Pushnitsky
Alessio Antoniolli, Maria Arusoo, Pamela Auchincloss, Giorgia Mis, Dimitri Ozerkov, Georg Schöllhammer, Joanna Sokołowska, Olesya Turkina, Gabriella Uhl
Fariba Derakhshani, Cédric Rabeyrolles Destailleur, Chris Hammond, Jean-Luc Maslin, Julie Penfold, Veronika Poptsova, Alice Pedroletti, John Prime, Aleksandra Smirnova, Maria Starkova-Vindman, Robert Vallois, Nicola Wright, Eduard Piel
With the support of:
Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development
The work demands an appreciation of process as well as the need to find beauty in destruction and the destroyed. ‘...again and again’ consists of painting, photography, and video, referring to the universe as a constant play of names and forms where destruction is neither negative nor an act of personal revolt.
Tania Antoshina, Quantum Leap, 2015, Wood and upholstery fabrics, wool carpet, clock with a glass, 350 x 200 x 200 cm
We habitually tune our gaze in a certain way according to our notions. Yet, stereotypes involved in the perception of an object change in the course of history, and in this sense we can speak of a change in the object itself.
Bik Van der Pol, Little Liars (collection from Kiev, models 1-9), 2006/2007, Series of bronze casts from one-channel radios found in Kiev, Ukraine, dimensions variable (detail)
Little Liars was the (nick)name of Soviet radio receivers that would only receive a single frequency. A part of every household, these radios had to be on all day and were the only source of information, as the media was state controlled.
The artist investigated how the events following the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl implanted themselves in the private and public life of the citizens in Ukraine. The casting process caused the original radios to disappear and turn into bronze, a material that is traditionally used to cast monuments and public sculptures.
Römer + Römer, Fusionistas, 2015, Oil on canvas, 100 x 300 cm
On a former soviet military airport, not far from Berlin, the festival Fusion has taken place every summer since the middle of the 90s. The airplane hangars are transformed into stages and the party people can walk, dance, or chill on them.
Krishna Luchoomun, From Birth to Death, 2002, Installation with clothes, rope, laundry basin, 1000 cm
Clothes, as a second skin, reveal a lot about ones personality, social status, tradition, and culture. Based on the life of my mother, I use clothes as a metaphor to trace the different stages of a Hindu woman’s life path from birth through childhood, youth, and adulthood ‘til death.
Olga Jürgenson, Washing Line, Installation, 2015, Oil on canvas, 2 blank stretched canvases, pieces of melamine board, 160 x 300 cm
Olga Jürgenson’s work is a personal comment on Krishna Luchoomun’s ‘From Birth To Death’ and is based on a photograph from her archive, which she took in Venice in 2013 featuring a washing line above the flat she rented in Castello.
Vitaly Pushnitsky, Waiting, 2015, Oil on canvas, paper, wood, metal fittings, 200 x 300 x 220 cm
We are all in a state of waiting, be it for the weather, a person, or death. What is common to all is that we are here but something important has not happened yet. It is a psychological state of hope, dread, and anticipation as well as simultaneously existing in three times – past, present, and future, plus the reality of continuing time.
Djuneid Duloo, Let There Be Love, Let There Be Blood, 2013, Mixed media on canvas, 150 x 300 cm
Based upon the only surviving drawing of the artist at age thirteen, the Palace of Memories (a.k.a Let there be love...) is a painted polyglottic translation published 17 years later as a 300 minute performance to Gonzales’ Solo Piano. Compared to the original childhood drawing, the remixed adaptation is an orgy of post-creole diagram alphabets with memory fragments of fragrances.
Sultana Haukim, Home, 2011, Installation with birds' nests, wire and glue, 120 cm diameter
Symbol of warmth, protection, and love but also of fragility; birds’ nests are used to depict our fragile habitat, planet Earth. This fragility is accentuated mostly by our own actions: war, pollution, and over exploitation of natural resources.
Texts: OfRR: Alfredo Cramerotti & Olga Jürgenson (curators), artists
Photos: Alice Pedroletti, Olga Jürgenson, artists
Exhibit editing: Olga Jürgenson
Text editing: John Prime