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Venezuela’s Proof Of Creative Strength At The Venice Biennale
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Venezuela’s Proof Of Creative Strength At The Venice Biennale

Picture of Danai Molocha
Updated: 27 January 2016
Venezuela makes a group effort to highlight its burgeoning urban creative scene in the 55th Venice Biennale. The country’s National Pavilion is inundated by the subversive works of the Venezuelan Urban Artists Collective, curated by the renowned local artist and poet, Juan Calzadilla.
Venezuela Pavilion Venice Biennale

The Venezuelan Urban Artists Collective takes over Venezuela’s National Pavilion this June in the Giardini branch of the 2013 Venice Biennale, contrasting the surrounding greens with bold urban art statements. Choosing ‘El Arte Ubrano. Una estetica de la Subversion’ (‘Urban Art. The Aesthetics of Subversion’) as its main theme, it aims to imbue the 55th biennial with rebellious spirit. This year’s curator, Juan Calzadilla (Venezuela, b. 1931), is a respected and multi-faceted poet, painter and art critic that has been subverting the local art and literary scene since the 1960s; he is currently also acting as director of the Galería de Arte Nacional in Caracas.

Venezuela Pavilion 2013, short video.

Representing Artists

Apart from the Pavilion curator, no individual names of participating artists have yet been released leading up to the opening of the Venice Biennale. In the wake of Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian and ‘Socialism of the 21st Century’ politics, art collectives in Venezuela, in all their varied expressions and forms, have found fertile ground to multiply and evolve. Under his presidency, museums and public spaces have started to favour group exhibitions and performances over the showcasing of individual artists. The collective spirit itself, instead of one of several themes, often becomes an exhibition’s focal point. Collectives with a shorter or longer life-span have seen an unprecedented rise in recent years, potentially overshadowing individual artists in the process, but also triggering social participation and imagination.

Juan Calzadilla

The history of Venezuelan art collectives, either way, can be traced back to the 1950s (Calzadilla’s El Techo de la Ballena, for example). Given the history of collective art collaboration in Venezuela, one can assume that this year’s choice is adequately telling of the country’s spirit and recent history, revealing the ways in which Venezuelan artists have adapted to the historical and political climate by amalgamating both cherished traditions and new ideas.

Venezuela team

Artist: Collettivo di Artisti Urbani Venezuelani

Commissioner: Edgar Ernesto González.

Curator: Juan Calzadilla.

Venue: Pavilion at Giardini

About The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Project

The 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from 1 June – 24 November. The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Series is an article series leading up to the start of the exhibition. With 88 countries participating in this year’s Biennale — 10 of them for the first time — and 150 artists from 37 countries, our coverage over the next couple of months will highlight a selection of the National Pavilions that will be participating in the 2013 edition of the Venice Biennale. Watch the Biennale page on our site or The Culture Trip’s Facebook page for our daily Biennale articles and updates.

By Danai Molocha

Images courtesy: 1: LeonL/Flickr, 2: Guillermo Colmenares/Wiki Commons.