Origins of Civilization, Syrian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2015

The Syrian Arab Republic Pavilion takes part to the 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia with the exhibition Origins of Civilization curated by Duccio Trombadori. Taking on this theme, the Syrian Arab Republic Pavilion, now presenting its fifth exhibition, confirms the premises that have characterized it from the very first show, and that is reiterates its support for the development of a dialogue between free aesthetic expressions that represent the changing, multifarious appearance of the contemporary.

In order to respond to this theme, the Pavilion presents the work of artists from Syria Narine Ali, Ehsan Alar, Fouad Dahdouh and Nassouh Zaghlouleh, Italy Aldo Damioli, Mauro Reggio and Andrea Zucchi, China Liu Shuishi, Spain Felipe Cardeña, Albania Helidon Xhixha, and Ukrain Svitlana Grebenyuk, focusing on a stylistic physiognomy that has matured in very different environmental and historical circumstances but able to overcome national boundaries.

The Syrian Pavilion did not focus on the conflict, Syria is a country that’s going through a difficult period, while politics and history are divisive, art is not.

One work, by Ehsan Alar, shows a suite of sculpted feet in a trail of sand; according to Mr. Trombadori, it represents the migration of people. Another set, by Nassouh Zaghlouleh, are dim black-and-white photographs of window views and courtyards with no clear signs of war. The pavilion also shows an unrelated selection of European pop-art collages and cityscapes, and, floating in the lagoon, a stainless-steel iceberg sculpture by the Italian-Albanian artist Helidon Xhixha that denounces global warming.

Exhibition: room 1
Fouad Dahdouh, Nassouh Zaghlouleh and Ehsan Alar, Narine Ali / San Servolo Island, Venice

Point of view
Ehsan Alar and Fouad Dahdouh

Fouad Dahdouh

Two women
Fouad Dahdouh

Nassouh Zaghlouleh

Ehsan Alar

Narine Ali

Exhibition: room 2
Mauro Reggio, Aldo Damioli, Andrea Zucchi, Svitlana Grebenyuk and Felipe Cardeña / San Servolo Island, Venice

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?
Svitlana Grebenyuk

Venezia New York
Aldo Damioli

Palazzo della civiltà italiana
Mauro Reggio

Andrea Zucchi

Felipe Cardeña

Exhibition in the Garden
Felipe Cardeña and Helidon Xhixha / San Servolo Island, Venice

In the blue-green waters that surround, define, and now threaten to submerge the storied city of Venice, an unlikely sight awaits visitors: an iceberg. Made of stainless steel polished to a mirrored shine, it reflects the city and its watery environment. It also reflects the handiwork and artistic inquiry of Helidon Xhixha, who made it—together with a suite of three additional installations—for the Syrian Arab Republic pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.

At anchor in Venice’s lagoon, Xhixha’s Iceberg (2015) bobs along with the motion of the currents and the wind. Such movement, together with the changing light and weather and the streaming by of boats and people, cause the iceberg’s reflective surface to shift as continuously as the world it mirrors. But while these visions delight the eye, this work also serves as a reminder and a warning. It was glacial melting, after all, that formed the patches of land in water upon which Venice was founded. And now, thanks to the rising temperatures wrought by our degradation of the environment, it is glacial melting (among other factors) that threatens to wipe the city and its artistic and historical treasures off the map.

Back on solid ground, with his three additional installations, Xhixha expands upon his themes of the forces of nature and geology, and the counterforce of humankind. Among these monumental, polished stainless steel works is Pillars of Light. Standing tall on the island of San Servolo, it is composed of seven vertical pillars of varying heights, each of which features a jagged, broken top. According to the artist, the pillars are meant to represent the world’s glaciers, as well as the origin of his iceberg. Their irregular surfaces represent the points at which hunks of ice broke off from their overall mass, becoming the free-floating forms we have come to know as icebergs. It is hard not to marvel at the majesty of these environmental processes, and at Xhixha’s elegant representation of them. Let’s just hope we don’t exacerbate these processes any more than we already have.

Garden installation (particular)
Felipe Cardeña

Pillars of light
Helidon Xhixha

Helidon Xhixha

Exhibition in Ex cinema Redentore
Liu Shuishi / Redentore, Giudecca, Venice

Metaphysics of seeing
Painting series
Liu Shuishi

Art is only art, and is not influenced by thoughts. Art works and art forms shine in the changing sea of thoughts. Art exists in the space outside thoughts When art exists in various concrete forms, I call it existential art.

Thought is self-suffcient and free; it does not need art, though it can analyze, explain and express art So ever changing thought is the best bearer of art, Art itself is self-suffcient and art has no virtue If you say, art is self-suffcient; the swirl of thouging is not needed anymore.

Art is shining from afar. Mind and thought search ceaselessly for art, and the existence of art can be best bore and materialize through expressed thoughts Art strolls in thought. Thought gives art the earth and environment, and various properties for its existence The resulting elaborated art form makes humans understand art better.

Precious words converge to gold-like language. Language is as valuable as fossils. Look, artist is starring at the bright and flashing works. Growling back to the longing shouting. The independent was threw by desires to another light. And the spirit leads them to keep silence in the gold.

All in all, thought is at most a or tool for art.

Thought is the Bearer of Art

Venice Biennale 2015
The 2015 Art Biennale closes a sort of trilogy that began with the exhibition curated by Bice Curiger in 2011, Illuminations, and continued with the Encyclopedic Palace of Massimiliano Gioni (2013). With All The World’s Futures, La Biennale continues its research on useful references for making aesthetic judgments on contemporary art, a “critical” issue after the end of the avant-garde and “non-art” art.

Through the exhibition curated by Okwui Enwezor, La Biennale returns to observe the relationship between art and the development of human, social and political reality, in the pressing of external forces and phenomena: the ways in which, that is, the tensions of the external world solicit the sensitivities, the vital and expressive energies of the artists, their desires, the motions of the soul (their inner song ).

La Biennale di Venezia was founded in 1895. Paolo Baratta has been its President since 2008, and before that from 1998 to 2001. La Biennale, who stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, organizes exhibitions, festivals and researches in all its specific sectors: Arts (1895), Architecture (1980), Cinema (1932), Dance (1999), Music (1930), and Theatre (1934). Its activities are documented at the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC) that recently has been completely renovated.

The relationship with the local community has been strengthened through Educational activities and guided visits, with the participation of a growing number of schools from the Veneto region and beyond. This spreads the creativity on the new generation (3,000 teachers and 30,000 pupils involved in 2014). These activities have been supported by the Venice Chamber of Commerce. A cooperation with Universities and research institutes making special tours and stays at the exhibitions has also been establihed. In the three years from 2012-2014, 227 universities (79 Italian and 148 international) have joined the Biennale Sessions project.

In all sectors there have been more research and production opportunities addressed to the younger generation of artists, directly in contact with renowned teachers; this has become more systematic and continuous through the international project Biennale College, now running in the Dance, Theatre, Music, and Cinema sections.