Legarda: 58th Venice Art Biennale Takes on New Imaginaries of Place Histories with the Island as Reference

July 26, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda said she is looking forward to the Philippines’ participation in the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale as it explores the myriad ways by which the islands can be perceived and imagined: by evoking its geophysical characteristics, reflecting on our regard for it as a place of origin, refuge, and respite, or a location that may refer to nation itself.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in partnership with the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, recently held the deliberations on the submitted curatorial proposals for the Philippine Pavilion in the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia on July 20, 2018 at the NCCA in Manila where the proposal of the curator, Tessa Maria Guazon was chosen among the 12 submitted proposals.

“It seems like yesterday when we tried to fill the puzzling absence of the Philippines in the Venice Biennale after 51 years of hiatus and now, we are already preparing for our 5th participation in both the art and architecture editions since 2015,” Legarda said.

“I am confident that the 2019 exhibition curated by Tessa Maria Guazon will successfully evoke the artistry, history, and cultural heritage of the Filipino people,” Legarda added.

The 2019 Philippine Pavilion in the Venice Biennale, titled Island Weather, will feature the work of artist Mark Justiniani who is known for his immersive large-scale installations and site-specific art.

Three thematic approaches shape Island Weather: (1) Island Voyage alludes to travels and grand designs referencing light houses built during the colonial period and places that combine fantasy and myth; (2) Local Forecast: Turbulent Weather gestures towards aspects of the lighthouse to construct an experience of viewing and being seen; and (3) Piers and Ports expands the artist’s investigation of vision and its role in the construction of truth.

For the 58th International Art Exhibition (2019), the Board of La Biennale di Venezia has appointed Ralph Rugoff as the curator. Rugoff has been the Director of the Hayward Gallery of London since 2006. He was also the Artistic Director of the XIII Biennale de Lyon in 2015, and has written extensively on art and cultural criticism. He has curated exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery over the past 11 years, such as The Painting of Modern Life (2007), Psycho Buildings (2008) and the Infinite Mix (2016). He has also curated retrospectives and solo shows of Ed Ruscha, an American artist associated with the pop art movement; Tracey Emin, a British artist known for her work that is intensely personal and “confessional;” and George Condo, an American contemporary visual artist who has worked using painting, sculpture and printmaking. The theme for the 58th International Art Exhibition is May You Live in Interesting Times, a phrase invented by the English but mistakenly “cited as a Chinese curse, which invokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil.”[1]

[1] http://www.labiennale.org/en/news/biennale-arte-2019-outline