Mexico at the Venice Biennale 2015
Tania Candiani and Luis Felipe Ortega
9 May – 22 November 2015
Curator: Karla Jasso
The curatorial concept juxtaposes Mexico and Venice as “amphibious cities.” While one embraces the sea (“si sposa con il mare”), the other is dried out and its lakes are exhausted under the imprint of colonial sovereignty.
“The project arose from a clear idea: to recover the value of the trace and the cartographic line to create the possibility of shifting and juxtaposing specific realities resulting from the exercise of sovereign power —city of canals, city of drains”. (Karla Jasso)
Across Venice’s alleyways and canals, a trace was drawn connecting the places that have hosted the Mexican pavilion during the twenty first century. The path through sites of noble, merchant, religious and military power reveals the relation between architecture, aquatic space and the history of the West.
Possessing Nature consists of a single, site-specific installation, conceptualized collaboratively by artists Tania Candiani and Luis Felipe Ortega: “a single work signed by two”. Tania Candiani’s aesthetic research regards narrative, language and the phonic power of voice. Luis Felipe Ortega, working with moving image and the reflection of time within it, initiates an intensive search towards the language of matter, the meaning of “journey,” the sculptural condition of emptiness and the tension of the space.
The artists’ piece for the pavilion is a (counter)infrastructure work, a hydraulic system that seeks to point out the unpredictability of a natural disequilibrium circumstance and the different responses to it. In a globalized world and its consensus politics, technology arrogantly aspires to dominate the natural force, only to realize that it soon becomes a vicious and flawed mechanism. In its artistic potency, the pavilion denounces the perversity of colonial sovereignty -still manifest, marking its vital presence in the current governments. Let’s possess nature! proclaim those in power just as the collector in the complex rhetoric of globalization of art, nature and politics.
A recitative sound action in the canals will take place during opening week (May 6-10). It emphasizes the way in which water ‘carries the voice’ making use of the resonant nature of Venetian architecture and the canals’ acoustic.
Tania Candiani (b. 1974, Mexico City) is interested in strategies and practices of translation between linguistic, visual and phonic systems where there is a continuous yearning for the obsolete that conveys the discursive content of artifacts. She regularly integrates interdisciplinary collaborations in her work to obtain poetic intersections of language, the materiality of sound and the history of science. Selected exhibitions include Five Variations of Phonic Circumstances and a Pause, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2012) & KIBLA Festival, Slovenia (2014); Serendipia, Artium, Centro Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporáneo, Vitoria-Gasteiz (2013); Prix Ars Electronica Distinction Award for Hybrid Arts (2013); XI Bienal de Cuenca, Museo de Arte Moderno (2011); Espectrografías. Memorias e Historia, MUAC Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2010); XI Cairo Bienial, Palace of Arts (2008). Candiani is a Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient (2011). www.taniacandiani.com
Luis Felipe Ortega (b. 1966, Mexico City) graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the National Autonomous University, UNAM. From his early work he has traversed reflections and speculations concerning time, space and silence in continuous reference to philosophy and literature. He has ventured into various languages and media (video, actions, sculpture and drawing) as resources to approach the present. Selected exhibitions include (notes for the inclusion of silence), Marso Gallery, Mexico City (2013); God Only Knows Who the Audience Is: Performance, Video and Television Through the Lens of La Mamelle, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2011); So It Is, Now Is Now, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2010); IP Détorunement. Les rendezvous du Forum, Series Voir/Revoir: 2, Centre d’Art Pompidou, Paris (2010); 4th Prague Biennial, Karlin Salon, Thamova (2009) and La era de la discrepancia, MALBA, Buenos Aires/Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2008) www.luisfelipeortega.com
Karla Jasso (b. 1976, Guadalajara, Jalisco) holds a PhD in Art History from the Faculty of Philosophy at the National Autonomous University, UNAM. For over 15 years her work has explored the history of technology, the language of new media and art. She has taught contemporary art at Universidad Iberoamericana and was chief curator at Laboratorio Arte Alameda INBA. She currently conducts research on the archeology of science and globalization in Latin America.
Image: Luis Felipe Ortega, Karla Jasso and Tania Candiani. Photo by Daniel Betanzos/Excélsior