The Institut Ramon Llull named an expert committee to choose the winning proposal. Hiuwai Chu (MACBA) was the president, and Mabel Palacín (artist), Anna Pahissa, (Hangar) and Carles Guerra were judges.
The selection process was divided into two phases. The first round was open to all interested professionals and companies who met the requirements. From these proposals, the expert committee chose three finalists to participate in the second round.
In the second round, the 3 finalists presented an explanation of the contents of their project, a design proposal for its presentation and a budget.
The finalists were invited to present their proposal in person in front of the expert committee on 20th July 2021 at the head office of the Institut Ramon Llull.
The winning proposal
Llim (Silt) places water and glass in the forefront, as elements inherent to the history of Venice, to create an organism indicative of a plethora of concepts.
Llim is an organism that demonstrates the material flux in its continuum, its vitality, as well as its fragility. A continuous vessel, as described by philosopher Henry Bergon as an élan vital: an infinite sequence of transitions in which matter permanently changes state.
The project Llim offers a situated experience of viscosity as an expression of élan vital. As a viscous organism, Llim comes to life by clinging to the human and non-human elements that coexist in its environment. As a situated experience, it has the notion of situated knowledges as a starting point, as presented by Donna Haraway at the turn of the century (1995). It will, therefore, attempt to offer an experience that is real in that it is intimately linked to the collection of related phenomena and technology in a determined location. Llim is a Klein Bottle which expands in space and time, and which brings together the cultural sediments and materials which make up viscosity as found in Venice.
The water, the silt, the canal: A pump system installed on the bank of the San Pietro Canal draws up water to continuously feed the building of the Catalan exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia with matter from the canal bed. Inside, the circulation of the water clears up the extracted mud. After a few minutes, the water returns the Venice water network.
In parallel to the water, other tubular systems are also found in the building –in a closed circuit of much shorter length– transporting other liquids, such as milk and petrol.
The glass allows the large closed circuit, which forms the organism, to take shape through its whole length: it is the continuum that links the air circulating through the glass with the water that circulates through the tubes spread out in the form of a canal in Venice.
Oriol Fontdevila (Manresa, 1978) is a curator, writer and researcher focused on artistic practices and education. A doctoral candidate in Humanities and Communication at UOC, he has curated projects at many modern art centres and museums, such as Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Arts La Virreina, Centre d’Arts Santa Mònica, Centre de Cultura Contemporània El Carme de València and Vojvodina Contemporary Art Museum in Novi Sad, Serbia. He was on the team of curators for the European project Performing the Museum; and artistic director of Sala d’Art Jove, an initiative of the Catalan Government. His essay El arte de la mediación (The art of meditation) was published in 2018 by consonni, written thanks to a grant from MNCARS. He has collaborated on many books and modern art catalogues. He is a visiting professor at several Masters programmes. He is currently an assistant professor at EINA.
Photo: Eva Carasol (Courtesy by Fabra i Coats)
Lara Fluxà (Palma, 1985) usually works with elements with their own poetic qualities that are close to us, like water or glass. A Fine Arts graduate with a Masters degree in Artistic Productions and Research from the University of Barcelona, she has specialised in working with glass through different glass-blowing courses in Segovia, Barcelona and La Bisbal. The physical qualities of water and glass have led her to be interested in concepts such as fragility, stability and also scientific experimentation. Her works question the weakness of the balance of ecosystems.
She has collaborated with institutions such as Lo Pati, Fundació Joan Miró, Fundació Felícia Fuster, Capella de la Misericòrdia, Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani Es Baluard, Casal Solleric de Palma, Museu Marítim de Barcelona and Arts Santa Mònica, among others.
Biennale Arte 2022: The Milk of Dreams
This will be the seventh time the Institut Ramon Llull represents Catalonia at the Venice Biennale Arte, which will take place from 23rd April until 27th November 2022 and will have Cecilia Alemani as commissioner. In the previous edition, the Institut Ramon Llull presented the project ‘To Lose Your Head’, commissioned by Pedro Azara.
The 59th International Art Exhibition will be entitled The Milk of Dreams. This name is taken from a book by Leonora Carrington, in which, as said by Cecilia Alemani:
“The surrealist artist describes a magical world where live is constantly reconsidered through the prism of imagination and where everyone can change, transform, become something or someone else. The exhibition brings us along an imaginary journey through metamorphosis of the body and the definitions of humanity”.
In the 1950s, while living in Mexico, Carrington dreamt and illustrated mysterious tales, first directly to the walls of her house, and later in a small notebook called The Milk of Dreams. Told in a dream-like style which seemed to ground both young and old, Carrington's stories describe a free world, full of possibilities. But they are also allegorical regarding a century which imposed unbearable pressure on this individual, which meant Carrington had to live a life in exile, shut away in psychiatric institutions.
According to Alemani, this exposition is based on many conversations held with artists over the past few months. The questions which appeared appear to capture this moment in history, in which the very survival of our species is threatened, but they also summarise doubts which plague the science, the arts and the myths of our time. How does the definition of being human change? What is life made up of and what differentiates animals, plants, humans and non-humans? What are our responsibilities to the planet, other people and other organisms we live alongside? What would life and the Earth be like without us?
The exhibition will focus on three themes in particular: the representation of bodies and their metamorphosis; the relationship between individuals and technology; and the connection between bodies and the Earth. Cecilia Alemani's proposal looks to focus on metamorphoses of the body and the definition of humanity in a moment of revising the concept of being human and of our responsibility to the planet, other species and our species. Post-humanity or new alliances between species, the borders between bodies and objects transform under the pressure of technology, generating mutations which create new points of view, hierarchies and anatomies. Technology, the pandemic, the rise in social tensions and the climate crisis remind us that the human body is not self-sufficient, that human beings form part of a symbiotic network of interdependencies which unite us with one another, with other species and with the planet as a whole.