Catalonia will be participating once again in the 2015 Venice Biennale, also known as the 56th International Art Exhibition, as part of the Eventi collaterali, by presenting a project curated by Chus Martínez entitled “Singularity”. Martínez, a leading figure in the international art world with an impressive career behind her, is proposing a large audiovisual installation by the Catalan artist Albert Serra. As discussed at the press conference today, this audio-visual work is divided into episodes and seeks to mediate between the 20th and the 21st centuries.
In the words of the curator, “the intention of this work is to create a large visual set of circumstances that is at the same time an essay and a series of suggested ‘facts’, that brings together images of our time and which, moving on from there, envisages the way they can be overcome formally and creates others that have never been seen before”.
The choice of artist was, in her view, obvious: “Only the ‘narrative’ complexity of the work by an artist such as Albert Serra is able to achieve this goal. He has succeeded in adding to the classic images of the cinematic form the conceptual and theoretical density that one would expect of a self-aware artist who is at the same time an astute analyst of his medium (one only has to look at his remarkable reviews of dOCUMENTA in Kassel for the ‘Cultura/s’ supplement to La Vanguardia newspaper), but who never loses his innocence and sense of irony (the actors!), and who has managed to keep alive the tension between the more abstract and philosophical element (aided by his masterly use of the word, which we are all familiar with thanks to his cryptic plays for the Teatre Lliure, also to be found in his most recent work of fiction, Història de la meva mort) and the poetics of the most performative, primitive and gratuitous gesture.”
Martínez believes these are exceptional times for the image, a key element of her proposal: “We are witnessing the revival of the image, of the singular, independent image that occupies a space but also a time, a time that it is looking to share and so, to this end, offers itself up, alone and seductive.”
Chus Martínez’s proposal was selected by a jury chaired by Marta Gili, Director of Jeu de Paume, the other members of which were Bartomeu Marí, Director of the MACBA; Joan Minguet, President of the Associació Catalana de Crítics d’Art (ACCA); Xavier Antich, President of the Board of Trustees of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies; Martina Millà, Head of Programming and Projects at the Fundació Miró; Llucià Homs, Director of Cultural Sector Promotion at the Institut de Cultura de Barcelona; and Damià Martínez, Head of the Creation Division at the IRL.
Chus Martínez (La Coruña, 1972) is currently Head of the Art Institute of the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) in Basel, Switzerland. She holds a BA in Philosophy and History of Art, awarded by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and has also done a master’s degree in curatorial studies at Bard College in New York. During her career, she has been Artistic Director at the Sala Rekalde in Bilbao (2002-2005), Director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005-2008) and Chief Curator at the MACBA (2008-2011). More recently, she has worked at the Museo del Barrio in New York and was a member of the curatorial team for dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany.
In 2005, Martínez curated the National Pavilion of Cyprus for the 51st Venice Biennale, presenting a project by Panayiotis Michael and Konstantia Sofokleous. She was also a member of the advisory team for the Carnegie International exhibition in 2008 and participated as a guest curator in the 29th São Paulo Biennial in 2010. In addition, she has organised exhibitions around the world, has spoken at numerous seminars and conferences and has served as a member of juries for prestigious events. She publishes regularly in art journals.
Albert Serra (Banyoles, 1975) is a film director and producer. His first film, Crespià, the film not the village (2003), was not screened commercially. He later presented Honor de cavalleria (winner of the 2006 Barcelona Film Prize for Best New Director and for Best Film in Catalan) and El cant dels ocells (for which he won the 2009 Gaudí Prize for Best Film).
In 2009, he was chosen as the avant-garde cinema icon of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2012, he was one of the artists selected to participate in dOCUMENTA in Kassel, where he screened his film Els tres porquets. The following year, he became the first Catalan director to win the Golden Leopard prize for best film for Història de la meva mort (2013) at the Locarno Film Festival.
He has recently been invited to show work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2013) and Bozar in Brussels (2014), where he was given carte blanche.
The jury has selected Martínez’s project “Singularity”
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