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Xul Solar at the Venice Biennale 2013

Works of the Argentine painter and visionary (1887 - 1963) were part of the Central exhibition of the Venice Biennale 2013.
May 2013

Massimiliano Gioni, curator of the 55th. Venice biennial, has invited Xul Solar to take part in the curatorial script he has proposed. The theme refers to the project the Italian/American artist Marino Auriti proposed which consisted in an imaginary museum which included all possible knowledge; a collection of the greatest discoveries of humanity from the invention of the wheel to satellites. Xul takes part in this biennial with his probably least characteristic yet very special works that enrich universal knowledge and fit in with the curator's proposal.

The works selected by the curator are exhibited in the Stirling Pavilion, in the centre of the Biennial gardens and include:

A collection of folders with cuttings which were assembled around 1940, where Xul pastes news cuttings of particular interest to him taken from newspapers and magazines.

Death puppet, a character from "theatre of life" where marionettes represent characters from the zodiac and their performances invoke destiny.

Several star charts, studies performed on important personalities of Argentine and world history.

His Pan Game (Panjogo) or Pan-chess, a universal game he develops around 1930 is also present. It is based on astrology and is a synthesis of his knowledge system. It is possible to form words, create musical harmonies, and, as Xul used to say, lay down mathematical problems. It consists in a board formed by twelve by thirteen boxes displayed as check boards and chessmen or mobile pieces. Each player begins the game with thirty pieces which are allowed to superimpose, and there is a particular piece dominated by chance that changes hands according to current bet.

In addition to this Pan chess game there are 150 Pan language cards, a game which enables you to form words in a Universal monosyllabic language, with no grammar, based on a numerical and astrological system combined at ones will, destined to unify American, European and Asian languages.

Massimiliano Giori, the curator, points out that Auriti's project remained unfinished, but the dream of global and universal knowledge through art history and history of humanity lives on through characters like Aurity and other artists, writers, scientists and visionaries who tried, many a time, to construct an image of the world that synthesizes an infinite variety and richness. These personal cosmologies, these delusions of knowledge try to enact the constant challenge of reconciling ones "id" to the universe, subjective to the collective, particular to general and the individual to his culture. Today, while we are confronted by constant flow of information, these attempts to organize knowledge in all inclusive systems seems even more necessary and desperate.

Brief summary of Xul Solar's biography

"Painter, writer and just a few other things. Duodecimal and catrolic ( ca: cabalistic, tro: astrologer, li: liberal, c: cooperative ). Recreator- not inventor- and world champion of panchess and other serious games no one ever plays; father of "panlanguage" which yearns for perfection yet no one speaks, and godfather to another common language with nothing common about it; author of "grafias plastiutiles" almost no one reads; exegete of twelve religions and philosophys almost no one listens to and this, that may seem a negative aspect becomes ( werde ) positive through one adverb: yet and almost: growing."

Alejandro Xul Solar. "Autómatas en la historia chica". Mirador. Panorama de la Civilización Industrial. Buenos Aires, n. 2, June 1957, p. 37.

Xul Solar, pseudonym of Oscar Agustin Alejandro Schulz Solari, born in San Fernando in 1887, died in Tigre in 1963. In 1912 he leaves for Europe where he remains until 1924. During his European years he comes into close contact with the avant-garde artistic, literal and philosophical movements becomes a master in non- traditional knowledge and esoteric learning. He comes into contact with the European avant-garde movements and shares the expressionist’s ascetics. Letters written during this period show his involvement in the theosophical, antroposophycal movement, by the hand of Aleister Crowley,the British "mage". His interest for the occult or obscure is made evident by the books he acquires that are related to the subject.. He travels and settles in London, Turin, Paris, Munich, Kelheim, Stuttgart, Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence and Zoagli. In 1924 he returns to Buenos Aires in company of Emilio Pettoruti, and the reason for his return was the shipping of academic art work to the Venice Biennial in 1922, far from the avant-garde movements. Xul writes, "we shall cause a great impact" which implied the introduction of avant-garde art to Argentina. His return to Argentina in 1924 was due to his longing for a return to his roots, an American project.
He is surprised by a very different Argentina, where intellectuals are trying to renew their culture. He joins the Martin Fierro group, an avant-garde publication, where he meets Jorge Luis Borges with whom he starts a lifelong friendship based on mutual admiration. Borges invites him to join in the publication of "revista multicolor de los sabados" Critica newspaper and "Destiempo" both of which he is director. They were intellectual soul mates, which was clear in their preference for writers such as Meyrink, Sweedenborg, Schopenhauer and their choice of subjects such as cabala, astrology, philosophy and so much more.

His paintings are characterized by the use of subtle shades, bright colours and delicate transparencies which greatly enrich his art work.

Recreations and inventions
During his life, Xul develops extensive imaginative and creative work which includes his art work. In linguistics he creates two new languages; neocreole and panlanguage, he introduces changes within the musical scope reforming notation and making structural changes on the piano, astrology and designs changes in human anatomy, in aide of perfection of the human body. In theatre he used human sized puppets that represented theatre of life. In the area of game science he recreates traditional tarot introducing one or more arcana, he creates a deck of cards for panlanguage, destined to create new words, he modifies chess, which he calls panchess or panjogo or star chess, a synthesis of all his creations. He also proposes very particular changes in football and as he nears the end of his life, he organizes his "grafias plastiutiles", a new set of works to "be read".

(Information: Fundación Pan Klub - Museo Xul Solar.
Translation: Victoria Cressall)

Works by Xul Solar
exhibited at:

"The Encyclopedic Palace"
Central exhibition of the
55th Venice Biennale

1 June - 24 November 2013

Artistic director: Massimiliano Gioni

Bookshop Pavilion Stirling - Giardini


Museo Xul Solar

Fundación Pan Klub

Laprida 1212
C1425EKF Buenos Aires

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Museum in the former house of the artist (1887-1963), designed as a re-interpretation of his original pictorial space.
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Il Palazzo Enciclopedico. Central exhibition of the 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2013. Artistic director: Massimiliano Gioni. Padiglione Centrale, Giardini, and Arsenale.

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