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With the 2001 Edition of the Venice Biennale, we - Gerhard Haupt & Pat Binder - began to independently produce Special Features about the International Art Exhibitions of the Venice Biennale on our website Universes in Universe. Through our photos and information we intend to convey a visual impression of the artworks and exhibitions, sharing several aspects of the event with our readers in different countries, for whom our web portal is a "window to the worlds of art."
Since the early Special of 2001 only exists as static pages on our old website, we have built this startpage on universes.art to give a better access to its historical contents. In accordance with the initial focus of our project, our tour through the 49th Biennale concentrated on the participants from Africa, the Americas and Asia/Pacific. We were especially interested in who, from these parts of the world, gained access to Harald Szeemann's "Plateau of Humankind." After all, the title and the statements implicated a claim to speak for the whole humanity. As exhibition curator Szeemann had absolutely no obligation to take into account the proportional composition of humanity. But we wondered why huge regions of the world, above all Africa and the South American continent, in which there are known to be exciting artists, were so underrepresented in Szeemann's exhibition.
The choices of the artists at this 49th International Art Exhibition are not determined by any set theme; it is rather the artists themselves who rep¬resent a dimension with their works. So, after dAPERTutto, we come to a Platea dell'umanita. The term 'platea' has several meanings in Italian: a raised surface; a base and foundation; a platform. The Visual Arts Biennale as a platform of humanity. This is the idea.
In the 1950s an exhi¬bition entitled Family of Man travelled around the world. We would like to reconnect to this at the beginning of the new millennium, but the chances of all individuals constituting a family are not promising, despite the faith in globalisation and the breaking down of all kinds of walls. Each day new conflicts are born - for ethnic, religious or political reasons - which give rise to wars. Today's artists react differently to those of a decade ago: they no longer make sporadic assertions of their own identi¬ty, but appeal to what is eternal in man, on the basis of local rootedness, the only thing able to give weight to and legitimise this appeal. And the centuries-old conflict between abstraction and figuration seems to have been definitively filed away. The cognition of time and space, and of space that makes time, has become an asset of all, so much so that some committed artists have already managed to once more free themselves from the power of autonomy, to find the path towards behaviours, ways of seeing and desires that are common to humankind. This is a process that can take place gently or with turmoil; that may have an aesthetic claim or represent an unmasking. The 49th Exhibition intends offering this verifiable connotation of freedom.
A1-53167 (Aníbal López), Sunday Jack Akpan, Tiong Ang, Gustavo Artigas, Tania Bruguera, Luis González Palma, Hai Bo, Federico Herrero, Yishai Jusidman, Priscilla Monge, Ron Mueck, Ernesto Neto, Manuel Ocampo, Tatsumi Orimoto, Tracey Rose, Do-Ho Suh, Fiona Tan, Javier Téllez, Xiao Yu, Xu Zhen, The Platform of Thought
In the two-and-a-half days of press preview it was impossible to see and document all the interesting exhibitions. But we managed to publish tours through several national pavilions and parallel exhibitions. It should be noted that we have created this "Special" independently, out of passion and interest, without financial support.
Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea (Republic), Latin America, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Uruguay, Venezuela, Markers: Art & Poetry in Venice
New and extended presentation of the collateral exhibition, curated by Salah Hassan and Olu Oguibe at Palazzo Fondazione Levi. Works by: Willem Boshoff, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Godfried Donkor, Rachid Koraїchi, Berni Searle, Zineb Sedira, Yinka Shonibare.
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Compilation of information, editing, translations, photos: Universes in Universe, unless otherwise indicated