Critical landscapes: Uruguayan participation at the 53rd Venice Art Biennale


photo: Tali Kimelman (detail)

The official Uruguayan representation at the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia will feature

Juan Burgos – Raquel Bessio – Pablo Uribe


From June 7th to November 22nd 2009

At the Uruguayan pavilion in the Giardini della Biennale

VERNISSAGE:  June 5th_ 5 PM

“The works of art Uruguay has sent to the 53rd Venice Biennial are the latest in a long, rich history of Biennial participation. Although there may have been an earlier one1, the first documented participation took place in 1954, for the 27th Venice Biennial, and included the painter José Cúneo and the sculptor Severino Pose.

Although Uruguay usually sent the work of a single artist, on some occasions—such as in 1960 and in 1964—several artists were chosen to represent the country. Beyond any aesthetic or political-aesthetic considerations which may have endorsed the works of art representing Uruguay in the past, the works sent to this year’s Venice Biennial are an attempt to show the diversity of contemporary art as it is manifested in this country of less than four million inhabitants, in a context in which the dynamics of the globalisation process are interwoven with strong processes of localisation. These are not examples which fully encompass the multiple and heterogeneous quality of Uruguayan art, but constitute, rather, a proposal which gives a specific account of the dialogue which takes place between local and global features within a society located on the geographical—if not artistic or symbolic—periphery of the contemporary world.”

Professor Hugo Achugar

National Director of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Uruguay

The curatorial script for this new contribution to the 53rd Venice Biennale seeks to reflect the significant dimensions of contemporary visual arts in Uruguay. To offer a prismatic view of its inherent variety, laying down lines which involve both manual crafting and the employment of technological resources, narratives which are situated on the boundaries between issues of identity and locality, as well as including global aspects. Thus, it has been planned that not only will the internal areas of the Uruguayan Pavilion be put to use, but also the external areas; specifically, the flight of steps which provides access to the pavilion itself. At the same time, visual productions committed to the aesthetics of risk have particularly been taken into consideration.

In accordance with these criteria, the curatorial team composed by the Commissioner, Ms Patricia Bentancur, and Mr Alfredo Torres, has proposed that the artists Raquel Bessio, Juan Burgos and Pablo Uribe should develop a project in order to put this course of action into practice. The team considers that, in view of the artists’ backgrounds, they are capable of rigorously interpreting these guidelines to a high standard of quality.

Raquel Bessio is noted for her strict adherence to research and the processing of projects. Her work refers to the mythical values of the country and the region. The so-called “promised land” is suggested as a splintered terrain, grey and darkly metallic. The enclosed spaces eat away at certainties and resolutions, a process which the very pieces of her works, as they rust, will undergo. In the process, they achieve autonomy and become unmanageable.
Raquel Bessio - Photo:Luis Alonso

Raquel Bessio - Photo:Luis Alonso

Juan Burgos expands urban apocalyptic visions which proliferate in daily life. His starting point is a children’s storybook, from which he constructs a delirious collage. Anything is possible in his productions. With amazing dexterity he cuts, pastes, digitally photocopies and photocopies again, the result of which he fits into a fascinating stage design. Within these metaphors, there are, mingled with a large cast of characters, iconic elements of national images.
Juan Burgos

Juan Burgos - Photo: Luis Alonso

Pablo Uribe has produced a false documentary. In so doing, he reflects upon the play between reality and fiction, on representations within representations. A man in a white shirt imitates the diurnal sounds of indigenous animals. On another screen, in a light blue shirt and in an identical pose, he emits the nocturnal sounds of other animals. The binary conflict of distinct opposites is thus conceived in this polyphony of sound and sight.
Pablo Uribe

Pablo Uribe

SITE IN SPANISH: Envío uruguayo a la 53ª Bienal de Venecia


1 Comment »

  1. The exhibition present an extraordinary combination of artworks, showing a wide range of individual approaches regarding the topics Time, Space, Existence. Artworks that make a sincere strong statement within each given space and at the same time help to create a complex exhibition as a total. Each room should provide the spectator with an inside about each presented artwork, project or idea from the artist point of view.

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