Universes in Universe  /  Biennials  /  51st Venice Biennial, 2005  /  The Experience of Art


The Experience of Art
Text of the curator María de Corral
(Press information of the Venice Biennial)

The Exhibition that will be held in the Italian Pavilion should not be understood as a self-serving discussion on the art of our times, but as a field open to distinct practices within which one can fulfill the desire to exchange experiences, ideas, thoughts, or even to provoke them. I would be pleased if the labyrinthian itinerary of art could be experienced not as a finished story but as a process defined in terms of the relationships between different subjects, forms, ideas and spaces, that would be more "similar to a center for experimentation than a stack of certainties".

In that sense I would like the exhibition to deal with intensity, not categories. I would also be pleased if it were not historical or linear, but demonstrated the relationship that exists between artists of different generations who debate and work on specific ideas about art and the life of our times, creating a nexus between approaches that are similar in intensity and obsessive quality. My idea is for an exhibition that does not simply strive for a concept or a gratifying visualization, but is rich in thought and pleasure. I seek to address the themes that trouble and concern today's society, and that artists know how to express in such a real, poetic and in many cases visionary, manner.

I am interested in ideas that appear as a mass of remains, fragments, rough drafts and attempts; in works that allow the viewer to recreate his own aesthetic experience; in artists that can regenerate our ability to imagine different ways to inhabit the world and to create emotions.

On the contrary, I do not seek an exhibition that, in terms of the numbers of participants from all countries and continents, offers a false model of universality. I have decided to work with certain authors, who have accompanied me along my lengthy artistic itinerary, and to add many other names to this list: young people who will accompany me through a similar experience.
Today's artists do not share a style, but an attempt to build personal aesthetic worlds, to establish their own formal needs, to shape a new reality for themselves, by accepting the challenge to produce an art that makes sense in the new context that has been delineated by the events of the past four years.

In the art of the past ten years it is extremely difficult to detect a dominating artistic doctrine or formal style, in blatant contrast with the constant anxiety about the effects of globalization or multiculturalism. Artists establish the meaning and usefulness of their own raison d'être and the survival of the artistic gesture in a world dominated by the media, in which reality does not appear to manifest itself beyond representation.

By entitling this exhibition The Experience of Art, I wanted to share with the visitors some of the issues that artists address in their works every day:

- nostalgia as the feeling that the past is lost forever, expressed in a metaphorical language;
- the body and its redefinition, the introduction of fragmentation, dissolution and even death;
- power, domination and violence in the everyday life of each individual;
- the socio-political critique of current events by means of irony;
- the use of images, films and narration of the past as an immense archives thanks to which one can produce multiple operations of redefinition and appropriation.

In approaching these issues implicit in the creative act, that do not belong strictly to the field of art, my intention is to show what is common in diversity, so that the viewer may admit the quality of what is unexpected and exceptional, and abandon his own reluctance at the idea of Pleasure in contemporary art.

María de Corral
February 2005


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© Text: María de Corral, Venice Biennial; website: Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art