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Marco Paolini at the Biennale Arte

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Friday 4 October, 11 am at the Giardino delle Vergini, Arsenale
09 | 26 | 2013

Conversations with tales: FÉN – work piece in iron, wood, hay and words

On Friday 4 October, the eleventh Meeting on Art will be held, organized by la Biennale di Venezia and part of a series scheduled throughout the opening period of 55th International Art Exhibition with performances, lectures and debates. Marco Paolini, one of the artists invited by Massimiliano Gioni at the 55th Exhibition, will talk at 11 am in the Álvaro Siza space at the Giardino delle Vergini in the Arsenale. The meeting is part of a series of appointments called FÉN (hay), that runs until 4 October.
FÉN is an installation, a world map composed of hand tools and hay, near which Paolini tells stories and thoughts dedicated to men of learning and men of toil, dedicated to tools, to manual labour at the time of digital culture. These stories lined up will form a primer: Paolini will tell some stories personally, on other days a recorded version will be offered to visitors. The public is asked to contribute to the construction of the work by bringing a small bundle of hay tied with a string and with a tag indicating the place of origin, which will be placed on the world map.
The 55th International Art Exhibition, titled Il Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedic Palace) is open to the public at the Arsenale and Giardini (from Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 6 pm). The Exhibition includes over 150 artists from 38 countries, 88 National Participations and 47 Collateral Events in the city of Venice.
FÉN - a work made of iron, wood, hay and words

Friday 7 June 2013, 4 am
Tuesday 18 June 2013, 4 am
Saturday 29 June 2013, 11 am
Sunday 7 July 2013, 11 am
Thursday 18 July 2013, 11 am
Tuesday 30 July 2013, 11 am
Tuesday 6 August 2013, 11 am
Sunday 18 August 2013, 11 am
Thursday 29 August 2013, 11 am
Saturday 7 September 2013, 11 am
Friday 4 October 2013, 11 am

“Telling the artifice, reshaping with words the signs that changed the landscape, reconstructing the transitions of human and anthropic layers.
The shift to a digital world easily replaces all that was analog. Working becomes a question of nerves more than muscles; however the human fatigue of dipping into things to repair them, to maintain them, to restore them from the damages of time cannot be fully replaced by the smart machines. You need an eye for this, care and respect. All this cannot be learned from the future rather from the transmission of experience.
Telling stories is a work based on experience; oral dexterity is about as close as to manual dexterity. When it seems to be fading, defeated by the mass-media communication, it rises again as a work of art in the theatre and its strength surprises and moves us.
I believe that the manual work contains elements of nobleness that transcend its economic and productive value. There is wisdom in the gestures and in the economy of gestures that are a heritage not to be lost in the transition between generations.
I started from “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman and I have figured out a haystack with a pole in the middle, in front of which I will tell stories dedicated to the second law of thermodynamics.
These are stories of inventions, utensils, small businesses, men of science and men of hard labour.
Every story is made up of words to be sorted out and put in a line to give it a shape like the one of a haystack.
So the stories lined will form a spelling book: in the days when I will be attending the exhibition I will tell you some, on other days there will be a recorded presentation for visitors. Little by little, all of these stories will become the spelling book.
During the months of the Exhibition, which coincides with the period of  haymaking, I will inaugurate new destinations, new haystacks built by people who never made them before, and who had to get the help of those who still remember how to make them. These piles of hay, standing, are a commitment to take care of a landscape, a visible maintenance sign and perhaps the opportunity to meet.
In Venice the destination will take a different shape, it will be a globe, a map of the world made of grass, held together by tools.
I would like that visitors knew that they can carry a tuft of grass from home, tied by a string where they write their country of origin and introduce it into the haystack. It would really be a world map.
I would like to dedicate it to an old and noble farmer, his name was Alcide Cervi, born in 1875, he had seven sons to whom in order to teach that the land parcel  they were ploughing was only a portion of the whole, and that we belong to that whole, had fixed a small tin globe on the radiator cap of his tractor.
In that gesture there is the meaning of everything that I want to tell, around the second law of the thermodynamics and the need to oppose the degradation by turning maintenance into a form of resistance.”                                           
Marco Paolini

Marco Paolini
is a stage actor, author and theatre director. From the Seventies to 1994 he has been part of several theatre groups. It is in one of them, the Teatro Settimo of Torino, that he began to tell stories: the “Album” was created in those years, the first episodes of a long collective biography that crosses the history of Italy from the Sixties to the present day.  
Best known to the general public for his Il racconto del Vajont (The Vajont Tale),he stands out as author and interpreter of impactful, civil narrations (I-TIGI racconto per Ustica, Parlamento chimico, Il Sergente, Bhopal 2 dicembre ’84, U 238, Miserabili) and for his ability to tell the changes that affect society through dialects and poetry developed with his cycle of the Bestiari. Fond of maps, trains and travels he sketches his tales with a special care paid to landscape its changes and to history (as in the Milione).
A craftsman and maintainer of the art of telling stories, he is able to offer this ancient art to the general public with memorable live television coverage (among them the recent ITIS Galileo and Ausmerzen. Vite indegne di essere vissute, followed by almost two million viewers on La7).
In 1999 he established Jolefilm, the company which produces all of his shows and with which he realizes films and documentaries. For more information: