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Historical Archives -

“Women Directors at the Biennale”. Biennale Teatro 1934-2016

A free-admission exhibition at the Portego of Ca’ Giustinian, the Biennale headquarters.

The exhibition is made up of a selection of archival documents chosen by Antonio Latella at the ASAC.

Women Directors at the Biennale

An exhibition of the ASAC Collections (Archivio Storico delle Arti Contemporanee) titled Registe alla Biennale Teatro 1934 – 2016, which has been organised by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, opens to the public on Saturday, July 15th at Ca’ Giustinian (San Marco).

The display in the ground floor of Ca’ Giustinian, known as the Portego, documents the presence of women directors at the Theatre Festival from its inception in 1934 until today. This tribute stems from the same concept behind the 45th International Theatre Festival (July 25th > August 12th 2017), which its Director Antonio Latella has focused on the theme of direction by inviting only women directors.

The exhibition is made up of a selection of archival documents chosen by Antonio Latella comprising photographs, historical footage, playbills, posters, catalogues as well as the written correspondence with companies from the ASAC collections.

 “No matter how many documents we have portraying scenes from the theatre”, President Baratta states, “they are no more than fragments. They can capture our attention, spur emotions, bring back memories, remind us of other times, but they are nothing but a glimmer, rather imperfect witnesses to the works and life of the theatre. An archive can provide no more than fragments, each one a fragile piece. It is up to us to find elements of interest in them, in one way or another.

They inform us on the various experiences that have taken place at La Biennale, they hint at singular artistic episodes and a history built upon thought, choices, affinities and contrasts over the many years that the Biennale Teatro has been held, beginning in 1934.

This year's collection, which is dedicated specifically to the women directors who have participated in the programmes of the past, is simply conceived to echo this year's programme of the Biennale Teatro 2017, which Director Antonio Latella has chosen to dedicate to today's women directors, many of whom have had little opportunity to make their work known in Italy. A choice, a discovery that brings new light to the history and  current state of theatre”.

The Director of the Theatre Festival Antonio Latella explains that the exhibition “intends to retrieve, through the appropriate documentation, fragments of experiences that have fallen into oblivion, the participation of women artists that only the necessary and fundamental contribution offered by the legacy of the Historical Archives (ASAC - Archivio Storico delle Arti Contemporanee) can bring back to light, allowing us to understand that we owe who we are and what we can do today to those who have come before us.

A chronological journey through memory, which is not just reminiscence but living testimony, a chronicle of the infinite possibilities of language that theatre can offer and that the artists in the history of the Biennale Teatro can continue to tell us about in the silence of their having been and their being together again, now”.

The exhibition opens on the occasion of the traditional Redentore holiday, a special day that La Biennale di Venezia has also devoted to a fundraising initiative for the Archives.

The display is only the latest in a series of temporary exhibitions that begun in 2010, in which documents from the ASAC bring to light fragments from the history of La Biennale di Venezia.

WOMEN DIRECTORS AT THE BIENNALE. Biennale Teatro 1934-2016

Introduction by Paolo Baratta

No matter how many documents we have portraying scenes from the theatre, they are no more than fragments. They can capture our attention, spur emotions, bring back memories, remind us of other times, but they are nothing but a glimmer, rather imperfect witnesses to the works and life of the theatre. An archive can provide no more than fragments, each one a fragile piece. It is up to us to find elements of interest in them, in one way or another. They inform us on the various experiences that have taken place at La Biennale, they hint at singular artistic episodes and a history built upon thought, choices, affinities and contrasts over the many years that the Biennale Teatro has been held, beginning in 1934.

This year's collection, which is dedicated specifically to the women directors who have participated in the programmes of the past, is simply conceived to echo this year's programme of the Biennale Teatro 2017, which Director Antonio Latella has chosen to dedicate to today's women directors, many of whom have had little opportunity to make their work known in Italy. A choice, a discovery that brings new light to the history and  current state of theatre.

We wish to thank the ASAC.

Paolo Baratta, President of the Biennale di Venezia

Presentation by Antonio Latella

The idea of presenting an exhibition in the Portego is strictly related to the concept of Biennale Teatro 2017, which has been conceived as a process that makes it possible to attend small "solo" exhibitions, or retrospectives, dedicated to each individual artist. Following in the path undertaken by this year’s Festival, this exhibition intends to highlight and find ways to pay tribute to the women artists, the directors, who presented their work at the Biennale Teatro.

Today, we are often unexpectedly thrilled by dramaturgical or aesthetic shifts that our memory has already erased, while it is not uncommon that everything we see has been masterfully told before, as the history of the Biennale Teatro never ceases to remind us.

The contemporary age is the fruit of our past, which in turn has become tradition. This was seen as contemporary at the very moment in which it created new languages that the public could not codify and somehow rejected, while today they have become a standard alphabet to work with or take inspiration from. The exhibition also intends to retrieve, through the appropriate documentation, fragments of experiences that have fallen into oblivion, the participation of women artists that only the necessary and fundamental contribution offered by the legacy of the Historical Archives (ASAC - Archivio Storico delle Arti Contemporanee) can bring back to light, allowing us to understand that we owe who we are and what we can do today to those who have come before us.

A chronological journey through memory is thus not just reminiscence but living testimony, a chronicle of the infinite potential of languages that theatre can offer and that the women artists in the history of the Biennale Teatro can continue to tell us about in the silence of their having been and their being together again, now.

Antonio Latella, Director of the Biennale Teatro 2017


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