Looking through the porthole
I try to put myself in the shoes of Cecilia Alemani, Curator of the 59th International Art Exhibition.
For almost two years we met virtually, framed by a computer screen, and it is through that same screen that Cecilia has visited hundreds of artists’ workshops and studios around the world, poring over paintings, sculptures, videos, installations and examples of performance art that must have given her a very different view from the one she would have experienced in the flesh.
Whether all this has greatly influenced the spirit of her exhibition, I cannot say. But looking at so many imaginary worlds through the porthole of her spaceship/computer, with the aim of physically bringing them to Venice to display them to the world, was most certainly an exceptional and unique experience.
As curators often do – and as they specifically do at the Biennale – Cecilia Alemani begins her (re)search by asking various questions. Of these, one in particular seems to me to summarise them all: “How is the definition of human changing?” Her work begins with the identification of an inspiration, Leonora Carrington, from whose art she develops strands and themes that are represented by artists who relate “the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth.”