Christine Macel was born in Paris in 1969. Following her studies in art history, she was a curator of the heritage and inspector of artistic creation for the “Délégation aux Arts Plastiques” of the French Ministry of Culture (from 1995). Since 2000 she has been Chief Curator at the Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou in Paris, where she is responsible for the Department of “Création contemporaine et prospective”, which she founded and developed.
She was the curator of the French Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2013 (Anri Sala) and the Belgian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2007 (Eric Duyckaerts). For the Centre Pompidou she curated and co-curated many collective exhibitions, including Danser sa vie, art et danse aux XX et XXIème siècles (2011); Les Promesses du passé. Une histoire discontinue de l’art à l’Est de l’Europe depuis 1956 (50 artistes) (2010); Airs de Paris, mutations dans la ville et la vie urbaine (2007); Dionysiac (2005). She also curated the solo exhibitions of artists such as Anri Sala (2012), Gabriel Orozco (2010), Philippe Parreno (2009), Sophie Calle (2003), Nan Goldin (2002) and Raymond Hains (2001).
At the Pompidou she also conceived and created “Espace 315”, a gallery dedicated to young artists on the international scene, for which she curated eight exhibitions between 2004 and 2013: Koo Jeong-A, Magnus Von Plessen, Xavier Veilhan, Jeppe Hein, Pawel Althamer, Damian Ortega, Tobias Putrih, L’Image dans la sculpture (Navid Nuur, Nina Beier, Simon Denny, Yorgos Sapountzis). In 2002 she was responsible for the concept, organization and programming of “Prospectif Cinéma”, which spotlighted film production by young French and international artists. She also served as artistic director of the Festival du Printemps de Cahors for two years (ExtraetOrdinaire, 1999; Sensitive, 2000), and curated the exhibitions by Jeppe Hein at the Moore Space Miami (2005), by John Bock at the FRAC in Marseilles (2006) and by Ziad Antar at the Sharjah Foundation (2012). In 2015 she curated Nel Mezzo del Mezzo. Arte contemporanea nel Mediterraneo, Museo Riso in Palermo; What We Call Love, from Surrealism to Now, Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin; Une histoire, art, architecture, design, des années 80 à nos jours, Centre Pompidou, which was also inaugurated at the Haus der Kunst in Munich in March 2016. She is the curator of Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner with Elisabeth Sussman, inaugurated at the Whitney Museum in New York in November 2015 and opened at the Centre Pompidou on June 2016. In 2016 she has also curated Dear Friends, donations of the last 5 years (March 2016) and Melik Ohanian, Marcel Duchamp Prize (May 2016) at Centre Pompidou.
She opened on October 19th 2016 the show Polyphonies: Franck Leibovici, Oliver Beer, Mariechen Danz in the new Espace Prospectif of Centre Pompidou Galerie 0. She contributes to several magazines such as Artforum, Flash Art, Art Press, Parkett and Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne. She is the author of many essays, books and catalogues, including the essay Le Temps pris/Time Taken (French, English, Monografik/Centre Pompidou 2008) on the theme of contemporary art and the concept of time in art works. She recently published an essay on Lygia Clark in the catalogue of the MoMA in 2015 and one on Anri Sala in the catalogue of the New Museum of New York (Phaïdon, February 2016). She taught contemporary art at the École du Louvre in Paris from 1997 to 2002, and created or participated in the creation of various associations dedicated to contemporary art (Espace Blank, Paris), to art and neurosciences (AoN, Berlin), to art and techno music (Faste, Paris).
Il mondo magico, curated by Cecilia Alemani, presents the work and research of three Italian artists—Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi, and Adelita Husni-Bey—who show a new faith in the transformative power of the imagination and an interest in magic. Through myriad references to fancy, fantasy, and fable, they turn art into a tool for inhabiting the world in all its richness and multiplicity.
The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the book Il mondo magico by Neapolitan scholar Ernesto de Martino, who conducted seminal research into the anthropological function of magic. De Martino spent years studying a range of rituals, describing them as devices through which individuals try to regain control in times of uncertainty and reassert their presence in the world. Il mondo magico, written during World War II and published in 1948, ushered in a series of reflections and analyses of a body of beliefs, rites and myths which de Martino continued to explore for decades, as one can see from both his “Southern” trilogy (Morte e pianto rituale, Sud e Magia, La terra del rimorso) and the collection of writings posthumously published as La fine del mondo.
Within the landscape of contemporary Italian art, Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi, and Adelita Husni-Bey use magic as a cognitive and expressive device for reconstructing reality, forging complex personal cosmologies. These three artists see themselves not just as fabricators of artworks, but as active interpreters and creators of the world, which they reinvent through magic and the imagination. For Andreotta Calò, Cuoghi, and Husni-Bey, magic is not an escape into the depths of irrationality so much as a new way of experiencing reality. They do not share any particular stylistic tendency, but rather the impulse to develop complex aesthetic universes that eschew the documentary-style narrative found in much recent art, relying instead on a form of storytelling woven from myths, rituals, beliefs, and fairy tales. Il mondo magico therefore sees the artist not just as a fabricator of works and objects, but above all a guide, interpreter, and creator of possible worlds. Like the rituals described by de Martino, the works of Andreotta Cal
Cuoghi, and Husni-Bey present situations of crisis that are resolved through processes of aesthetic and ecstatic transfiguration. If one looks closely, these works offer up the image of a country—both real and fanciful—where ancient traditions coexist with new global languages and vernaculars, and where reality and imagination melt together into a magical new world.
For Il mondo magico, Alemani has invited Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi, and Adelita Husni-Bey to create three new projects specifically commissioned and produced for the Italian Pavilion
Cecilia Alemani’s project Il mondo magico is perfectly attuned to Christine Macel’s overall concept for the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. VIVA ARTE VIVA revolves around an idea of humanism that celebrates art’s capacity to help individuals avoid being overpowered by the forces governing our world, forces which when given free rein can gravely circumscribe the human dimension.
In conjunction with Il mondo magico, a program of educational activities geared to students from Italy’s public art academies will be organized with the sponsorship of MiBACT’s Directorate-General of Contemporary Art and Architecture, and Urban Peripheries, in a calendar of events curated by Cecilia Alemani and Marta Papini
The Italian Pavilion has been made possible in part by support from FENDI, main sponsor of the exhibition Il mondo magico. Technical sponsors of the Italian Pavilion are Biodesign, Criofarma, Laser Digital Film, Fonderia Battaglia, DLW flooring GmbH., Interlinea, Italgelatine, Oikos. Special Thanks to Dario Paini Acoustic Design. Special thanks also to the donors who played a vital role in the project as a whole.
Dana Michel, afroamericana di Ottawa, Leone d’argento 2017, è un’artista che fa della propria autobiografia motivo di ricerca:“lavorare attingendo alla propria esperienza personale è la strada migliore per raggiungere un’auto-consapevolezza e per creare una significativa connessione con gli altri”, dichiara.
I suoi lavori si caratterizzano per una sorta di “bricolage post culturale” dove tutto entra – momenti live, manipolazione di oggetti, frammenti di storia personale, desideri, preoccupazioni del momento – creando un centrifugato di esperienza empatico tra l’artista e gli spettatori. Come in Yellow Towel (Tese dei Soppalchi, ore 19.00), in cui la Michel rievoca l’asciugamano giallo con cui si fasciava la testa da bambina per imitare le sue compagne di scuola, tutte inesorabilmente bionde, e che diventa occasione per stigmatizzare e capovolgere gli stereotipi della cultura black. Fortemente influenzata dall’estetica della moda, dei videoclip musicali, della cultura queer, Dana Michel è un’artista che parla del contemporaneo attraverso un linguaggio coreografico multiforme e sorprendente. La pratica artistica di Dana Michel esplora le molteplici sfaccettature dell’identità contemporanea e multiculturale attraverso l’uso dell’improvvisazione e dello scavo interiore dell’artista.
A seguire lo spettacolo, Cerimonia di consegna del Leone d’Argento.
Prova esemplare della danza stupefacente di Marie Chouinard, dove ogni gesto è un pensiero, è Soft virtuosity, still humid, on the edge (Teatro alle Tese, ore 21.30), creato nel 2015, è un excursus sulle molte forme del camminare (affannoso, zoppicante, sfrenato, divertente, sulle punte, sulle mezze punte…). In questo deambulare da un lato all’altro del palcoscenico, che è anche il mondo, i personaggi anonimi interpretati dai dieci danzatori della compagnia si incontrano, formano gruppi, si separano, si agitano e se ne vanno.
Dice Marie Chouinard: “I danzatori lavorano partendo da una torsione, da un movimento viscerale e interno. Questo movimento sale passando per il cuore e la gola fino a riflettersi sul volto degli interpreti e a trasformarlo. È qualcosa che nasce da uno stato interno con una forza talmente potente che il viso ne è trasfigurato. Non avere nessun giudizio e lasciare il flusso del movimento libero di scuoterci dall’interno. Non definire l’emozione per evitare di cristallizzarla, e per lasciarle la possibilità di trasformarsi, di seguire il suo corso. È un lavoro complesso e quando i danzatori padroneggiano questo processo, ne sono soggiogata”.
A seguire lo spettacolo, conversazione con Marie Chouinard.
Biennale College – Danza: 3 coreografi
È la seconda serata dedicata a Biennale College – Danza, che promuove i talenti offrendo loro di operare a contatto di maestri per la messa a punto di creazioni. Alla prova del palcoscenico, dopo i danzatori, sono tre nuovi coreografi selezionati dalla Direttrice Marie Chouinard: dopo 6 settimane di lavoro con 7 danzatori professionisti presentano al pubblico tre brevi coreografie originali (Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, ore 21.30).
Sono: l’italiana Irina Baldini, 29 anni, formata al Laban Centre, attiva come danzatrice con Charles Linenhan, Yvonne Rainer, Xavier Leroy, Marten Spangberg, Simone Forti e altri, prima di intraprendere l’attività di coreografa; l’australiana Chloe Chignell, 24 anni, attiva con Leah Landau, Ellen Soderhult, Rebecca Jensen, Marten Spangberg e altri, prima di dedicarsi alla coreografia dal 2014; lo spagnolo Joaquín Collado Parreño, 26 anni, attivo con molte compagnie in patria, fra cui La Veronal.
A seguire, conversazione con Irina Baldini, Chloe Chignell, Joaquín Collado Parreño.
The 57th International Art Exhibition, titled Viva Arte Viva, will open to the public from Saturday May 13th to Sunday November 26th 2017 (Giardini and Arsenale) and will be curated by Christine Macel and organised by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The preview will take place on May 10th, 11th and 12th, the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday, May 13th 2017.
The Exhibition will also include 86 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the city centre of Venice. Three countries will be participating for the first time: Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, and Nigeria.
The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, this year will be curated by Cecilia Alemani.
23 Collateral Events, promoted by non-profit national and international institutions, will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the 57th Exhibition.
The International Exhibition VIVA ARTE VIVA
The Exhibition offers a route that unfolds over the course of nine chapters or families of artists, beginning with two introductory realms in the Central Pavilion in the Giardini, followed by seven more realms to be found in the Arsenale and the Giardino delle Vergini. There are 120 invited artists from 51 countries; 103 of these are participating for the first time.
This is how Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia, presents Biennale Arte 2017, explaining that “the 57th Exhibition introduces a further development. It is as though what has always been our primary work method—encounter and dialogue—has now become the theme of the Exhibition, because this year’s Biennale is dedicated to celebrating, and almost giving thanks for, the very existence of art and artists, whose worlds expand our perspective and the space of our existence.” “Christine Macel has called it an Exhibition inspired by humanism. This type of humanism is neither focused on an artistic ideal to follow nor is it characterised by the celebration of mankind as beings who can dominate their surroundings. If anything, this humanism, through art, celebrates mankind’s ability to avoid being dominated by the powers governing world affairs. These powers, if left to their own devices, can greatly affect the human dimension, in a detrimental sense. In this type of humanism, the artistic act is contemporaneously an act of resistance, of liberation and of generosity.” “There is another aspect of the 57th Exhibition – states Baratta – which alone qualifies it, above and beyond all the themes or narrations: of the 120 artists who have been invited to the Exhibition by our curator, 103 are participating here for the first time. Some are discoveries; many others, at least
for this year’s edition, are rediscoveries. And these courageous choices, too, are a concrete expression of our confidence in the world of art.” “This year, direct encounters with the artists have assumed a strategic role, to the point of becoming one of the pillars of La Biennale, whose program is of unprecedented size and commitment. Our curator’s main Exhibition is surrounded by the 86 pavilions of participating countries, each with its own curator, which will once more bring to life the pluralism of voices which is a hallmark of La Biennale di Venezia.” (The full text of Paolo Baratta is included in the Press Kit)
Christine Macel has declared: “Today, in a world full of conflicts and shocks, art bears witness to the most precious part of what makes us human. Art is the ultimate ground for reflection, individual expression, freedom, and for fundamental questions. Art is the last bastion, a garden to cultivate above and beyond trends and personal interests. It stands as an unequivocal alternative to individualism and indifference.” “The role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are more crucial than ever before within the framework of contemporary debates. It is in and through these individual initiatives that the world of tomorrow takes shape, which though surely uncertain, is often best intuited by artists than others.” “Viva Arte Viva is an exclamation, a passionate outcry for art and the state of the artist. Viva Arte Viva is a Biennale designed with artists, by artists and for artists.”
The Nine Trans-Pavilions Each of the nine chapters or families of artists of the Exhibition “represents a Pavilion in itself, or rather a Trans-Pavilion as it is trans-national by nature but echoes the Biennale’s historical organisation into pavilions, the number of which has never ceased to grow since the end of the 1990s.” “From the “Pavilion of Artists and Books” to the “Pavilion of Time and Infinity”, these nine episodes tell a story that is often discursive and at times paradoxical, with detours that mirror the world’s complexities, a multiplicity of approaches and a wide variety of practices. The Exhibition is intended as an experience, an extrovert movement from the self to the other, towards a common space beyond the defined dimensions, and onwards to the idea of a potential neo-humanism.” “Viva Arte Viva also seeks to convey a positive and prospective energy, which whilst focusing on young artists, rediscovers those passed away too soon or those who are still largely unknown despite the importance of their work.” “Starting with the Pavilion of Artists and Books, the Exhibition reveals its premise, a dialectic that involves the whole of contemporary society, beyond the artist himself, and addresses the organisation of society and its values.” “Art and artists are at the heart of the Exhibition, which begins by examining their practices, the way they create art, halfway between idleness and action, otium and negotium.”
Open Table (Tavola Aperta), Artists’ Practices Project, Unpacking My Library: a series of parallel projects and performances will animate the Exhibition following the same curatorial premise, which is to place artists at the art of the Exhibition.
Open Table (Tavola Aperta) Each Friday and Saturday of every week, during the six months of the Exhibition, artists will host an Open Table (Tavola Aperta) and meet visitors over a casual lunch to hold a lively conversation about their practice. These bi-weekly events will be organised in two dedicated spaces refurbished for this purpose, in front of the Central Pavilion of the Giardini and in the new Sala d’Armi in the Arsenale. The Open Table (Tavola Aperta) events will be live-streamed on La Biennale’s website.
Artists’ Practices Project In the Central Pavilion at the Giardini and in the Sale d’Armi at the Arsenale a space will also be created for the Artists’ Practices Project, including a series of short videos made by the artists about themselves and their way of working.
“These two parallel projects – commented Macel – are open to all artists of Biennale Arte. All National Pavilions are welcome to host their own Open Table (Tavola Aperta) event on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and to add videos to the database on the artists.”
Unpacking My Library Finally, the project titled Unpacking My Library, inspired by Walter Benjamin’s essay published in 1931, allows the artists of Viva Arte Viva to compile a list of their favourite books. This is both a way to get to know the artists better and a source of inspiration for the public. The list of books will be published in the Exhibition at the Central Pavilion and in the catalogue. The books listed by all the participating artists will be available to visitors at the Stirling Pavilion in the Giardini.
Special Projects and Performances Besides the main Exhibition in the Central Pavilion and in the Arsenale, several Special Projects and Performances have been commissioned especially for the Giardini, the Giardino delle Vergini and other Exhibition venues. A dense programme of approximately twenty performances will be held during the opening week. The performances will all be live-streamed on La Biennale’s website. The videos will remain on view in a dedicated multimedia room in the Central Pavilion and in the Arsenale.