The latest details on Portugal's participation in the 59th International Art Exhibition
The Venice Biennale, the oldest art biennial, is back after a year of delay due to the pandemic – and it seems to be busier with artists than ever. The general theme of the 59th Venice Biennale "The Milk of Dreams" is inspired by a book by Leonora Carrington, in which, as Cecilia Alemani says, "the surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly rethought through the prism of imagination, and where everyone can change, be transformed, become something and someone else. The exhibition takes us on an imaginary journey through metamorphoses of the body and definitions of humanity".
The Official Portuguese Representation, curated by DGARTES, will be installed in the Franchetti Palace, the new exhibition space located on the banks of the Grand Canal in Venice, with which a protocol of use was signed for the next 3 years.The Vampires in Space project, by Pedro Neves Marques, curated by João Mourão and Luís Silva, will represent Portugal at the Venice Art Biennale, which will take place between April 23 and November 27, 2022.Selected within the scope of a competition promoted by the General Directorate of Arts, “Vampires in Space” will take the form of a narrative installation that will transform Palazzo Franchetti through films, installation elements, poems and scenography into an unexpected spaceship inhabited by vampires. The proposal uses the figure and expectations about what a "vampire" is to address issues of gender identity, sexuality and queer reproduction, as well as non-nuclear family forms. The installation will contrast the Venetian Gothic style of Palazzo Franchetti with a science fiction, fantasy and speculative sensibility unique to Neves Marques' work. The work continues the previous path, made almost entirely abroad, between London, São Paulo and New York, in which, through films and video installations, she addresses themes related to gender issues, ecology or feminism.
The Portuguese artist stated in an interview with Visão: “I have several works with enigmatic and sometimes a little aggressive titles, winking at a certain aesthetic linked to B series cinema. In this case I invoke two very specific imaginaries, vampires and the space. The work starts from the image of the vampire, as a literary and cinematographic figure. This image has always reflected cultural and societal views on issues of gender, sexuality, the body and medicine and technology. We can think of the century. XIX, in the Victorian era, when the figure of the Vampire appears in literature, but also in the AIDS crisis of the 80s, in the feminist emancipation of the 60s... There are several moments in which the figure of the vampire is adopted. I am interested in taking it to reflect these issues today, in health, technology and gender sexualization. On the other hand, there is a whole affection for the idea of science fiction and what it allows as an aesthetic genre.”
Pedro Neves Marques is a director, visual artist and writer. He has exhibited at art institutions such as Tate Modern, Serpentine Galleries and Gasworks in London; Jeu de Paume in Paris; Pérez Art Museum of Miami, and Anthology Film Archives, New Museum, SculptureCenter and e-flux in New York; VAC Foundation in Venice; Botín Foundation in Madrid; Times Guangdong Museum in Guangzhou, China, among others. His films were screened at festivals such as DocLisboa and IndieLisboa in Portugal and ForumdocBH in Brazil.