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Paraguay Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (First official participation)

Title of the Exhibition: The Encyclopedic Palace of Paraguay

Exhibitors: Pedro Barrail, Daniel Milessi, Diana Rossi, Felix Toranzos

Commissioner: Elisa Victoria Aquino Laterza – Assistant Commissioner: Nori Vaccari Starck

Curator: Osvaldo Gonzalez Real

Technical Curator in Venice: Tiziano Inguanotto, Studio Arbur ltalia
( – Architecture )

Venue: Palazzo Carminati, Santa Croce 1882 ( San Stae ), Venice 30135.

The Government of Paraguay is taking part in the 55th International Art Exhibition for the first time, and is doing so with works of four Paraguayan artists under the title of “The Encyclopedic Palace of Paraguay”. It consists of works from various trends of contemporary art related to the main theme of the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia – curated by Massimiliano Gioni.

Pedro Barrail presents his work, “View of Point”, with an intervention in the main room where the Paraguayan exhibition will take place. It comes to tackling the virtual space of the canvas with the real space of the room of the Palazzo Carminati. The internal facade would be erased by its own image, which will have printed in the center a red dot: “You are not here”. This situation would be the metaphor of Paraguayan cultural isolation and of its wandering in the surrounding world: “a real maze of advertising images and entertainment media‘. The work is inspired by the writings of Josefina Plá. In one of her poems, she speaks of a “Landscape with no exit” such as the photographs, an unknown place, inhabited by dreams and silence, while we see to nothingness.

The proposal of Daniel Milessi, “Yasururu Sororo” (invasion?) refers to the history of successive invaders of Guarani country (now Paraguay) through the Game of War, a video that presents a revisionist conception of history, from colonial days to the present. This game, where nobody wins, is institutionalized: usurers, bankers, and exploiters, supported by the political class in action. Something very important, from an aesthetic point of view, is the discovery by Milessi of the similarity between the design pattern of a native carpet and the videogames in-8-bit. Therefore, the visual communication more suitable for Paraguayans would be: the video games, part of the pop culture. A true Paraguayan philosophy of power is used by the big landowners, and the popular iconography. In fact the work is a video/animation/performance.

Diana Rossi was inspired by a prehistoric fossil, found recently in Paraguay. This is an installation that represents the anteater (“yurumi”) totemic animal of the indigenous tribe Ache-Guayakí of Paraguay. For them this mammal is considered genitor, sacred ancestor and icon of the ancient inhabitants of this land. It is made on the basis of “object-trouvé” such as bones, henhouse wires, and discarded leather, Coke bottles, etc. The work also recalls the genocide committed against this indigenous tribe in 1973, during the long Paraguayan dictatorship and conducted by landless peasants and soldiers. The survivors were interned in a kind of concentration camp run by Christian missionaries. The children of the massacred were sold as slaves. The idea of Diana is to pay tribute to the memory of the disappeared from the tribe Ache-Guayakí.

The work of Felix Toranzos is characterized by a proposal that intends to continue in time, the architectural design, octagonal, called in greek “Horologion”, of the Andronico of Cirro (late first century B.C.) and that appears after 2000 years repeated in the dome of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Asuncion, Paraguay. This Museum has no physical space of its own in the country and is still looking for a final destination. This “Palace of the Winds”, which is also a clock of the elapsed time through history, has been transformed, thanks to the creativity of the artist, in a series of panels, printed with geometric figures of hermetic renaissance inspiration sealed by the purest Pythagorean tradition, where the geometry and the numbers are divine. The search for lost times is retrieved, in this way, through art.

Information: Elisa Victoria Aquino Laterza
T: +393467870985 – –

First National Participation
(From 29.05 until 24.11.2013 )
Palazzo Carminati, Santa Croce 1882 (San Stae), Venice

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