Visual arts

The 2022 Venice Biennale awards the Golden Lion to artists Katharina Fritsch and Cecilia Vicuña

The 2022 Venice Biennale, or the 59and The La Biennale di Venezia international art exhibition will be open to the public from April 23 to November 27, 2022 at the Giardini and Arsenale. The exhibition titled The milk of dreams was curated by Cecilia Alemani and takes its nickname from the book by Leonora Carrington (1917-2011).

Founded in 1895, the international art exhibition featuring film, dance, music, architecture, visual arts and theater is held in the Castello district of Venice every two years during the summer. The 2022 exhibition focuses on many conversations with artists over the past few years, and the questions that have continued to emerge from these dialogues, summarizing many inquiries that saturate the sciences, arts and myths of our time, are – “How is the definition of human changing? What constitutes life and what differentiates plant and animal, human and non-human? What are our responsibilities? towards the planet, other people and other forms of life? And what would life be like without us? These are some of the guiding questions of this edition of the Biennale Arte, which is structured around three thematic axes: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth.

Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña Image: Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Recently, German artist Katharina Fritsch and Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña were announced as the winners of the Golden Lion for 59and La Biennale di Venezia International Art ExhibitionThe milk of dreams. The award ceremony and the inauguration of the Biennale will take place on April 23 at Ca’ Giustinian, headquarters of La Biennale di Venezia.

German Artist Katharina Fritsch | Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2022 Venice Biennale |  STIRworld
German artist Katharina Fritsch Image: Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Born in 1956, Fritsch lives and works in Wuppertal and Düsseldorf, Germany. Since 1979, she has focused on multi-scaled, boldly hued sculptures which she believes should rather be seen as three-dimensional images. The 59and Venice Biennale curator Cecilia Alemani said: “The first time I saw one of Katharina Fritsch’s works in person was in Venice, at the first biennale I attended. attended, the 1999 edition organized by Harald Szeemann. The massive piece filling the central pavilion’s main room was titled Rattenkönig, the Rat King, an eerie sculpture in which a group of giant rodents crouch in a circle with their tails tied together, like a strange magical ritual. Every time I have encountered one of Fritsch’s sculptures over the years, I have always felt the same sense of awe and dizzying attraction.

Alemani states that Fritsch’s contribution to the field of contemporary art, particularly sculpture, has been incomparable. “Fritsch creates figurative works that are both hyperrealistic and whimsical: copies of objects, animals and people, faithfully rendered in minute detail, but transformed into strange apparitions. Fritsch often alters the scale of his subjects, shrinking or enlarging them dramatically, and coating them with disorienting solid colors: it is like looking at monuments from an alien civilization or artifacts on display in some strange posthuman museum.

Hahn/Cock, 2010, Fiberglass, Katharina Fritsch |  STIRworld
Hahn/Rooster2010, Fiberglass, Katharina Fritsch Image: Lorie Shaull, courtesy of Flickr

Fritsch’s world is populated by many things: saints, mice, architectural models and plans, seashells, snakes, umbrellas, human figures, the croaking of frogs and everyday objects. It is a place where life like complexity and disorienting intangible finish liquefy the boundaries between normal and strange, causing a sense of surprise and amazement. In 2013, she created Hahn/Rooster, a large sculptural installation of a bright blue rooster, for London’s Trafalgar Square. The work is made of fiberglass and measures 4.72 meters (15.5 feet). Fritsch described the large-scale installation as a feminist art sculpture, stating that she is a woman representing something man.

Cecilia Vicuña for the Venice Biennale 2022 |  STIRworld
Cecilia Vicuña for the 2022 Venice Biennale Image: Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

Poet, artist, filmmaker and activist, Cecilia Vicuña, born in 1948, lives and works in New York and Santiago. Born and raised in Santiago, she was exiled in the early 1970s after the violent military coup against President Salvador Allende. Vicuña coined the term “ArtePrecario” in the mid-1960s in Chile, for his precarious works and quipus, as a way “to hear an ancient silence waiting to be heard”.

Speaking of Cecilia Vicuña, Alemani says, “Vicuña is an artist and poet, and has devoted years of invaluable effort to preserving the work of many Latin American writers, translating and editing anthologies of poetry that might otherwise have been lost. Vicuña is also an activist who has long fought for the rights of indigenous peoples in Chile and the rest of Latin America. In the field of visual arts, his work ranges from painting to performance, to complex assemblages. Her artistic language is built around a deep fascination with Indigenous traditions and non-Western epistemologies. For decades, Vicuña has walked her path, stubbornly, humbly and meticulously, anticipating many recent ecological and feminist debates and envisioning new personal and collective mythologies. Many of his installations are made with found objects or scrap materials, woven into delicate compositions where microscopic and monumental seem to find a fragile balance: a precarious art that is both intimate and powerful.

Quipu’s uterus2017, Wool, Cecilia Vicuña Video: ceciliavicuna on Instagram

His impermanent multidimensional works begin as a poem or as an image that transforms into a film, a song, a sculpture or a collective performance. It evolved out of a desire to pay homage to Chile’s indigenous history and culture. Speaking of his win, Vicuña said, “It is a great honor and joy for me to receive the Golden Lion – at a time when humanity is trying to uphold peace and justice against all odds. I believe that our art and our conscience can play a part in the urgent need to move away from violence and destruction, to save our environment from imminent collapse.

She added: “Venice is particularly meaningful to me. Some of my paternal ancestors came to Chile from northern Italy in the 19and century, so I learned to love its history and its art when I was a child. My grandparents would be honored to know the price. My mother line is indigenous, so I’m very proud to be part of the Arte Biennial curated by Cecilia Alemani, which highlights “artists imagining a posthuman condition challenging the presumed Western condition using the white man as the measure of all things.” “. I am joined by an extraordinary group of artists sharing in the spirit of The milk of dreams we desperately need to find a new way to be on this Earth.”

Venue map, La Biennale di Venezia |  STIRworld
Venue map, The Venice Biennale Image: Giulio Squillacciotti, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia