Catalonia unveils pavilion for Art Biennale in Venice

Catalan contribution to the international exhibition is a reflection on the relationship between humans and statues

Performance by Marcel Borràs starring at the Venice Biennale (by Àlex Recolons)
Performance by Marcel Borràs starring at the Venice Biennale (by Àlex Recolons) / ACN

ACN | Venice

May 8, 2019 07:39 PM

With only days to go until the Art Biennale exhibition opens in Venice, the Ramon Llull Institute has unveiled Catalonia's pavilion for the prestigious international event.

Participating for the 10th time, Catalonia's contribution is based around the exhibition 'Catalonia in Venice - to Lose Your Head (Idols)', curated by Pedro Azara.

The exhibition is a reflection on the special and intense relationship between humans and statues, and focuses on 15 venerated or vandalized statues around Catalonia.

The project, which plays on the expression "to lose one's head", includes a performance by actor Marcel Borràs and an audiovisual production by architect Albert García-Alzórriz.

"Taking part in the Biennale is a dream," said Iolanda Batallé, the head of the Ramon Llull Institute, which promotes Catalan culture and language abroad.

Catalan pavilion opens on Friday

The Catalan pavilion, which has cost 480,000 euros, will officially open on Friday, and can be visited at the Cantieri Navali venue on the San Pietro island until November 24.

The pavilion is split into three, starting with a screen showing García-Alzórriz's production, a space with four original works by Catalan artists, and another devoted to the 15 statues.

The original artworks featured date from between 1942 and 1998, and are by Salvador Martorell, Genaro Iglesias, Joan Brossa, and Francisco López.

As for the 15 statues, there is a wealth of visual and textual information about the monuments from around Catalonia that have become the focus for adoration or hate.  

According to curator Azara, statues "are not inert objects because they have an influence on human reactions," inspiring both veneration or violence towards them.

Meanwhile, the dramatic performance by Borràs sees Marta Aguilar portraying different statutes that over the years have been targets of attacks or worship in Catalonia.