The Vatican will present its project at the Venice Biennale

The Vatican will present its project at the Venice Biennale


The Vatican presented its project for the upcoming Venice Biennale. It will be a multimedia installation located inside a women’s prison and created with the active participation of prisoners and artists.

On April 28, the Vatican pavilion, which will have the name “Through my eyes”, will be visited by Pope Francis himself. This will be the first ever visit of the pontiff to the Biennale, it is reported AP.

Previously, the Vatican had already participated in several art and architecture biennales. However, at the presentation on March 11, its representatives emphasized the uniqueness of this year’s pavilion.

In particular, it is about the unprecedented permission from the Italian authorities to set up an exhibition in the prison on the island of Giudecca and involve prisoners in the work. They will participate in the project in different ways: some will provide their photographs for the work of the French-American artist Claire Tabouret, others will write poems for an installation by the Syrian artist Simone Fattal, and others will accompany visitors during a tour of the exhibition.

The head of the penitentiary administration of the Italian Ministry of Justice, Giovanni Russo, said that he immediately liked the idea of ​​placing the pavilion in a correctional institution, because it fully corresponds to the rehabilitation aspect of detention. “It is an unexpected place, but a place where “waiting” is a constant state“, he added.

Prison on Giudecca Island

Wikimedia Commons

Nine artists will work on the creation of the pavilion, including an Italian artist known for his scandalous works and hyperrealistic installations Maurizio Cattelan. According to the curators, he will create on the facade of the prison chapel “a large piece of outdoor art“.

Cattelan presented his work at the Venice Biennale almost a quarter of a century ago – in 2001 he brought here the provocative work “The Ninth Hour” (La Nona Ora) with a wax figure of Pope John Paul II crushed by a large black meteorite.

The work of Maurizio Catellan La Nona Ora

The work of Maurizio Catellan La Nona Ora

In addition to this work, the prison cafeteria will feature works by the late American nun and pop art artist Corita Kent. The installation will also include a projection of a 12-minute film about freedom, which is currently being shot by director Marco Perego and actress Zoe Saldana, with the participation of prisoners.

The work of Corita Kent

The work of Corita Kent

Organizers said those wishing to visit the pavilion of the Holy See at the Venice Biennale will have to book in advance online, providing the identification required to enter any prison, and following the same security measures: in particular, mobile phones will be prohibited.

About the Venice Biennale 2024

The 60th Venice Biennale will take place from April 20 to November 24, 2024.

The main theme of the biennale is Stranieri Ovunque (“Foreigners everywhere”), which is dedicated to foreigners, displacement and any manifestations of otherness from the environment. The exhibition will be divided into two parts: the modern Nucleo Contemporaneo and the historical Nucleo Storico.

In 2024, 331 participants will be represented at the Venice Biennale.

This year’s biennale is also accompanied by a number of scandals. Thus, Austria will be represented by the Russian artist Anna Ermolaeva with the exhibition project “Swan Lake Rehearsal”. Russia itself does not participate in the exhibition after the start of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In Poland, the project was changed: initially the country was to be represented by “Polish Exercises on the Tragedy of the World. Between Germany and Russia” by artist Ignatius Tszechos and curators Piotr Bernatowicz and Dariusz Karlowicz. But he was recalled due to a change of government and criticism in artistic circles. In the end, the project was replaced by “Repeat after me” of the Ukrainian art association “Open Group” (Anton Varga, Yuriy Biley and Pavlo Kovacs).

In addition, the organizers of the biennale refused to cancel Israel’s participation despite the mass appeals of artists.

Ukraine at the Venice Biennale

The curators of the Biennale-2024 national pavilion were Maksym Horbatskyi and Victoria Bavykina (Ukrainian Photography NGO) and their project “Weaving of Nets”.

The exhibition of the Ukrainian pavilion is inspired by the practice of collective weaving of camouflage nets and is dedicated to support and cooperation between people. With the help of joint actions, Ukrainian society opposes Russian aggression. “Weaving of Nets” presents the works of Ukrainian artists – Katya Buchatska, Andrii Dostlev and Liya Dostlev, Daniil Revkovskyi and Andriy Rachynskyi, and Oleksandr Burlaka.

A total of four projects will be presented: the architectural installation “Robota”, which will also act as a space for all projects, the documentary film “Civil. Invasion”, the projects “Sincere Greetings” and “Comfort Work”.


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