The Department of Arts and Culture and the National Arts Festival recently announced the initial line-up of artists for La Biennale di Venezia which opens at the end of May in Venice.
There have been some additional artists that have been added to the impressive original list that will now form part of the 2013 South African Pavilion at the 55th La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition is entitled Imaginary Fact – Contemporary South African Art and the Archive.
Gerhard Marx, Maja Marx and Philip Miller recall The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, through the creation of an installation of seven films with audio; using the source material from their theatre production Rewind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony.
James Webb will translate and transform T.Rex’s 1972 glam rock hit, Children of the Revolution into a South African protest song for choir.
Zanele Muholi has recently made headlines for winning the international Freedom of Expression Index Award in acknowledgment of the significance of her work in the field of black queer visibility. She will exhibit the entire archive to date, of her seminal Faces and Phases.
Athi-Patra Ruga. The Future White Women of Azania. 2012. Performance. Duration variable. Courtesy of the artist and the GIPCA. Photograph by Ashley Walters
In addition to the exhibition mounted on the first level of the Sale D’Armi in the iconic Arsenale; Venetian authorities have granted permission for an exciting series of public performances to take place within public spaces of the city. Athi-Patra Ruga, Donna Kukama, Kemang wa Lehulere and Nelisiwe Xaba will each interrogate, in some way, the critical concerns of contemporary archival practice. Kukama and wa Lehulere will adapt existing work specifically for the occasion of the Biennale. Ruga will present his latest incantation of The White Women of Azania, with 4 performers sourced from Venice; and Xaba will perform an extention of her Saartjie Baartman project, entitled Venus in Venice.
Exhibition curator Brenton Maart says “We are pleased to have finalised the list of artists, and the addition of important photography, multi-media installations and performances will help South African cultural production within these three significant developments in international contemporary art”.
The full list of South African artists taking part includes Andrew Putter, Athi-Patra Ruga, Cameron Platter, David Koloane, Donna Kukama, Gerhard Marx, Maja Marx, Philip Miller, James Webb, Joanne Bloch, Johannes Phokela, Kemang wa Lehulere, Nelisiwe Xaba, Penny Siopis, Sam Nhlengethwa, Sue Williamson, Wim Botha and Zanele Muholi.
The 55th International Art Exhibition will take place in Venice from 1 June to 24 November 2013, and the South African Pavilion is curated this year by the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown. The title chosen by Exhibition Director Massimiliano Gioni for the 55th Biennale is Il Palazzo Enciclopedico / The Encyclopaedic Palace.