The Venice Questionnaire #28: Bartolomeo Pietromarchi
ArtReview sent a questionnaire to a selection of the artists exhibiting in various national pavilions of the Venice Biennale, the responses to which are being published daily in May, in the run up to the Biennale opening. Bartolomeo Pietromarchi is curating the Italian exhibition, on display at the Ca' Dandolo, San Tomà, Venezia.
What can you tell us about your plans for Venice?
Bartolomeo Pietromarchi: I have been working on the project for the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale for a year and it has been an extremely stimulating experience; it is in fact a wide and open project which becomes a cause for reflection, enriched by the encounter and the confrontation between different disciplines. Coming from the idea expressed by the philosopher Giorgio Agamben in Categorie Italiane, that in order to interpret Italian culture it is necessary to individuate a series of diametrically linked concepts, I have configured the vice versa exhibition as seven primary binomials whose purpose is to comment on contemporary art. Each binomial followed naturally from affinities between its components' poetics rather than being imposed by a dictatorial curatorial decision.
Are you approaching the show in a different way to how you would with a ‘normal’ exhibition?
Undoubtedly exhibiting at the Venice Biennial is for the artists a huge responsibility, given the fact that they are asked to represent the country and in some ways signify its artistic tendencies. This is a responsibility which obviously also concerns the curator, in addition to the necessity of coordinating the pavilion exhibition with the general setting of the artistic manifestation, which is, in this case, Massimiliano Gioni's Palazzo Enciclopedico.. However, in potent artistic exhibitions such as at Venice it is especially important that the artists remain faithful to their poetry and not succumb to the distortions of psychological and media pressure. This is an attitude I have tried to support with a specific kind of curatorial methodology.