Portugese Pavilion – 55th Biennale di Venezia. June 1st – November 24th 2013
THE DIRECTORATE-GENERAL OF THE ARTS PRESENTS “TRAFARIA PRAIA”, A PROJECT BY THE ARTIST JOANA VASCONCELOS, CURATED BY MIGUEL AMADO, WHICH WILL REPRESENT PORTUGAL AT THE 55th INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION - LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
Navaltagus Shipyards, Seixal, 12th of February 2013 – The General Director of the Arts, Samuel Rego, the artist Joana Vasconcelos and the curator Miguel Amado are presenting “Trafaria Praia”, the project in which consists the official Portuguese representation at the 55th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, which will take place between June 1st and November 24th 2013.
“Trafaria Praia” is a cacillheiro – the Lisbon ferryboat – that, after a long life going between the two sides of the River Tagus, was chosen by Vasconcelos in order to encapsulate a concept that brings together the Portuguese mindset with the symbology of Venice. Vasconcelos proposes a work that reflects upon the contact zone between Portugal and Venice: an imagination based on sea traveling resulting from a similar geographical condition.
Vasconcelos deals with this striking aspect of River Tagus, the cacilheiro, which corresponds to the emblematic vaporetto in Venice, and carries it literally and conceptually to the space of the exhibition, the Giardini, where the main national pavilions at the Venice Biennale are presented. Yet, instead of having a “fixed” pavilion in the Giardini – with an architectural plan which evokes the historical conflicts between countries, particularly in Europe in the twentieth century – the artist thus suggests a ”floating”, idealistic pavilion.
Vasconcelos alters the outside of the cacilheiro by coating it with a panel of hand- painted blue and white tiles, thus harking back to a centuries-old tradition that has become a typical element of Portuguese culture. This This piece depicts a contemporary view of Lisbon inspired by the iconic 1700 tile work known as The Great Panorama of Lisbon, attributed to Gabriel del Barco, which shows Lisbon before the 1755 earthquake.
On the dock of the cacilheiro, Vasconcelos creates an environment based on textiles and light elements. This piece consists of organic forms made by hand by knitting and sewing various cloths, such as Nisa felts, and including LED lamp filaments. This intervention “contaminates” the ship, “involving” its visitors within an uncanny “uterine” environment that gives rise to an experience that is as sensorial as it is intellectual. On the quarter-deck of the boat Vasconcelos has set up a stage which, during the opening days of the Venice Biennial, will be home to many events, including round tables on various issues and concerts of Portuguese music.
Itinerary of the cacilheiro at the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
The cacilheiro will moore at the Giardini and will sail over the Venice Lagoon during the opening of the Venice Biennial to the public. During the initial days of the event the cacilheiro will travel four times a day between the Giardini and Punta della Dogana/Fondation François Pinault. After the 1st of June it will travel twice daily between the Giardini and the Punta della Dogana/Fondation François Pinault or, as an alternative, around the island of San Giorgio Maggiore and between the Giardini and the Lido de Venezia.