Pavilion of the Holy See - 55th Biennale di Venezia. June 1st - November 24th 2013

Pavilion of the Holy See (Vatican) at the 55th Venice Biennale
May 24, 2013 5:53PM

Artists: Josef Koudelka, Studio Azzurro, Lawrence Carroll

Exhibition title: Creation, De-Creation and Re-Creation

Venue: Pavilion at Arsenale, Sale d’Armi nord

The Roman Catholic Church will host its first pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, featuring the Czech photographer Josef Koudelka, the Milan-based multimedia group Studio Azzurro and the artist Lawrence Carroll. The artists were chosen by a small committee led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and Micol Forti, the director of contemporary art at the Vatican Museums.


‘For this first occasion, we have chosen a theme that is fundamental for culture and for Church tradition. It is also a source of inspiration for many whose works that have left a mark on the history of art: the story told in the Book of Genesis.

‘Specifically, the first eleven chapters have been chosen, as they are dedicated to the mystery of man’s origins, the introduction of evil into history, and our hope and future projects after the devastation symbolically represented by the Flood. Wide-ranging discussions on the multiplicity of the themes offered by this inexhaustible source led to three thematic areas being chosen with which the artists have engaged: Creazione (Creation), De-Creazione (Uncreation), and the New Man or Ri-Creazione (Recreation).

‘The theme of Creation concentrates on the first part of the biblical narrative, when the creative act is introduced through the Word and the breath of the Holy Spirit, generating a temporal and spatial dimension, and all forms of life including human beings.

‘Uncreation, on the other hand, invites us to focus on the choice of going against God’s original plan through forms of ethical and material destruction, such as original sin and the first murder (Cain and Abel), inviting us to reflect on the “inhumanity of man.” The ensuing violence and disharmony trigger a new start for humanity, which begins with the punitive/purifying event of the Flood.

‘In this biblical story, the concept of the voyage, and the themes of seeking and hope, represented by the figure of Noah and his family and then by Abraham and his progeny, eventually lead to the designation of a New Man and a renewed creation, where a profound internal change gives new meaning and vitality to existence.

Pavilion of the Holy See (Vatican) at the 55th Venice Biennale