We were very delighted to hear that the Golden Lion for the Best Pavilion at Venice this year went to Angola. This is the country’s first appearance at Venice, and boy do they know how to make an entrance. Curated by Paula Nascimento and Stefano Rabolli Pansera, the project, Beyond Entropy played with the central conceit of Massimiliano Gioni‘s knockout Encyclopedic Palace, but with a twist: it was sited in the magical Palazzo Cini, on Dorsoduro, in between the Future Generation Art Prize Show and the Peggy Guggenheim collection. Yes, this is the same Cini of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on San Giorgio (known now as the Island of Mister Marc Quinn…) The palazzo itself is a treasure, stocked with 15th and 16th century paintings (there’s a Lippi, a Botticelli, and a Piero della Francesca in the mix), exquisite period furniture, porcelain, icons and other affects of the family. It’s not usually open to the public, but Angola was able to somehow sweet-talk its way in, taking all of us along with them.
The project itself includes stacks of posters, featuring the lyrical photography of Edson Chagas, who finds objects in the city of Luanda, relocates them, and shoots their photo. The idea is that visitors can assemble their own encyclopedia from this shifting history of the city, as presented in its debris. There was also a performance program, which brought together almost 20 artists. According to the jury statement, Angola stood out for its “curators and artist who together reflect on the irreconcilability and complexity of site”
Congratulations to Angola, for an award well-deserved but nevertheless something of a surprise (as popular hearsay had it between Jeremy Deller‘s English Magic and Anri Sala‘s beautiful Ravel Ravel Unravel.)
The Golden Lion for best work in the Italian Pavilion went to Tino Sehgal, for his wandering minstrels, with the special Silver Lion commendation for emerging artist Camille Henrot.
Special mentions were also made for Sharon Haynes and Roberto Cuoghi, as well as for the Japanese Pavilion, which looked at life after the earthquake, and Lithuania and Cyprus‘ joint venture, which was curated by the ever-mystical Raimundas Malasauskas and set in the gym of a university.
The jury was headed up by Tate curator Jessica Morgan, with help from Sofia Hernández Chong Cuy, Francesco Manacorda, Bisi Silva, and Ali Subotnik.
Congratulations to all of the winners!