My Art Guides Venice Meeting Point – An Ocean Archive

Venezia - 09/05/2017 : 12/05/2017

My Art Guides Venice Meeting Point


Comunicato stampa

“How can we apprehend the ocean today? How do we imagine our future in relation to the vast maritime domain? Are we able to develop empathy towards this main source of life? Can we escape the systematic exploitation of the ocean? These essential questions need to be addressed…”

Our Ocean Guide, MAP Office, Lightbox Publishing
My Art Guides Venice Meeting Point takes place during the four days of the Venice Biennale openings May 9-12 at the Navy Officer’s Club, just around the corner from the Arsenale entrance

This year, for the first time, Mara Sartore, Lightbox director and My Art Guides editor-in-chief, has worked in collaboration with MAP Office (Laurent Gutierrez and Valerie Portefaix), an artist duo based in Hong Kong, for the selection of artists on display.

The founding event of this edition is the publication of "Our Ocean Guide", a new project conceived with MAP Office. “Our Ocean Guide” is a polycentric book where a number of themes come together. The guide, far from being a traditional one, presents an ensemble of essays and interviews that bring together a multitude of disciplines, with the ambition of retaining the flux and fluidity of a heterogeneous collection.

Here is a short abstract from MAP Office’s introduction to “Our Ocean Guide”:
“Looking at the ocean is always a special kind of experience. Looking down at the planet from outer space, most of what is seen is water, giving credence to the name ‘Blue Planet’. Yet photographic evidence of the blue layer which wraps around the globe did not exist until the late 1950s. Before the satellite image, another way to understand the oceans was to play with a globe, turning it on its axis until all the continents disappeared, revealing a vast Pacific Ocean perforated by a multitude of tiny islands.
From the shore, the ocean appears like an infinite, mysterious, and vigorous domain. Sometimes it can be seen as a connector, like how one can see Brazilian surfers along the Portuguese coastline. But more often it is a divider, exacerbating the isolation of islands, such as Hawai’i or Réunion. After weeks or months at sea, how many navigators shouted, ‘Land ho!’, as the form of mountains emerged from the foggy marine atmosphere?
Finally, it is when diving in the deep blue that our ignorance of a totally different seascape becomes obvious. Underwater, colours are different. Plants and animal life construct a three-dimensional landscape where movement seems free of any of the obstacles found on land. Invisible forces, currents, and waves move forms of pollution, vibrations, and micro-plastics imperceptible to our human ears and eyes. All are part of new fields of scientific exploration, under the umbrella of oceanography. New floating or underwater platforms, sensors and captors, and real-time video and satellites have improved our comprehension of the marine domain.”

The theme of the ocean has contaminated the whole Meeting Point which has become: "An Ocean Archive”, affecting and influencing the selection of artists. All were invited because of their work connected to the sea or the oceans: the video by Patty Chang “Invocation for a Wandering Lake” where the artist washes the corpse of a dead sperm whale in an act of ablution and mourning; Heman Chong presents two paintings “The Coral Island” and “Don Sturdy in the Port of Lost Ships”, part of his ongoing series of canvases using graphical interfaces as invented book covers; a wax painting Liquid Land | Solid Sea by MAP Office is a visual exploration of the current island dispute in the South China Sea; Mariana Hahn presents a textile site-specific installation titled “Kolpus, and then She Makes Threads”; Benedetto Pietromarchi displays a couple of sculptures from the series “Of Saints and Sailors” which the artist produced touring his long trip on a cargo boat crossing the Atlantic Ocean; “Land XIII [Lampedusa]” and “Okeanos” are two beautiful iron plates presented by Ignazio Mortellaro and a photo "from many sides” by Olivia Mc Gilchrist, produced during the Davidoff Art Initiative residency programme. The art works inside the Venice Meeting Point are meant to create the right atmosphere in order to stimulate reflection and dialogue on an ocean theme; the daily programme is also enriched by two performances: “Escuela de Oficios: Antilles para los Antillanos” by Jorge González and Monica Rodríguez; and “Inferno” by Romina de Novellis, curated by Kreëmart in collaboration with Galleria Alberta Pane, Venice.

The opening reception on the 9th of May, co-hosted by the VMP cultural partner Davidoff Art Initiative, will also be the occasion for the official launch of “Our Ocean Guide”. The programme will end on the afternoon of the 12th with “An Ocean Archive” Symposium and cocktail, which will be the perfect occasion to discuss many of the themes presented in “Our Ocean Guide” and to invite dialogue between guest artists and curators.

About the MyAG VMP
Established in 2015, the My Art Guides Venice Meeting Point is a platform created by Lightbox for international dialogue in contemporary art, with the aim to foster collaboration opportunities between visual artists, art organizations and the international arts community, as well as cultivate deeper public engagement with the arts.


May 9
> 5pm – 6pm, “Escuela de Oficios: Antillas para los Antillanos” Performance by Jorge Gonzales & Mónica Rodriguez
> 6pm – 9pm, “An Ocean Archive”: Opening Reception with Davidoff Art Initiative

May 10
> 12pm – 3pm, Cous cous Lunch, Official launch of Tunisia Pavilion
> 5pm – 6pm, Grenada National Pavilion: Screening in Memoriam of Caribbean Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott
> 6pm – 9pm, Cocktail, Caribbean Bar with Sailor Jerry

May 11
> 3pm – 6pm, Performance by Romina de Novellis
> 6pm – 9pm, Caribbean Bar with Sailor Jerry

May 12
> 11am – 1pm, Presentation “The Diaspora Pavilion”
> 3pm – 5pm, “An Ocean Archive” Symposium
> 6pm – 9pm, Cocktail, Caribbean Bar with Sailor Jerry

Cultural Partner
Davidoff Art Initiative

A special thanks to
Alberta Pane, Kreëmart, R&NT, Sailor Jerry, Vino Vero