The long weekend from June 6th to 9th took us to Ancona, otherwise a city without a developed infrastructure in the field of contemporary art, hosted some two hundred young artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, if only for a short while, and for the most part within the framework of the Mole Vanvitelliana – a cultural area of the city in the lazarets dating back to the 18th century that changed the existing image of the city. Thus the Biennale of Young Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean, backed bythe international network BJCEM, owe these past lazarets today’s Lazzaretto of Ancona also called the Mole Vanvitelliana. This tear’s edition in Ancona, the 16th in a row is special due to the fact that for the first time in the history of the Biennale, the exhibition was curated by a team of 8 curators, from different fields and cultural backgrounds, as opposed to the former practice where the selection was made on a national level. In addition to Charlotte Bank, Alessandra Castiglionia, Nadira Laggoune, Delphine Leccas, Marco Trulli and Claudio Zecchi, two Croatian curators were also in the team – Nataša Bodrožić and Ivana Meštrov, united by the associative framework Slobodne veze/ Loose Associations.
Systems of knowledge and self-organization policies were the themes behind the title of the Mediterraneo 16 – Errors Allowed. Due to the variety of approaches regarding the themes and varied interpretations of curators, it obtained alternative subtitles such as Vanishing Utopias, End of Modernism, Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing, Library, Tiers Paysage, Semantic of Emotions, Crisis of Representation and Schizopolis around which certain works are grouped. In the exhibition area the themes are intertwined and hard to follow in the given sequence, although they open certain new questions that today’s artists deal with.
One line of activities that can be followed throughout the entire set-up is the new expansion of artistic activities. At the very entrance, Igor Bezinović’s work Blockade is on view, documenting the 2009 students’ protests from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, thus opening the question of the current correlation between art and social involvement. The presence of the Solidarity Network, which we covered earlier, is continued through this theme, via a set of works that question political and economic relations on examples of failed Split industry and through practices of solidarization with workers whom are provided with organizational models that differ from the predominant system. On behalf of the Solidarity Network, Nina Jurić, Gildo Bavčević, Antej Jelenić and Petar Grimani held a performance on an Ancona square. In this series, works on current social, political, and economic issues are conveyed through traditional artistic techniques. Vladimir Miladinović brings us covers of Serbian dailies from the 90s onwards in the form of an intimate acquarel technique, thus confronting both the personal and political in his creation entitled Personal/Political. Through his works, the author opens the issue of historical accountability, manipulation of the media and intellectual activism. By tying black bands around the hands of the statue – the protagonist of political life in ancient Greece, what is considered a symbol of democracy today, Io Myrto Chaviara in his work In Honor Of articulates public spaces as critical areas of today’s democracy.
Igor Bezinović – Blockade
Solidarity Network – Performance in Ancona
Solidarity Network – Performance in Ancona
Vladimir Miladinović – Personal/Political
Io Myrto – In honor of
The presence of the individual experience and relations of the same with the collective in today’s systems is the second theme running through the works at the exhibition. Tea Hatadi brings us that feeling of happiness that creating art incurs as well as the experience of the artist’s position within the art system as a field of work, in her video clip Censorship of Happiness through intimate personal stories of her artist friends. The memory of daily life by artist Mona Mohagheghi is juxtaposedto the collective memory in the work Untitled. Artefacts of everyday life such as plane tickets, museum entrance passes, concert tickets are combined together to form installations while their dates serve as a brutal reminder of the number of Serbian battle casualties on those same dates. Traces of the personal in the realm of public are conveyed in an attractive manner by photograph Marie Therese Saliba who in her work Mirror Mirror shoots rearview mirrors decorated with various religious objects, toys, flowers and photos in Beirut taxis. Ana Vuzdarić in her work Hertaformingexchanges the general perception of women in society with a fictional research of particularities of the character of an unknown woman. In the complex representation of life these female artists take on the role both of the narrator and the protagonist of all stories.
Tea Hatadi – Censorship of Happiness
Mona Mohaghegi – Untitled
Maria Therese Saliba – Mirror Mirror
Ana Vuzadarić – Hertaforming
The collective experience, as well as techniques and knowledge that deal with it, is yet another tendency that is intertwined with the previous themes. Starting out with autobiographical data tied to her own grandmother’s life, Alice Pedroletti creates vast and complex archives that reconstruct the collective memory linked to chemical industry machinery on Lake d’Orta. Contemporary living communities, informal spaces of their existence and joint practices as well as various manners of research and documentation is the field of interest of the Scamnology collective Kontraakcija (‘Contraction’). Vladimir Tatomir presented Kontraakcija/Contraction in Ancona. The methodology of urban archeology developed within the area of New Zagreb was directly applied in the Mole Vanvitelliana location thus detecting a new social and spatial context created by this manifestation. In this sense, within the exhibition premises, the Library is a place envisioned as a meeting point for public discussion, and a project entitled Picturing Us was set up by the collective WhiteFishTank from Ancona, using photos taken by the city’s inhabitants and creating an archive of identities of urban spaces from the perspective of its residents. Through this and various other actions, such as the performance of Virginia Zanetti Walking on the Water on Ancona’s beach, the Biennale opened itself up to the city hosting it.
Alice Pedroletti – Senza Titolo
Kontraakcija – Scamnology
Mediterranea 16 – Library
Virginia Zanetti – Walking on the Water. Miracle and Utopia
In the end the manifestation with its numerous performances, concerts, exhibitions and workshops became a place of gatherings and exchange of diverse viewpoints, ideas, and experiences conditioned by different local contexts as all participants come from different places. The long-term joint effort of the curators during the exhibition opening came into dialogue with exhibitors, and errors anticipated in the very title of this new format of the Biennale of Young Artists. Errors as a way of distancing from standards and patterns, showed itself as a place of new possibilities of individual and collective formation of artists in a period of general recession within the art field or its transition into a new, unarticulated shape as yet.