From Bogotà to the Italian Pavilion: Eugenio Viola’s challenge

From Bogotà to the Italian Pavilion: Eugenio Viola’s challenge
From Bogotà to the Italian Pavilion: Eugenio Viola’s challenge

Eugenio Viola has been appointed curator of the Italian Pavilion of the 59th Venice Biennale of Art, scheduled from 23 April to 27 November 2022, Arteconomy24 had announced the presence of Viola in the shortlist of eligible candidates just after the closing of the call by invitation.
Neapolitan, born in 1975, he is currently chief curator at the Mambo Museum in Bogotà, a triumphant return to his homeland after having held important roles around the world, including that of Senior Curator of PICA – The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts in Perth in Australia. Before his experience in Colombia and Australia, he was curator of the Madre di Napoli, from 2009 to 2016. Here he co-curated the first major institutional exhibitions in Italy dedicated to Boris Mikhailov it’s at Francis Alӱs, a project by Daniel Buren and retrospectives of Vector Pisani e Giulia Piscitelli. As guest curator he has collaborated with numerous Italian and international institutions, curating, among others, anthologies dedicated to Regina José Galindo (Frankfurter Kunstverein, Francoforte, 2016); Karol Radziszewski (CoCA- Centre of Contemporary Art Torun, 2014); Mark Raidpere (EKKM- The Contemporary Art Museum of Tallinn, 2013); Marina Abramović (PAC, Milan, 2012); Francesco Jodice (MSU-The Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagabria, 2011); ORLAN (MAMC-Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Saint-Étienne, 2007). In 2015 he curated the Estonian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.

The contemporaneity

The announcement was made by the minister Dario Franceschini holder of the Mic, after narrowing the shortlist of candidates, including Cristiana Perrella e Alfredo Cramerotti. “Viola is the bearer of a creative, ambitious and innovative vision, capable of thoroughly investigating the profound changes triggered by the pandemic in our society,” said the minister. The names of the participating artists are still missing, among the Italians closest to his research and with whom Eugenio Viola has collaborated in his career there are among others Gian Maria Tosatti, Rossella Biscotti e Filippo Berta. Viola stands out for curating projects in which ample space is given to political and social reflection, in which she has often given ample space to the demands and recriminations of discriminated minorities. A well-deserved recognition and perhaps also a revenge for a serious and coherent curator who had begun his professional wanderings probably also following the impossibility, years ago, of obtaining a stable and prestigious position in Italian museums.

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Uncertain times

“We live in uncertain times, at the moment I am in Colombia a country where the present is particularly uncertain. But the role of the artists is very important, they are reporters who tell the present and sometimes anticipate the future ”explained Viola on the phone with Ansa da Bogotà. The assignment fills him with pride, he underlines, and explains that he wants to face “with the utmost responsibility and commitment, ethically”. In the large space at the Tese delle virgins of the Arsenale, which has hosted the Italian exhibition since 2006, the young Neapolitan critic will propose, as anticipated by Minister Franceschini, “a reflection on the urgencies of Italy today, suggesting interpretations and, above all, of resolution and redemption of the current situation by creating a path “. A project born from the input of the Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity of Onofrio Cutaia, who had expressly asked the ten curators invited to the selection to “tackle the current and urgent issues of today’s society, exploring them through the transversal and interdisciplinary nature of contemporary languages”. But in fact it is also a key to interpreting current events that seems particularly congenial to Viola. “I was born in Naples, I studied and started working in the south, then I moved to Australia, the southern hemisphere of the world, so I landed in Latin America, in short. Long live the South “. In Bogota, where the situation is particularly difficult and not only due to the Covid epidemic, his Mambo has almost never stopped working. A choice he was particularly happy with, he says, “because people need art and they need normality”. In Bogotà “we are also doing a particular job – he explains – we are trying to use art as a tool for social reconstruction”. Certainly an ambitious challenge. “That’s why I agreed to come here,” he explains kindly. The Italian pavilion, he assures, will engage him with the same rigor and the same passion.

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