From Mirabilis to Techne
GAD Giudecca Art District is pleased to announce the new series of exhibitions and events that will take place in parallel with the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale, from April 21st, 2022, until the end of this year. "Humanabilia from Mirabilis to Techne" is the title chosen to summarize the complex and intense art program that will take place in the premises of Giudecca’s shipyard.
Humanabilia is an imaginary term that ideally blends what concerns the Human (and the earthly) with the concept of Mirabilia, which came from the Latin "mirabilis" or wonder. This year's program is like a composite collective travel diary narrated through the proposals of different international curators and the works of over 50 artists. It will be like a choral novel narrated through images from many parts of the world, referring to different times and traditions from East to West. The visitor will discover local imaginaries, fantastic landscapes, visions, and other "wonders" of the hyper-globalized times. These stories will converge, or they will flow, side by side, like the many canals of Venice, the city that used to be Europe's trading gateway to the East.
As recalled by the French medievalist Jacques Le Goff, until the early Middle Ages, the idea of marvel and its imaginary were still associated, almost exclusively with secular or pagan culture. While included in a non-Christian context, the supernatural, or the extraordinary, was identified with the Latin term "magicus" and was commonly perceived as something demonic and sinister. On the contrary, the supernatural inscribed in Christian culture was named "miraculous" and generally considered like an act of God or a manifestation of His will.
Many manuscripts of medieval secular literature told marvelous stories of fabulous animals, wolfmen, fairies, knights-fish, and many other bizarre creatures that gradually became leitmotifs of the fantasy genre. In the courtly literature of medieval times, the marvelous was also frequently associated with traveling and periegetic literature. The Million, the Book of the World's Wonders by Marco Polo resulted as a compendium of the fantastic, from the empire of Genghis Khan to the kingdoms of southern India. From the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century, the word "Mirabilia" also indicated all kinds of “curiosities” and everything that seemed to come out of the ordinary which the collectors used to cumulate. Those unusual and precious objects collected in the Wunderkammer were generally classified as Artificialia or Naturalia.
If Naturalia were the marvels of Nature, Artificialia (a word that came from the Latin "Artefatto") were all men-made things, showing a human "know-how". Artificialia were therefore associated with the Greek term "techné".
Hence the exhibitions that visitors will find this year at GAD seem to retrace the steps of a journey into the wonders of human.
Alfons Hug, director of the Goethe Institute in Baku, will curate SILK an exhibition that outlines the imagery of the western silk road through the works of contemporary artists, whose poetics explore the connections with textile traditions in the southern Caucasus area. Faig Ahmed, Olaf Nicolai, Nino Kvrivishvili, Araks Sahakyan, and the Italian Lisa Batacchi are the artists chosen for this exhibition promoted by the Goethe Institute, which will open on 21 April in GAD's main gallery, One.
On the same day, in the Legno & Legno space, it will be possible to visit the exhibition Terra Nova, a look at the present and the future, curated by Rhéal Olivier Lanthier and François St-Jacques. The show celebrates 25 years of the Canadian gallery Art Mur and will feature the artists: Robbie Cornelissen, Jannick Deslauriers, Eddy Firmin, Karine Giboulo, Jessica Houston, Guillaume Lachapelle, and Nadia Myre. The title recalls the name of the island, in front of the eastern coast of Canada, which was probably the first American territory where Europeans settled. The exhibition also seems to refer to the idea of a journey, but in this case, the travel seems to open a reflection on the physical and metaphysical evolution of the world.
Moreover, from 28 July until the first week of September, in gallery One, the visitors will discover a new series of works by Indonesian artist Eddy Susanto. The exhibition, which explores the allegory of Hell from the incredible Javanese temple of Borobudur to Dante's Comedy, will be curated by Valentina Gioia Levy and Naima Morelli, with the support of the ArtSociates Foundation.
The cultural offer of the district will expand beyond the aforementioned events to include other exhibitions, conferences, workshops. We invite you to consult the website and follow all the updates on the social channels of GAD Giudecca Art District to find out more.
We also remind that, in the Hydro space, visitors of the Redentore's shipyard will find the National Pavilion of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan at its first participation in the Biennale. The pavilion will feature the exhibition The Gate of Turan, constituted by an immersive installation by the artist Firouz FarmanFarmaian, curated by Janet Rady. The work of FarmanFarmaian is inspired by the nomadic culture, the genuine craft traditions, and the elaborate cosmogony of the ancient region of Tur.
Valentina Gioia Levy
Founder & Artistic Director