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The 56th International Art Exhibition will run 9th May to 22nd November 2015 and will take place at the Giardini, the Arsenale and in various locations across the city of Venice, Italy.
The Romanian Pavilion, curated by Mihai Pop, will showcase Darwin’s Room, an exhibition of paintings by Adrian Ghenie organized across three rooms—according to the original interior architecture of the Pavilion (from 1938) — and will comprise a specific theme for each of these rooms: The Tempest, The Portrait Gallery (Self-portrait as Charles Darwin), and The Dissonances of History.

Expanding upon Darwin’s “laboratory”, Ghenie proposes an interpretive path into the notion of survival. He reads into the theory of biological evolutionism and the ways it has been skewed to transform societies. He also draws upon other historical sources in his updating of this image (fundamental to our self-perception), “contaminating” it with a keen reflection on neoliberal competitiveness, extending across all areas and folds of social and affective life. Darwin’s studio broadens its scope and becomes an incubator where future ideas grow and develop. It is an interweaving of past and future histories that does not hold proof or speculation on species evolution, which neither distorts nor idealizes, but opens a path towards a reformulation of the social values that structure contemporary existence. To equal extents, this returns to an essential moment, when epistemological tables were turned, and uses Darwin’s scientific tabula rasa to project or inscribe a new image of our future.

Gazing into the future is premised on revisiting the past with a lucid eye, parsing through myths that accreted as foundation for the writing of history, of the fictions that define nations, of the fabricated narratives that fragment history into centres and peripheries, occupied respectively by winners and losers.

Adrian Ghenie – Darwin’s Room will be accompanied by a book edited by Juerg Judin and Mihai Pop and published by Hatje Cantz Verlag. The Romanian edition will be published by Editura Humanitas.

Adrian Ghenie belongs to a generation that has demonstrated its ability to reflect upon the difficult and often traumatic underpinnings of local histories. The use of a nuanced examination of how the contemporary is shaped by memory and desire, convulsion and spectacle plays a central part in his work. Previous solo museum exhibitions include Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Málaga (2015); Museum for Contemporary Art, Denver (2012); S.M.A.K. Museum, Ghent (2010); and The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest (2009). Past group exhibitions include MAC Belfast (2015); SFMoMA (2012); Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (2012); Kunsthalle Mücsarnok, Budapest (2012); Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Bergamo (2010); and the Liverpool Biennial (2008). The artist currently lives and works in Cluj and Berlin.

The Romanian participation at the 56th Venice Biennale will include a second exhibition at the New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Research in Humanities. Curated by Diana Marincu, Inventing the Truth. On Fiction and Reality features the work of Romanian artists Michele Bressan, Carmen Dobre-Hametner, Alex Mirutziu, Lea Rasovszky, Stefan Sava, and Larisa Sitar.

Photos by Mathias Schormann, courtesy the artist and the Romanian Pavilion

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