Exhibition: 11 May – 24 Nov 2019
Thu 9 May 13:00
Venice Biennale - DENMARK
The Danish Pavilion At the 58th International Art Exhibition will Present
Heirloom by Larissa Sansour
11 May – 24 November 2019
Danish Pavilion, Giardini della Biennale, Venice
At the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the Danish-Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour will present Heirloom, an otherworldly rumination on memory, history and identity. Curated by Nat Muller, the exhibition will comprise of a two-channel science-fiction film, a sculptural installation and an architectural intervention, inviting the viewer into a dark universe.
“The film, entitled ‘In Vitro’, is staged in the town of Bethlehem decades after an eco-disaster. The dying founder of a subterranean orchard is engaged in a dialogue with her young successor, who is born underground and has never seen the town she’s destined to replant and repopulate. Inherited trauma, exile and collective memory are central themes.
The younger woman struggles with her memories of the past, dismissing them as nothing but reductive patterns, tropes and iconography. This is a topic of great interest to me. In my recent work, the negotiation of identity markers and signifiers is a key focus. While these aim to erect the pillars of a shared understanding, they also tend to rid the notions they emphasise of any significance, eventually rendering them meaningless.
“The sculptural installation takes a psychological object from the film and recreates it as a large-scale monument. It further explores the protagonist’s trauma and converts it to a physically imposing fact.”
The interplay between fiction and reality, the ever-evolving merger of myth and history, is a recurring theme in Sansour’s art. As curator Nat Muller explains: “Science fiction becomes a vehicle in which imaginaries and future scenarios can be challenged and tested, and in which individual narratives and personal experiences intertwine with collective ones; it becomes a place and time in which remembrance and forgetfulness compete, and where the past, the present, and even the future, might be dispossessed. Nevertheless it is also is a realm of possibility, of alternative world-making, if not radical alterity.”
The film ‘In Vitro’ is directed with Søren Lind and features the internationally-renowned Palestinian actors Hiam Abbass and Maisa Abd Elhadi. It was filmed in Bethlehem, London and Oxfordshire.