Exhibition: June 3rd—July 2nd, 2011 in parallel with the 54th Venice Biennale
Curated by Silvia Burini
Artists and Works
“God Possibly Surrounds” – said the poet Alexander Vvedensky. It was in Leningrad in 1930. A completely different age, a different country, a different city – everything was different and had a different name. But these words have remained because no more important words could be said.
History, one way or around, “surrounds” – the everyday career and domestic fighting against a background of the global news: vibrations of the political regimes, fluctuations of the social climate, economic booms and crises, marvels of science and fancies of art.
The poet said: “Possibly”. If there is enough levity, we assume that all that is happening has a meaning. If there is enough courage, we do not assume. “The star of non-sense shines, It alone is bottomless” – that’s what he said.
“God” is the one who called you, and, whether you like it or not, you will have to reply: “This is I”. So, if He – Possibly – Surrounds, then where – in reality – are we?
We are here.
This is a project about presence.
Sooner or later, the light of distant stars reaches us. In an electronic telescope, red stars look exactly like rag rugs crocheted by our grandmas. On school photographs, little red stars are fastened to school uniforms. Familiar faces emerge on a film in the red light of a darkroom. Red light from the church stained-glass windows bathes the figures of parishioners.
Our memory is the only thing that connects these things. Even though these things have no connection to us. The distant stars had been gone long before we were born. People on the photographs no longer exist. Masters that were building the church did not know that we would come there. It is not for us that the parishioners are praying. But rags gather into rugs, rays into a star, shadows on a glass into faces – if we think about them and while we think about them.
We think about those who were here. About the people who lay these walls. About the people who lay them anew. Who were present when everything had a different name, in a different country, in a different city. Those people are here; they are breathing in our faces. The rhythm of this breathing matches ours. They are everywhere. Maybe they are not even people.
We think about those whom we do not know. About the Others. It is hard for us to overcome the fear that somebody is watching us. It is hard for us to abandon the hope that somebody is actually bothered with us. Whatever they may be – angels, ancestors, intelligent microbes or extraterrestrials – we always expect guests. We prepare for the encounter. They will come and, together, we shall push PLAY.
We shall play a new game whose rules are unknown to us. In fact, there are no rules, what rules could there possibly be when He surrounds. We are leaving for outer space without leaving our home. Water drops fly by like planets, and each of them reflects a world. The Book soars in the sky; grass grows sky-high and, in it, we are no bigger than a grasshopper.
But we are here. We are always here.