Details of The Holy See Pavilion at the Venice Biennale announced today

This afternoon, through the Vatican information Service, Cardinal Ravasi head of the Pontifical Council of Culture announced details of the Holy See’s pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. As previously announced, the pavilion will be inspired by story of Genesis, the first book of the Bible and is entitled ‘In the Beginning’. Three different aspects of Genesis chapers 1-11 have been selected, after ‘ wide ranging discussions on the multiplicity of themes offered by this inexhaustible source…’ Cardinal Ravasi said today. Genesis chapters 1-11 were chosen because they are ‘ dedicated to the mystery of man’s origins, the introduction of evil into history, and our hope and future projects after the devastation symbolically represented by the Flood’.

The three themes of Creation, Uncreation and Re-creation, have each been entrusted to a different artist and the overall pavilion co-ordinated by Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums. Cardinal Ravasi explained the different themes:

” ‘Creation’ concentrates on the first part of the biblical narrative, when the creative act is introduced through the Word and the breath of the Holy Spirit…’Uncreation’ on the other hand, invites us to focus on the choice of going against God’s original plan through forms of ethical and material destruction, such as original sin and the first murder, inviting us to reflect on the inhumanity of man to man” In the final section, Ravasi said, on the theme of ‘Recreation’,  a new start for humanity is triggered out of the Flood. “In this biblical story the concept of a voyage and and the themes of seeking and hope, represented by the figure of Noah and his family and then by Abraham and his progeny, eventually lead to the designation of the New Man and a renewed creation”.

Antonio Paolucci then spoke of the artists who had been commissioned: Studio Azzurro, an arts group founded in 1982 by Fabio Cirifino (Photography), Paolo Rosa (visual art and cinema) and Leonardo Sangiorgi (graphics) in Milan, the Moravian photographer Josef Koudelka, and the American artist, Lawrence Carroll

“The theme of Creation was entrusted to Studio Azzurro which places the immaterial image, light, sound, and sensory stimuli at the centre of their artistic investigation… Their work triggers a dialogue, awash with echoes and reverberations, between the vegetable and animal kingdoms and the human dimension, which leads, via memory, to other personal narrations on the concept of origins within an interactive plane that is also a temporal intersection.” The photographer Josef Koudelka is responsible for Uncreation. The power of his panoramic, black and white, speaks of the opposition between the human being and the world with its laws—moral and natural—and the material destruction that comes from a loss of a moral sense. Re-Creation was entrusted to the artist Lawrence Carroll, who is capable of giving life to salvaged materials, transfiguring them through processes of reconsideration and regeneration and who, against all odds, opens new possibilities of coexistence between as seemingly unrelated dimensions as fragility and monumentality”.

Paolo Baratta, director of the Biennale, hailed the participation of the Holy See as an “event of great importance”

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