PENUMBRA

An exhibition with 8 newly commissioned video installations at Venice Biennale 2022

20 APRIL – 27 NOVEMBER 2022

COMPLESSO DELL’OSPEDALETTO, VENICE

Fondazione In Between Art Film is pleased to announce Penumbra, its first exhibition opening to the public on 20 April 2022 at the Ospedaletto and Church of Santa Maria dei Derelitti in Venice on the occasion of the 59th International Art ExhibitionLa Biennale di Venezia.

Penumbra will feature a series of new video and filmic productions commissioned to Karimah Ashadu, Jonathas De Andrade, Aziz Hazara, He Xiangyu, Masbedo, James Richards, Emilija Škarnulytė, and Ana Vaz.

Curators: Alessandro Rabottini and Leonardo Bigazzi

Penumbra will be accompanied by a cross-disciplinary public programme that will involve the artists featured in the exhibition and expand the conversations around their practice, via panels with international curators and thinkers.

Curators: Bianca Stoppani and Paola Ugolini

Images of Ospedaletto and Church of Santa Maria dei Derelitti by Giacomo Bianco

Curated by Alessandro Rabottini and Leonardo Bigazzi—respectively Artistic Director and Curator at the Fondazione—Penumbra will feature a series of new video and filmic productions commissioned to Karimah Ashadu (1985, UK), Jonathas De Andrade (1982, Brazil), Aziz Hazara (1992, Afghanistan), He Xiangyu (1986, China), Masbedo (Nicolò Massazza, 1973 and Iacopo Bedogni, 1970, Italy), James Richards (1983, UK), Emilija Škarnulytė (1987, Lithuania), and Ana Vaz (1986, Brazil). All eight works deal in different ways with pressing contemporary issues and are commissioned and produced by Fondazione In Between Art Film, an initiative founded by Beatrice Bulgari.

The exhibition Penumbra, the title of which evokes a space of partial illumination, takes inspiration from the rarefied atmosphere of Venice and the hybrid architecture of the Ospedaletto and Church of Santa Maria dei Derelitti, and turns its architecture into a cinematic machine. The show stages a reflection on moving images as a space of material and metaphorical transformation. Penumbra showcases the Fondazione’s mission to promote the culture of moving images and support international artists, institutions and theorists that explore the dialogue between disciplines and time-based media.

Beatrice Bulgari, President of Fondazione In Between Art Film, said: “As a passionate advocate of moving images and patron of institutions such as MAXXI Museum, Tate Modern, the Venice Biennale, and dOCUMENTA, I created Fondazione In Between Art Film in 2019 to formally extend this support directly to international artists, curators and writers working in the field of moving images. Our commitment is increasingly focused on commissioning and producing original works: being in close contact with the artists through the process of realising their visions feeds into the Fondazione’s mission to further the role and potential of the moving image in our time. Venice is a unique city and its Biennale is an international stage, which makes it a natural choice for our first exhibition. I am pleased to bring eight new commissions to the attention of the global public, with the hope of contributing to the cultural life of the city as well as to the debate on some of the most pressing issues of our times.”

Exploring the areas of the Complesso dell’Ospedaletto where these different times and functions have unexpectedly layered, the works featured in Penumbra propose a reflection on penumbral states of vulnerability and immunity, memory and history, truth and fiction, and visibility and opacity, within the current landscape of global transformations. The exhibition design by Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and his studio 2050+ reflects on the history of the location whilst also spatialising the curatorial concept.

Built in 1517 as a temporary structure to shelter destitute people, the Ospedaletto soon became one of the most important hospitals in Venice. Its temporary structures gradually gave way to permanent wards and a church, the design of which was influenced by Andrea Palladio. Over the centuries, the Complesso dell’Ospedaletto was reworked following contemporary tastes: from Baroque interventions by Baldassare Longhena onto the church facade to decorations by some of the most famous artists of the time, such as Giambattista Tiepolo. Further additions included a courtyard and loggia, again designed by Longhena, a spiral staircase designed by Giuseppe Sardi, and an elliptical concert hall decorated with illusionistic paintings by Tiepolo’s pupil Jacopo Guarana. This stratification of architectures was accompanied by various changes of purpose that continued up until recently when the Complesso dell’Ospedaletto was the site of a retirement house before becoming a cultural venue thanks to Ospedaletto Contemporaneo promoted by Venews Arts.

Alessandro RabottiniArtistic Director, and Leonardo BigazziCurator, of Fondazione In Between Art Film, said: “The spaces of the Complesso dell’Ospedaletto evoke a polyphony of stories, times and functions. For centuries, this has been a place for care and hope, and today its architecture manifests multiple narratives stratified over time. Starting from this very special context, the exhibition Penumbra brings together eight new video installations commissioned from as many international artists.

These works accompany us through the multiple meanings that the concept of a ‘grey area’ brings forth, telling of transitional states and transformational spaces: from dark to light, from human to non-human, from history to fiction, and from truth to uncertainty. From the literal interpretation of ‘penumbra’ as the effect of a solar eclipse on the Earth, we move to the metaphorical interpretation of a space in which the demarcation between opposing categories proves to be ambiguous and fallacious. The title of the exhibition is also a reference to the condition of absence of light, which is necessary for moving images to be visible. We could not have imagined a better context than Venice for an exhibition made up of both darkness and sudden flashes. We look forward to continuing to show these works in different contexts in the future.”

Penumbra will be accompanied by a cross-disciplinary public programme curated by Bianca Stoppani and Paola Ugolini—respectively Editor and Curator at the Fondazione—that will involve the artists featured in the exhibition and expand the conversations around their practice, via panels with international curators and thinkers.

ARTISTS BIOGRAPHIES

Karimah Ashadu (b. 1985, UK) is a British-Nigerian artist who lives and works between Hamburg and Lagos. Ashadu’s practice concerns the perception of self and place, as well as the concepts of labour and patriarchy relating to the socio-economic context of Nigeria and West Africa. Her work has been exhibited and screened in institutions such as Kunstverein, Hamburg; Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig; MoMA, New York; and Center d’Art Contemporain Geneva. Ashadu received the ars viva award (2020) and the Contemporary art prize (2020), Rotary Club. She also received awards at festivals such as the Ann Arbor Film Festival, European Media Art Festival, and Euro Video. Her work is part of the public collections of MoMA, New York; and Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain de la Ville de Genève (FMAC). In 2020, Ashadu founded her film production company Golddust by Ashadu, which specializes in artists’ films on black culture and African discourses. She was named Abigail R. Cohen Fellow 2021 at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Paris.

Jonathas De Andrade (b. 1982, Brazil) is an artist who lives and works in Recife. De Andrade uses installations, photographs and videos to explore the effects of power dynamics in society, the evolution of humanity and of ethics with the aim of reflecting on the lasting consequences of modernist culture—something that has profoundly changed Brazilian society due to numerous political decisions made in the twentieth century. His works have been shown in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; New Museum, New York; The Power Plant, Toronto; Museu de Arte de São Paulo; Museu de Arte do Rio; Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal; Kunsthalle Lissabon; Centro Cultural São Paulo; among many others. De Andrade’s works were also presented at the MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, Montréal (2019); Istanbul Biennial (2019); SITE Santa Fe; 32nd Biennial of San Paolo; Performa15, New York; Biennial of Lyon (2013); New Museum Triennial, New York (2011); and Mercosul Biennial (2009); among many others.

Aziz Hazara (b. 1992, Afghanistan) is an artist working across various media such as video installation, photography, sound, and sculpture. His work addresses the relationship between dichotomies such as proximity and distance, migration and memory, reality and fiction in the context of war on terror, amongst many others. In 2021, Hazara has been awarded with the Future Generation Art Prize. Hazara has shown his works at institutions such as PinchukArtCentre, Kyiv; Hessel Museum of Art – CCS Bard College, New York; Netwerk Aalst; 22nd Biennale of Sydney; and IKOB, Eupen; among others. He has also participated in residential programmes at Colomboscope, Colombo; Embassy of Foreign Artists (EoFA), Geneva; Camargo Foundation, Cassis; and KHOJ – International Artists’ Association, New Delhi. He is currently residence artist at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, and a grantee of KfW Stiftung.

He Xiangyu (b. 1986, China) is an artist and film director who lives and works in Berlin. Emerging from a generation of artists who have experienced the radical changes in China’s society reverberated within the economy and international relations, He’s practice is based on his unique cultural experience. Using a diverse range of media, his work contemplates and echoes the fatalistic micro conflicts on specific individuals in a time of macro geopolitical and historical turbulence. He’s works have been shown at institutions such as Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; OCAT Institute, Shanghai; Para Site, Hong Kong; The Drawing Center, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago; Kadist Foundation, San Francisco; LACMA, Los Angeles; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin, among others. He’s works were also presented at the 58th La Biennale di Venezia – China Pavilion, 13th Biennale de Lyon, 10th Shanghai Biennale, 5th Yokohama Triennale, and 8th Busan Biennale. More recently, He Xiangyu was shortlisted for the “Mario Merz Prize” (2021) and the “Future Generation Art Prize” (2014).

Masbedo is Nicolò Massazza (b. 1973, Italy) and Iacopo Bedogni (b. 1970, Italy). They live in Milan and have been working together since 1999, focussing on video art and installations. They express themselves through the language of video, using different formats such as performance, theater, installation, photography and, recently, cinema. Their works have been exhibited in museums, biennials and institutions including ICA, Milan; MAMM – Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; Manifesta12, Palermo; Center Pompidou / Forum des Images, Paris; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; MART, Rovereto; Merz Foundation, Turin; Leopold Museum, Vienna; MAMBA – Museum of Modern Art of Buenos Aires; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; MAXXI, Rome, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and 53rd International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, just to name a few.

James Richards (b. 1983, UK) is an artist who lives and works between Berlin and London. His works have been presented in personal exhibitions at Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Malmö Konsthall; Künstlerhaus Stuttgart; Chapter Arts Center, Cardiff; ICA, London; Bergen Kunsthall; Kunstverein München; Chisenhale Gallery, London, among others. Richards’ works have also been featured in group shows at the Camden Arts Center, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis; MoMA, New York; Artists Space, New York; and the 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia. In 2017, Richards represented Wales at the 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, and in 2014 he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

Emilija Škarnulytė (b. 1987, Lithuania) is an artist and film director. Working between documentary and the imaginary, Škarnulytė makes films and immersive installations exploring deep time and invisible structures, from the cosmic and geologic to the ecological and political. Škarnulytė won the Future Generation Art Prize 2019, represented Lithuania at the XXII Triennale di Milano, and was included in the Baltic Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (2021); Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel (2021); Den Frie, Copenhagen (2021); National Gallery of Art in Vilnius (2021); CAC, Vilnius (2015); and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2017); as well as in group exhibitions at Ballroom Marfa, Seoul Museum of Art, Kadist Foundation and the 1st Riga Biennial. Her films are included in the collections of IFA, Kadist Foundation and Center Pompidou and have been screened at the Serpentine Gallery, London; Pompidou Center, Paris; as well as at film festivals in Rotterdam, Busan and Oberhausen. Škarnulytė is the founder and currently co-directs the Polar Film Lab, a collective in Tromsø that works with analogue cinema, and is a member of the artistic duo New Mineral Collective, which was recently commissioned a new work by the 1st Toronto Biennial.

Ana Vaz (b. 1986, Brazil) is an artist and film director who works with and considers cinema as a tool. Her films, or rather her film-poems, travel through territories and events haunted by the perennial consequences of internal and external forms of colonialism, and their footprints on the earth as well as on human and different from human forms. Her practice can also take the shape of writing, critical pedagogy, installations, film programs or ephemeral events, which are expansions or developments of her films. Her works have been presented, screened and discussed at film festivals, seminars and institutions such as Tate Modern, London; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Jeu de Paume, Paris; LUX Moving Images, London; New York Film Festival – Projections; TIFF Wavelengths, Toronto; BFI, London; Cinéma du Réel, Paris; TABAKALERA, San Sebastián; Whitechapel Gallery, London; MAM – Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo; Sesc-Belenzinho, São Paulo; Matadero, Madrid; Jameel Arts Center, Dubai; Confort Moderne, Poitiers; Savvy Contemporary, Berlin; Sonic Acts, Amsterdam; among others. Vaz is also a founding member of the COYOTE collective along with Tristan Bera, Nuno da Luz, Elida Hoëg and Clémence Seurat, an interdisciplinary group working between ecology and political science through conceptual and experimental formats.