Venice 2019 – “Oh my, with all the money I spent to sunbathe on those exotic beaches, I was very disappointed that the coral reef was soo bleached, not as colorful as I expected.” “It’s sooo hot, what’s happening to the weather this year?” “Can’t believe people do not collect their dogs’ droppings!” Everyday beach talk is on display at the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 58th international Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia… to make visitors reflect on our laziness and indifference in front of the climate change emergency.
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Artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė have architected the Sun & Sea (Marina) exhibition as a theater stage within the interior of a historic quayside building within the Marina Militare complex, near Arsenale. “Will the world end while we will be complaining about the bad reception or will be giving advices on our favourite suntan lotions?” Say the artists.
Visitors are invited to walk on an elevated platform from where they can look down to the artificially lit beach. Here, on stage, actors and volunteers of all ages and sizes perform everyday summer rituals in colourful bathing suits while sunbathing under the full glare of the sun over a mosaic of towels.
Initially, the fleshy tableau vivant appears light-hearted. After a while, the scene reveals the frailty of the human condition from a sun-like vantage point. The highly innovative take on the operatic form “addresses some of the most pressing ecological issues of our time with a ‘counter-monumental’ approach and ‘anti-baroque theatre’ set.”
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As the libretto unfolds, visitors are introduced to each individual in turn, through sung performances that reveal private preoccupations, ranging from trivial concerns about sunburn and plans for future vacations to nagging fears of environmental catastrophe, which surface as though from the depths of the characters’ troubled consciousness.
“Frivolous micro-stories on this crowded beach give way to broader, more serious topics and grow into a global symphony, a universal human choir addressing planetary scale issues; tired bodies offering a metonym for a tired planet”.
The Sun & Sea (Marina) won the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for “the inventive use of the venue to present a Brechtian opera as well as the Pavilion’s engagement with the city of Venice and its inhabitants.” Explained the jury at the press conference. “Sun & Sea (Marina) is a critique of leisure and of our times as sung by a cast of performers and volunteers portraying everyday people.”
Sun & Sea (Marina) is presented by Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts, curated by Lucia Pietroiusti, Curator of General Ecology and Live Programmes at the Serpentine Galleries in London and produced by Neon Realism.
All images: courtesy of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
- RELATED STORIES: discover more architecture and design from Lithuania on Archipanic…