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  • Apr 22, 2022

Weekly News Roundup: April 22, 2022

Photo of ORTA Collective’s member ALEXANDRA MOROZOVA inside the Circular Cardboard-Light Generator of Genius, 2022. Copyright ORTA Collective. Courtesy the artists.

Kazakhstan Pavilion Debuts in Venice Despite Shipping Delays

The ORTA Collective staged an opening night performance at the first-ever Kazakhstan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale on Thursday, April 21, after the collective’s artworks were caught up in shipping delays caused by Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. Despite the delays, the ORTA Collective’s members—Alexandra Morozova, Rustem Begenov, Darya Jumelya, Alexandr Bakanov, Sabina Kuangaliyeva—sourced local materials for the sci-fi-esque event at Spazio Arco in Dorsoduro. The Pavilion is titled “The Lai-Pi-Chu-Plee-Lapa Centre for the New Genius” and is a tribute to the legacy of the visionary modernist artist, theater-set-designer, and theorist Sergey Kalmykov, who died in 1967 in obscurity. The project is organized by Aspan Gallery founder Meruyert Kaliyeva after funding for the previous Kazakhstan Pavilion was pulled by the government shortly before the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Photo of the still life painting before restoration at Woodford Academy, New South Wales. Courtesy National Trust NSW.

17th-Century Dutch Still Life Recovered at Australian Academy

The National Trust of New South Wales announced this week that conservators had discovered the signature of Gerret Willemsz Heda on an old still-life painting of a half-eaten mince pie and upturned goblet. The name, which was recognized during a restoration of the canvas, dates the painting’s origins to 1640 when Heda was a teenager, and means it is possibly a collaboration with his father, the famous Dutch still-life painter, Willem Claesz Heda. The painting was one of 36 that the National Trust sent to conservators from the former Woodford Academy, located in the town of Blue Mountains in New South Wales, after it raised funds to restore key items from the building’s collection. The National Trust’s blog post about the discovery also speculates on the painting’s provenance, which could be linked to a wealthy 19th-century owner of the former colonial property.

Mleiha, Sharjah. Photo by Ali Omran. Courtesy the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Sharjah Biennial Gets Ready for 2023 Edition

Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) announced the names of more than 150 artists who will be participating in Sharjah Biennial 15 (SB15), titled “Thinking Historically in the Present,” which is scheduled to open on February 7, 2023. SB15 will feature 30 major commissioned artworks and will take place at 16 venues around the emirate of Sharjah. Curated by SAF’s director Hoor Al Qasimi, “Thinking Historically in the Present,” was originally conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor and builds on his curatorial legacy, with a working group and advisory committee composed of many of his closest collaborators. SB15 will run through June 11, 2023. See the full list of artists for the landmark edition here.

Aerial view of the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall. Courtesy the Gwangju Biennale Foundation.

Gwangju Biennale Picks a Title

It’s not a name, like the Singapore Biennale 2022’s “Natasha.” Instead, the curator of the 14th Gwangju Biennale, Sook-Kyung Lee, opted for something much more classical, selecting a title for the 2023 edition of the South Korean mega-exhibition, “Soft and weak like water.” Echoing a line from the ancient Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching, Lee’s title for the Biennale evokes “water’s capacity to embrace contradictions and paradoxes.” The exhibition will examine the “transformative and restorative potential of water as a metaphor, a force, and a method.” The Gwangju Biennale is scheduled to run from April 7 to July 9, 2023.