Venice Architecture Biennale, 2021
Exhibition: Time, Space, Existence (European Cultural Centre, Italy)
Images: Venetian Blinds at Palazzo Mora, Venice, Italy
Mirjana Lozanovska, Australia
[With Assistance of Voon Yiann (Beverlea) Low. Film extracts refer to films by Anne Scott Wilson, Simon Grennan + Lienors Torres + Sarah Neville, the 2019 Exhibition, Venetian Blind shown at the 58th Venice Art Biennale by Cameron Bishop and David Cross]
Title of the work, year of production
Venetian Blinds, 2020-2021
Material/technique of the artwork
Viewing Devices – folded paper
Film – Extracts from film using the Viewing Devices, with interview recordings
“Habitus” section strip
Courtesy of/ Sponsored by
Deakin University; Council of Greater Geelong.
Venice is a city of travel and trade. Tourism is preceded by slave-trade, pilgrimage to the holy land, naval shipping, shipbuilding and commerce. Migrations of the local populations to nearby mainland destinations are entangled with the migration of thousands of Italians to the new worlds – America, Canada and Australia. Most Australians are able to identify what are sometimes called ‘Terrazzo Houses’ houses built by first generation migrants from southern Europe to Australia (and Canada) in the postwar period. Venetian blinds adorned their windows.
Venetian Blinds is the third in a series of works that experiments with visual strategies and longterm exploration “how does architecture participate in the tensions of the human subject as a vascillation between in-dwelling, mobility and estrangement?” Lozanovska conceptualises and curates works, devises provocations, and creates perceptions of architecture through a lens of its ‘otherness’ – aesthetic economies, everyday corporeality, and textual inscription. The first iteration, Terrazzo (2019) explored the visual power and presence of migrant houses of Italians and others in the Australian landscape. The house image represented literally via photographs of migrant houses was then treated in various modes of visual revision. House images were folded in paper geometries (Lozanovska) revising perspectives and visual perceptions of the house; the photographs were treated as archeological tracings and reconstructed as layers in densely packed perspex allusions to architectural elements (Jackson); and the movements, corporeal functions intervened architectural drawings to create a palimpsest of ‘habitus’ (Napiza, Siamphukdee, Jackson). In Terrazzo-Doge (2019) four artists deployed new self-foldable paper ‘telescopes’ as a way to see Venice, mediated by the visual apparatus of Melbourne’s Italianate migrant houses [2019, Lozanovska, Anne Scott Wilson, Simon Grennan, Lienors Torres, Sarah Neville, Venetian Blind, by Cameron Bishop and David Cross, 58th Venice Art Biennale]. Venetian Blinds, is the third iteration completed with assistance from Voon Yiann (Beverlea) Low.
Venetian Blinds is a way of encountering Venice through Terrazzo. The paper geometries are – altered and translated – into viewing devices – as way of looking at Venice through the burden of the migrant house. New geometries are folded into telescopic devices. Added to these are the imageries – representations of migrant house tell-tale details, partially erased drawings due to the return-migration of the migrant houses to Italy, and specifically to the city of canals, bridges, and love, from Melbourne to Venice (inversing/repeating/migratory travels). In 2019 four artists curated Venice through the visual devices of Melbourne migrant houses into short films. Migrant houses evoke labour, work, collective force, as well as uncertainty, shared loss, emptiness. The weight of life in a suitcase. Venetian Blinds points to the blindspots of Venice, what is only seen secretly, or perversely, or not at all. Its diaspora and diversity are distant. What are the tell-tales of Venice? The viewing devices invite alternate ways to view Venice – finding other tales within its well-used narratives of beauty and commerce; and other tales altogether. The optical apparatus that offered pictorial details of migrant houses now becomes the frames for viewing Venice, returning the city to its narrative of departures rather than arrivals.
Exhibition Details: https://ecc-italy.eu/exhibitions/nowopen