press release

The 3rd Valencia Biennial in 2005 we are currently presenting is dedicated to Water.

We should bear in mind that back in 2000 the UN announced two fundamental goals to address the issue of water on the planet, now considered one of the most pressing problems for a large part of the world's population. These objectives aim at cutting in half by the year 2015 the number of persons who still have no access to potable water, as well as reducing the number of people undernourished due to the lack of water.

Through the work of leading artists and the reflections of intellectuals, academics and students, the Valencia Biennial in 2005 will underline the huge importance of information and the importance of individual consciousness and our awareness of one of the most complex problems our planet is facing.

The Biennial hopes to heighten awareness of water as the source of all life. It will do so through the impact of art and all the other contemporary creative languages, and hopefully it will help us reach conclusions on this transcendental question.

The Valencia Biennial in 2005 addresses the theme of Water using many complementary recourses: installation, performance, sculpture, painting, photography, promoting life, energy, information, interest, curiosity, fun. Yet all this on its own would not be enough if the Biennial were not able to transmit, using the crucial vehicle of the media, something as basic as the fact that building a well in Africa costs 2000 euros and vastly improves the lives of the average of about 300 persons who inhabit a village. And this is coupled with the intellectual and political mission of a huge laboratory dedicated to the culture of our times.

Water is a worldwide concern tackled head-on in events involving leading artists and exponents of the various contemporary creative languages.

Water is a universal and ecumenical question. Given the overarching reach of the issue and its many facets, we have conceived a hitherto unprecedented multilateral project.

Water is the essential source of all life (l'arché according to Thales of Miletus).

Water is the primordial metaphor of existence, of its eternal flow, its ungraspability, the continuous never-changing flux seen in and among people, in mutating relationships between objects, sensations and the ideas of the society of the past, present and future.

Looked at as a means of communication, Water has the potential to bring together or divide humankind, peoples and cultures. It is at once a source of harmony and a cause for conflict. Similarly to other forms of communication, Water ebbs and flows, meanders and gushes in torrents, floods, changes form, speed and mass. Like communication, Water bombards all five senses –sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing.

Water has carved the landscape and is at the base of all cultures, configuring the personality of its inhabitants and its hopes for a better future.

The third Valencia Biennial opens on 24th September and continues until the end of November 2005. We are presenting:

1) The central exhibition: Thoughts of a Fish in the Deep Sea Seung-duk Kim, Franck Gautherot

Curating a biennial exhibition is a sort of volunteering in an unfamiliar zone, a sort of mission abroad when your habits and normal daily territory have vanished in another land. A land full of possible matters and encounters, a land of desire, a treasure island to discover and to inhabit. A land of conflicts but a zone of autonomy. Temporary settlements are often more productive and energetic partly because they are temporary.

In an exhibition, artists are like you and me, rather humans without a cause but with some feelings and cleverness. Most of them have some kind of wisdom that makes them totally aware of any situations and able to answer with a real commitment and rightness. Between the cultural strategy of Valencia, the tension on the water resources and the forthcoming America’s cup that will be hosted here in 2007, we tried to locate our show within these issues. For this our proposal is something like this: “Between any “bourgeois” luxurious scenes of bright swimming pools paintings and sarcastic and even destructive formal statements on water, there is a large space for a show where the spectators will have to follow the paths of various experimentations. Foggy and tropical, frozen has have to be generous and appealing, diverse and astonishing, joyful and dramatic, radical and chic…” But we never thought that an artwork produced around this theme will become a model to follow or a proposal to be reshaped in the real world as a solution. It is some kind of cosmetics, erasing a bit of wrinkles, refreshing the air with a cool fragrance, proposing a perceptual experience. Visuality, physicality, virtuality, and more if possible. Located in the Convento Carmen, a place with a recent memory of modernism in the way that it has sheltered the first IVAM, a space with historical remembrance of the order of “Carmelitas Calzados” and also because convents were quiet places for retirement, self-exile to God’s heart, shelters to hide, or Rablaisian free experimentations without moral restraints, the show obviously should address to the future. A future for art when artists will be asked to be the shamanic bureaucrats, the last prophets, the last poets but also the new actors for an urban dialog including scientists and musicians, politicians and magicians, curators and doctors, writers and designers, citizens and wives/husbands, witches and children, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

As a viewer, it is maybe necessary to adopt the point of view of a fish instead. From the water up to the sky, there is a way to organize the dialectics of the water and the earth, of the liquid and solid, of the sea and the islands, of the fluidity and the consistency, sedimentation and erosion, construction and destruction… The show is dealing with submarine and surface, with units of territory seen as islands. Different levels of understanding and viewing. Instead of statements on the water, we developed proposals for some virtual units: Without providing a guided visit of this exhibition, the following is slicing it into different units to be perceived rather than a real territory but more as a virtual land expressing a climate, a feeling, a formal atmosphere.

FOGGY TROPICAL Arto Lindsay (1953, USA), Yayoi Kusama (1929, Japan), Moon Shin (1923-1995, South Korea), Andreu Alfaro (1929, Spain), Dennis Santachiara (1950, Italy), Lynda Benglis (1941, USA)

Foggy tropical is as literal as possible when a fog has invaded the entrance and left you lost in an out of focus situation. But songs make you feel safe and ready for the journey.

CLOISTERED ISLAND Gimhongsok (1964 South Korea), Marc Camille CHaimowicz (1946, UK/France), Olivier Mosset (1944, Switzerland), Hwang Jungmyung (1975, South Korea), John Armleder (1948, Switzerland), Alessandra Tesi (1969, Italy)

This island is a memory of the former inhabitants of the place who built it in the XIIIth century and used by order of Carmelitas Calzados, what in a parallel path, Alessandra Tesi explored in her video projected on a frozen rain of pearls. The memory is also the one of certain kind of “cold” abstraction.

DREAM FACTORY ISLAND Nicolas Schoffer (1912-1996, France) This island is dedicated to French artist Nicolas Schoffer who dreamed and designed his entire life to an art based on interaction with the viewer and the world.

ARCHIPELAGO Jesus Rafael Soto (1923-2005, France), Juan Pineda (1963, Spain), Miltos Manetas (1964, Greece), Rafael Rozendaal (1980, The Netherlands), Angelo Plessas (1974, Greece), Julie Atlas Muz (1973, USA), Angela Bulloch (1966, UK), François Morellet (1926, France), Alain Séchas (1955, France), Otto Muehl (1925, Austria), Hiraki Sawa (1977, Japan), Xavier Veilhan (1963, France)

This archipelago, heterogeneous by definition, is tied together with different generations of artists and various formal strategies that go from classical self-standing sculptures, to video projections and environments. The main room, gothic with a touch a modernism appears to be like a huge movie theater accessible through a soft yellow rain. The videos are mainly organized by several artists who created website works (the title of the work is the address of the website).

RIVERS OF BABYLONE Kohei Nawa (1975, Japan), On Kawara (Japan), Lawrence Weiner (1942, USA)

Rivers permit the transition, allow the passages through, break within. Kohei Nawa’s fantasy is to be able to sculpt the liquid, to give a shape to something that cannot be given. In the staircase to the first floor, the sound rain of Kawara showers you with numbers, all the numbers that count a million years. Lawrence Weiner sharply draws the « boiling point » and introduces the last zone of the show.

SARGASSO SEA Juan Amondarain (1964, Spain), Tono Barrreiro (1965, Spain), Sergio Belinchón (1971, Spain), Sylvie Fleury (1961, Switzerland), Carlo Gavazzeni (1965, Italy), Anthony Goicolea (1971, USA), Duane Hanson (1925-1992, USA), Richard Kern (1954, USA), Gyula Kosice (1924, Argentina), Robert Longo (1953, USA), Mireya Maso (1963, Spain), Gustav Metzger (1926), Terry Rodgers (1947, USA), Serse (1952, Italy), Jane Simpson (1965, UK), Massimo Vitali (1944, Italy) A sea where winds have stopped to blow, could be a zone of despair for the sailor, but could also be a land of tranquility for the viewer. A place where the exhibited works deal with the representation of any waters, almost in the great and historical tradition of the « marines » (in French « marines » means seascapes, but also « navy » and seascapes often depict navy battles).

A short list of 44 artists is not, of course covering the whole panorama of the contemporary world art scene, but rather pointing on some singular positions and practices. It doesn’t exclude artists already passed away (and the homage is given to Jesus Raphael Soto, Moon Shin, Nicolas Schoffer, Duane Hanson) as it doesn’t exclude the younger generation even if it is not the main focus of this show.

There will be songs to accompany your visit, thanks to Arto Lindsay who accepted the challenge to compose them. A soundtrack and a cover girl that you already saw on the poster, the invitation card, the cover of the catalogue and sides of Valencian buses: Julie Atlas Muz danced for the press opening at the Oceanografico with the Red Sea fishes. An excerpt of her dance is presented on video.

2) Communication Project: Looking Out to Sea The work by Marusela Granell Campderá, an artist from Valencia, consists in creating the possibility of contemplating the image of the sea in the middle of the city.

A camera on the beach will relay live images of the sea, just sea and sky, together with sounds of the sea, to screens located in various points around the city, in strategic everyday hubs: metro, airport, train station.

The artist's wish is to provoke emotions, to transmit a lingering memory of the sea that invites contemplation, a deceleration of time and a process of reflection from the individual, the passer-by, the observer, the traveller in the midst of the everyday hustle and bustle.

The chosen spots for the screens during the Biennial are:

- The Manises Airport (Valencia), opening a huge window to the sea for all travellers and visitors to Valencia; - the tunnels in the metro system will offer different images every day. Every dawn and nightfall will mark a different time running parallel to the time of clocks, bookending the beginning and end of the day.

The sea in Valencia (relayed to all points of the world via internet) is the best ambassador for a Biennial dedicated to Water.

3) Opening performance: Dance/Fashion On the afternoon of 24th September, to celebrate the opening of the 3rd Valencia Biennial, the Choreographic Centre of the Valencian Community will present, at the Convento del Carmen, a performance with 13 dancers in costumes inspired by water, designed by 13 designers from Valencia: Anamaría; C.L.C. – La Cantante Calva; Siglo Cero; Dolores Cortés; Julio Díaz; Carlos Haro; Matilda; Francis Montesinos; Nona- Noelia Navarro; Jaime Piquer; PORFÍN- Alejandro Sáez de la Torre; Tonuca; Alex Vidal; Hannibal Laguna.

4) Tie-in Events This 3rd Biennial will also host several parallel events organized and presented by the Choreographic Centre of the Valencian Community, the Valencian Institute of Music, the Valenciano Film Institute, the 3rd Valldigna Music Festival, Folklore groups and concerts by local Music Bands.

Biennale Valencia 2005 / 3rd Biennial of Valencia
Water (Without you I'm not)
A Luigi Settembrini´s project

The central exhibition
"Thoughts of a fish in the deep sea"
Künstler: Andreu Alfaro, Juan Amondarain, John Armleder, Tono Barrreiro, Sergio Belinchon, Lynda Benglis, Angela Bulloch, Marusela Granell Campdera, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Sylvie Fleury, Carlo Gavazzeni, Gimhongsok , Anthony Goicolea, Gyula Kosice, Duane Hanson, Hwang Jungmyung, Richard Kern, Robert Longo, Kohei Nawa, Yayoi Kusama, Arto Lindsay, Miltos Manetas, Gustav Metzger, Mireya Maso, Moon Shin, François Morellet, Olivier Mosset, On Kawara, Otto Muehl, Julie Atlas Muz, Juan Pineda, Angelo Plessas, Terry Rodgers, Rafael Rozendaal, Denis Santachiara, Hiraki Sawa, Nicolas Schoeffer, Alain Sechas, Serse , Jane Simpson, Jesús Rafael Soto, Alessandra Tesi, Xavier Veilhan, Massimo Vitali, Lawrence Weiner
Kuratoren: Franck Gautherot, Seungduk Kim