Leonor Antunes: a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot / Portugal Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale 2019

At the 58th Venice Biennale, Portugal is represented by the artist Leonor Antunes. Curated by João Ribas, the exhibition at Palazzo Giustinian is titled “a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot”. In this video, we have a look at the exhibition and speak with the artist about her solo show. “Leonor Antunes: a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot” runs until November 24, 2019. Leonor Antunes is also participating in the exhibition “Resonating Spaces: Antunes, Bächli, Khedoori, Philipsz, Whiteread” at Fondation Beyeler in Riehen (Basel, Switzerland) (until January 26, 2020).

Leonor Antunes: a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot. Portugal Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Interview with Leonor Antunes, Venice (Italy), May 9, 2019.

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Press text:

The Official Portuguese Representation at the 58th Venice Biennale presents Leonor Antunes: a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot, at the Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, curated by João Ribas.

Engaging with histories of art, architecture, and design, Leonor Antunes’ work reflects on the functions of everyday objects and their potential to be translated into abstract sculptures. The exhibition’s point of departure is Antunes’ significant research into key figures in the cultural history of Venice, such as the architects and designers Carlo Scarpa, Franco Albini and Franca Helg, as well as the legacies of the patronage of Savina Masieri and architecture of Egle Trincanato, who were both active in the city in the post-war period.

Working with traditional makers from the region, Antunes will link these cultural histories by looking at the intersection between Scarpa’s work and various forms of craftmanship from Italy, Japan and Portugal, with materials including glass, wood and cork. The exhibition will also draw attention to the lesser-known contributions of Masieri, such as her commissions for Frank Lloyd Wright and Scarpa, and Trincanato, who was not only the first female graduate of the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia, and author of a pioneering study of popular Venetian architecture from the XIII to the XVIII century, but also director of Palazzo Ducale and president of Querini Stampalia. a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot will explore how both these women played a pivotal role in shaping a conception of Venice as a “modern” city.

The exhibition Leonor Antunes: a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot, curated by João Ribas, was selected via an unprecedented open call competition organized by the Directorate-General of Arts in the summer of 2018. The Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, on the Grand Canal, is one of the works of architect Baldassare Longhena, best known for the Palazzo Pesaro, the Palazzo Rezzonico, and the Church of Santa Maria Della Salute.

The Portugal Pavilion was commissioned by the Government of Portugal – Ministry of Culture – Directorate-General for the Arts.

Leonor Antunes (b.1972, Lisbon) lives and works in Berlin. Her recent solo exhibitions include: the last days in Galliate, Pirelli HangarBicocca (2018); a thousand realities from an original mark, Marian Goodman Gallery, London (2018); discrepancies with C.P., Museo Tamayo (2018); the frisson of the togetherness, Whitechapel Gallery (2017); a spiral staircase leads down the garden, SFMOMA (2016); the pliable plane, CAPC Musée D’art Contemporain de Bordeaux (2015); I Stand Like a Mirror Before You, New Museum (2015); a secluded and pleasant land in this land I wish to dwell, Pérez Art Museum (2014); the last days in Chimalistac, Kunsthalle Basel (2013). Her work has been presented in recent group exhibitions such as: And Berlin Will Always Need You, Martin-Gropius-Bau (2019); 12th Gwangju Biennale (2018); Space Shifters, Hayward Gallery (2018); the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); Machines à penser, Fondazione Prada (2017); Condemned to be Modern, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) (2017); Slip of the Tongue, Punta della Dogana (2015); Sharjah Biennale 12 (2015); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); Singapore Biennale (2011) among others.

João Ribas is a writer and curator based in Porto. He was previously Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, where he also served as Deputy Director and Senior Curator (2014-2018), and Curator at the MIT List Visual Arts Center (2009–13) and The Drawing Center (2007–09). Ribas is the winner of four consecutive AICA Awards for Best Exhibition (2008–11) and of the Emily Hall Tremaine Award (2010). His writing on art, science, and technology appears in various publications.

Posted in: art, interview, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, VernissageTV