Poetic black. The debut of Madagascar at the Venice Biennale

The debut of Madagascar at the 58. International Art Exhibition, with Joël Andrianomearisoa, is an installation which stands out for its intensity.

Joël Andrianomearisoa, Padiglione Madagascar, Biennale Arte Venezia 2019, foto Patrice Sour

“I have forgotten the night” is a study of black, one of the colours that the artist Joël Andrianomearisoa works with most frequently. Hundreds of thin layers of collage paper wave gently, accompanied by a voice reading a text, and by soft music.

The central perspective created with precision in a pavilion which occupies a long and narrow part of the Artiglierie dell’Arsenale – the artist studied architecture in Paris – the sound, the permeability of the hundreds of long strips of paper which hang from the ceiling, is passed through with ease, and everything contributes to rendering the pavilion a moment of tranquillity in a Biennial which is on the whole hard, at times even expressly harrowing.

The words of the curators, Rina Ralay Ranaivo ed Emmanuel Daydé, is in perfect harmony and begins with a line by Jean Racine “And we have nights that are more beautiful than your days”. Those deep nights of the Madagascan skies, I imagine. And those which seem even deeper when melancholy is the sensation, nights without nightmares.

While one of the immediately evident themes of this biennial is that of African and Afro-American culture, this work says something different from the others. It does not speak of identity, or even of colonialism. It is simply as dense as the black of the paper of which it is made.

Joël Andrianomearisoa
Artiglierie dell’Arsenale, Venice
58. International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia
Opening dates:
11 May – 24 November 2019

Special Biennale

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