Works / talk / The Pavilion of Mauritius at the 56th Venice Art Biennale book launch

The Pavilion of Mauritius at the 56th Venice Art Biennale book launch 2016 by Alfredo Cramerotti

The Pavilion of Mauritius at the 56th Venice Art Biennale book launch  2016

talk, presentation, debate

Launch, presentation and debate of the catalogue of The Pavilion of the Republic of Mauritius at the 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, based on a dialogue between Mauritian and European artists.

Virtually uninhabited until the end of the 16th century, the island was then ruled by the Dutch, French and British before gaining independence in 1968. The newly born state has managed to maintain close ties with their former rulers, and also to establish an economic relationship with the USSR. Since 2000 the Ibrahim Index of African Governance has consistently rated Mauritius as the best-governed African nation in terms of safety, economic development and human rights.

However, in art and culture different sets of assessments apply; there is a short distance to questioning the value and relevance of the contemporary art output of a region in relation to the global art world. The Pavilion is not only a slice of the Mauritian artistic and cultural scene, but also a reading of Western conventions when it comes to assessing the ‘art now’ and the canons and critical approaches to the issues of the day.

The book and the Pavilion’s underlying belief is that art has meaning when challenging its own structures and relationships. Thus, the participating artists from Europe, based in established art centers such as the UK, Germany, Netherlands and Russia, each present a work in response to the work by artists from or based in Mauritius, a remote island in the Indian Ocean. The artists are invited to challenge each other’s aesthetic and ideological canons, initiating a discussion about art theory and practice, colonial heritage and postcolonial relations, education and politicization of culture.

With this indirect approach to the idea of inclusiveness and difference, carried out by the work of thirteen prominent artists in their respective countries, the Pavilion of Mauritius aims to ‘take the temperature’ of the global art world, and possibly provide – besides a lot of questions – some answers.

Book editor Pamela Auchincloss, Alfredo Cramerotti and Olga Jürgenson.

Presented by Alfredo Cramerotti, Olga Jürgenson and moderated by Maria Paola Poponi of Maretti Editore, publishers.