Venice Biennale 2024: Manaly’s role at the Iceland Pavilion

The 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2024 opened its doors to the public a few weeks ago, presenting an engaging and provocative artistic experience. This year, Manaly’s participation is not merely as an exhibitor but as an integral part of the work featured at the Iceland Pavilion. Keep reading the article to find out more!

La Biennale di Venezia 2024: Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere

The theme of this edition, “Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere,” traces an evocative trajectory outlined by curator Adriano Pedrosa: “Wherever you go there are foreigners and immigrants, but at the same time wherever you go you are always a foreigner.” This title draws inspiration from the works of the Claire Fontaine collective, which since 2004 has been creating neon sculptures with the expression “Stranieri ovunque” in various languages, originally proposed by the name of a Turin collective from the 2000s engaged in the fight against racism and xenophobia in Italy.

La Biennale di Venezia 2024 highlights immigrant, diasporic, exiled, or refugee artists, along with those who belong to queer communities: 331 artists and collectives from over 80 countries. This edition stands out for its clarity, essentiality, and absence of surprises, contrary to the expectations of some.

Among the many works and installations animating the exhibition spaces, the Iceland Pavilion stands out presenting “That’s a Very Large Number – A Commerzbau” by Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir, curated by Dan Byers. The work explores the complex relationships between us and the world of mass-produced objects.

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The Artist and Critique of Global Systems

Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir, a visual artist from Reykjavik, pursues a nuanced artistic practice focused on critiquing global systems of production and distribution. Her work focuses on the peculiar lives of the objects that populate our daily lives, often overlooked or considered disposable accessories of material culture. By using systems and human interactions as integral parts of her artistic process, Birgisdóttir creates works that draw attention to the objects that exist at the margins of our vision.

The Iceland Pavilion in Venice: A Dialogue with Objects

Inside the Iceland Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia 2024, visitors are greeted by an immersive environment reminiscent of Kurt Schwitters‘ “Merzbau.” The walls, painted in faded white, are composed of old light switches and plastic electrical cables, creating a suggestive frame for the exhibited works.

A vast wall installation, made with recycled materials from the Biennale di Venezia 2023, is adorned with the logos of companies and suppliers that contributed to the creation of the pavilion (including Barbie, Google, DHL, Sutton, Iceland Air, Manaly, and others). Through sculptures and installations exploring object relations, Birgisdóttir offers visitors a multisensory experience that invites reflection on our connection with objects.

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For example, small plastic toys, originally intended for dollhouses, have been digitized, enlarged, and replicated. The sculptures capture the extraordinarily smooth surfaces and simplified forms of the toys, designed to convey only the essential information to understand their function. One sculpture was created using recycled jute coffee sacks, while another was made with recycled denim, both modeled on the shapes of small economical packages that protect the products we intend to purchase.

Manaly’s contribution to the Biennale di Venezia 2024 concerns the chair and table placed at the center of the area, branded and wrapped with our logo in series, evoking the concept of mass production, a theme the artist critiques. Birgisdóttir’s work reflects the tension between the personal pleasure we can find in our world of material objects and the consequences of an excessive invasion of such objects in our daily lives.

This year, Manaly had a different role than usual: we weren’t just exhibitors, but an integral part of the project. It was a truly stimulating experience for us!

In the past, we curated the setup of the Chile Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia. If you want to take a look at our previous work, you can do so by clicking here.

If you also have a project or idea you want to realize, keep in mind that Manaly is the creative partner you can count on. Feel free to contact us! In the meantime, you can take a look at our previous achievements, click here!