Italian Pavilion, 59th International Art Exhibition. La Biennale di Venezia
History of Night and Destiny of Comets by Eugenio Viola
Tese delle Vergini, Venezia
April 23 – November 27, 2022
History of Night and Destiny of Comets (Storia della Notte e Destino delle Comete) is the title of the exhibition project of the Italian Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (23 April – 27 November 2022), promoted by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity – Ministry of Culture. Curated by Eugenio Viola, the exhibition presents the work of a single artist for the first time in the history of the Italian Pavilion: Gian Maria Tosatti. The curator chose a project that would act as a powerful statement of contemporaneity, capable of restoring a bold reading of the present and giving Italy a unique voice.
History of Night and Destiny of Comets is conceived as a vast environmental site-specific installation that occupies the whole space of the Tese delle Vergini. It proposes a vision of the current state of humanity and its future prospects. The work is conceived as an intermediary device that contains and mixes a variety of languages, as usual in Tosatti’s research, which integrates literary references and visual art, with stimuli from theatre, music, and performance. A complex, experiential narrative machine that leads the visitor along with a sensitive, sometimes familiar, and sometimes unsettling path, with the aim of creating a new awareness and concrete reflections on the possible destiny of human civilization, which fluctuates between the dreams and errors of the past and the promises of a future that has yet to be written in part.
History of Night and Destiny of Comets tells of the difficult balance between man and nature, between sustainable development and territory, between ethics and profit, proposing an aesthetic reading of this scenario and offering an unprecedented platform to develop a comprehensive and profound debate on these issues. The exhibition is envisioned according to a theatrical ratio that articulates the narrative into a prologue and two acts: History of Night and Destiny of Comets. Italy, with its particular historical background as a young nation recovering from two world wars and affected by extraordinary economic growth, the so-called “Italian miracle”, provides the scenario for this exhibition. The space of the first room is a journey into the ‘Bel Paese’ and coincides with the Story of Night or rather the symbolic story of the rise and fall of the Italian industrial dream. A sequence of disturbing scenarios prepares for a final vision in which the imagination is overturned in a true epiphany.
The Destiny of Comets is the final vision, which reminds us that indignant nature has not forgiven man since the time of the Flood. Through this image emerges a powerful and unsettling epilogue, an inverted disturbing element, the sign of a possible peace. Therefore the exhibition ends with a message of hope about the destiny awaiting this humanity that, like a comet, has crossed the universe with a great luminous trail. History of Night and Destiny of Comets explicitly refers to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (signed by 193 member countries in September 2015 UN) by stimulating a public debate about the environment, the urban landscape, and sustainable ecologies. The project touches on the whole themes explained in the 17 goals signed by the United Nations, related to the health and education of future generations, the protection of nature, sustainable development in terms of territory, and rethinking ethical models of production, consumption, and profit.