Estonia shares exhibition plans for the Rietveld Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022

Issue no4
Aug - Sept 2020
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Estonia shares exhibition plans for the Rietveld Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022

Last february, Eelco van der Lingen announced that for the Venice Biennale in 2021, now postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19, the Dutch entry would take a radically new approach. Representing the Netherlands for the first time since 1954 not in the Rietveld Pavilion, but in a 13th-century church elsewhere in the city, Melanie Bonajo's entry marks a break with a longheld tradition. With the Dutch Pavilion being empty, the Mondriaan Fund offered its location in the Giardini to Estonia, in order to welcome young nations to the centre of the Biennale. Today Estonia shares its plans for the location, consisting amongst others of the exhibition of a collection of images of plants from different corners of the Dutch East Indies, then under the Dutch Empire, by a forgotten artist from Estonia named Emily Rosaly Saal. Read more about their plans in press release below.

PRESS RELEASE

For the upcoming, 59th Venice Biennale Estonian pavilion exhibits a project by Kristina Norman and Bita Razavi titled “Orchidelirium: An Appetite for Abundance“ (curated by Corina L. Apostol), inspired by Emily Rosaly Saal ‘s (1871-1954) watercolours and paintings of tropical plants. In the exhibition the artists combine historic and new artworks to propose a multifaceted view on colonial history and its problematics.

The exposition of the Estonian pavilion in Venice opens in April 2022 and is hosted at the historic Dutch pavilion in the Biennale’s main exhibition grounds in Giardini.

This project started with a collection of some three hundred images of tropical flowers, fruits, and vegetables produced during the first decades of the 20th century by a forgotten artist from Estonia named Emily Rosaly Saal. Her works depict plants from different corners of the Dutch East Indies, then under the Dutch Empire, where she lived and travelled with her husband Andres Saal between 1899 and 1920.

Kristina Norman and Bita Razavi create new works based on Saal’s legacy, bringing in an unexpected perspective, various elements and a unique story that challenges the questions of colonialism, gender representations and botanical perspective towards both femininity and belonging. The project reflects eloquently the difficulties of entangled histories and the relationships between “perpetrators” and “victims”.

Read more here: https://cca.ee/en/news/estonia-represented-by-kristina-norman-bita-razavi-and-emily-rosaly-saal-at-the-59th-venice-biennale

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 4 — 2020