Universes in Universe  /  Biennials  /  51st Venice Biennial, 2005  /  Always a Little Further


Always a Little Further
Text of the curator Rosa Martínez
(Press information of the Venice Biennial)

The title of this exhibition at the Arsenale di Venezia is taken from one of the Corto Maltese books, a fictional character created by the Venetian writer and comic-designer, Hugo Pratt. Corto personifies the myth of the romantic traveller: always independent, always open to chance and risk, and always crossing all kinds of frontiers in pursuit of his own destiny.

Taking a fictional character as inspiration is a way of affirming that art is an imaginary construct and that fantasy helps us towards a better understanding of reality. In the baroque contemporary condition, we live both a drama and a paradox: we still believe in the need for reason, enlightenment and utopia, even if we have become their most ferocious critics from the new positions of post-colonialism, race and gender. Passion and melancholy, trust and desperation, pleasure and guilt, combine to define the critical approach to the world in which we live.

Art is a fight in the symbolic order - the most relevant creators are those who open new perspectives for linguistic, social and ideological transformation. Today, questioning the autonomy of art and taking aesthetics into everyday life is part of an unstoppable widening of frontiers, of an extension of horizons that goes beyond established models. The adventurer, the philosopher, the scientist, the artist or the exhibition organiser, try constantly to discover new lands and to create new possibilities of thought.

This exercise is difficult in a context where new ideas, people and products circulate at high velocity, where the artists often mimic each other, where institutions franchise culture and in which marketing is the principal methodology of action. One of the main functions of the curator is to reduce the background noise, to assign value and to organise syntax and discourses, which introduce sense into the unending traffic of messages.

The concept of traffic is essential to the social development, as it implies movement and interchange, not only in the social and political, but also in the expositive and libidinal economies. Translation and interpretation are essential to intercultural passages, especially to global exhibitions such as biennales. Throughout its long history, the Venice Biennale has become the epicentre, the privileged context for the confluence of artists coming from different geopolitical and cultural contexts.

Offering a chance to analyse the concept of internationality and to redraw the contemporary topographies of alterity, the Biennale is a unique opportunity to invent new forms of neighbourhoods between artists, disciplines and audiences.

In this context, the exhibition Always a Little Further is an essay presenting artists and aesthetic trends relevant at the beginning of the third millennium. A visit to the Arsenale proposes a fragmentary trip, a subjective and passionate dramatisation to discover the zones of light and dark in our convulsed world. This journey intends to draw the most significant lines in contemporary artistic production and to show that art still holds a promise for those who want to embark on the sort of voyage that made Deleuze take Proust's motto: the real dreamer is the one who goes out to try to verify something.

Rosa Martínez
February 2005


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© Text: Rosa Martínez, Venice Biennial; website: Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art