Venice Art Biennale: Confronting the Feeling of Being a Foreigner

Author Slavica Janeshlieva and curator Ana Frangovska in Venice

The Macedonian pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale, with the project "Inter Spem et Metum" by the fine artist Slavica Janeshlieva, has been officially opened since April 18 in the "Scuola dei Laneri" facility in Venice.

The transmedia and transnarrative project "Inter Spem et Metum" by Slavica Janeshlieva is the national representative of the 60th Art Biennale in Venice. The holder of the project is the NU National Gallery of RSM, the commissioner is Dr. Dita Starova Qerimi, director of the NU National Gallery, and the curator is Dr. Ana Frangovska, curatorial advisor at the NU National Gallery.

The basic concept of Janeshlieva's project is looking for answers to the questions: Can we replace or equalize the word "beauty" with the words respect, freedom, love, tolerance, acceptance? Can we accept someone for all that he/she/it is and because we know him/her intrinsically?

- The project represents a visually purified and conceptually designed spatial installation that throws us into the civilizational debris in a very sensitive and fairy-tale way. Through multidimensional media platforms and materials, such as feathers, led-neon signs, projections, mirrors, Janeshlieva introduces us to several conceptual-narratological matrices where she confronts us with the feeling of being a stranger, and the one who is everywhere, in me, in you, in them, in us.

Specifically, it confronts us with the acceptance or non-acceptance of separate qualifications from those of the crowd, regardless of whether the diversity is based on gender, sexual orientation, appearance, appearance, behavior, disease, nationality, religion, language, political conviction... It also confronts us with the feeling of self-stigmatization, self-censorship, self-criticism, due to imposed expectations.

However, being different also brings the potential for transformation. Just as in natural selection, mutation increases the probability that either a failure to adapt will occur or that a new variant will emerge that is superior to what came before. Or one could explain the transformative power of difference as arising from psychological pain and suffering that are different causes from which to draw inspiration and motivation to rise above the condemnation and ostracism that being different from others engenders – says the curatorial explanation of the project concept.

The Art Biennale in Venice officially opens on April 20 and will last until November 24 this year. The general theme is entitled "Strangers Everywhere" and is curated by Adriano Pedrosa. The Macedonian pavilion is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the RSM.

(The text was published in "Cultural Press" number 227, in the printed edition of the newspaper "Sloboden Pechat" on 20-21.4.2024)

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