Phi presents: Renata Morales and Marina Abramović at Ca' Rezzonico Gallery

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Phi presents: Renata Morales and Marina Abramović at Ca' Rezzonico Gallery
Renata Morales, Invasor, Installation view at Phi presents Renata Morales and Marina Abramović, 2019, Venice.

VENICE.- Phi, a leading arts and cultural organisation based in Montreal, seeks to disrupt the cultural landscape of the 58th Venice Biennale with the immersive work of two female artists, Renata Morales and Marina Abramović. This project sees Phi establishing an ephemeral cultural centre at the Ca' Rezzonico Gallery showcasing their commitment to the intersection between art and technology and solidifying their position at the forefront of exploration into how future generations will consume culture.

The exhibition includes a mixed media installation entitled Invasor by Mexican artist Renata Morales and Rising, a virtual reality piece by Marina Abramović which explores the effects of climate change and ascending sea levels.

Invasor is the culmination of a two year residency with Phi. The exhibition has been installed across two grand palazzo galleries filled with ceramic sculptures of female figures, animals, dinosaurs and strange chimeric beasts. These have been set amidst leftover objects and debris transported from José Noé Suro’s ceramics studio, Cerámica Suro in Guadalajara, Mexico where Morales has been fabricating her works. Suro’s passion for art and fostering international collaboration facilitated the realisation of Morales’ vision for Venice. An installation of 70 used tyres painted in glossy candy shades and huge self-portraits printed on distressed textiles create a dystopian universe of opposites. Morales’ composite figures of assembled media challenge our perceptions of texture, touch, beauty, solace and violence.

Marina Abramović’s virtual reality piece Rising, produced by Acute Art, addresses climate change by transporting viewers to witness the effects of rising sea levels. Wearing an immersive headset, viewers enter an intimate virtual space, where they come face-to-face with the artist, who beckons from within a glass tank that is slowly filling with water. Visitors are invited to make contact with the virtual Abramović, finding themselves surrounded by a dramatic scene of melting polar ice caps. Abramović urges viewers to reconsider their impact on the world around them, asking them to choose whether or not to save her from drowning by pledging to support the environment, which lowers the water level in the tank.

Renata Morales was born in Mexico City and later immigrated to Canada with her family as a young woman. She settled in Montreal where her artistic practice flourished. Inspired by what is broken down and corroded, her art is both mixed and multi medium. With intuitive force, Renata Morales challenges traditional methods by reimagining ceramic sculpture, textile, painting and photography resulting in her first major solo show outside of Mexico. This dreamlike exhibition shows us her inner world while also conjuring up the unique setting of Ceramica Suro, the renowned Mexican ceramics factory where Morales has been producing her work since 2016.

Marina Abramović, RA, was born in 1946 in Belgrade, Serbia. She moved to Amsterdam in 1976 and has lived in New York since 2001. Her pioneering works of performance art have made her the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide at institutions including Kunstmuseum and Grosse Halle, Bern and La Gallera, Valencia (1998); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005) Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011); Kunsthalle, Vienna (2012).

Abramović’s work was also included in Documenta VI, VII and IX (1977, 1982 and 1992) and in the Venice Biennale 1976 and 1997, with the exhibition of Balkan Baroque in the latter earning her the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist.

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