Leonor Antunes to represent Portugal at the 58th Venice Biennale

Leonor Antunes has been selected as the representative artist for the Portuguese Pavilion of the 58th Biennale di Venezia. Her recent museum exhibitions include solo shows at Pirelli HangarBicocca, in Milan in 2018, and the frisson of the togetherness, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK in 2017.

In Venice, Antunes will present a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot at the Palazzo Giustinian Lolin. The pavilion will be curated by João Ribas, a writer and curator based in Porto. He was previously Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto and left following a dispute with the museum’s board related to his Mapplethorpe exhibition.

Engaging with histories of art, architecture, and design, Antunes’ work reflects on the functions of mundane objects and their potential to be translated into abstract sculptures.

Antunes’ point of departure for her Venice presentation is significant research into cultural and historical figures of Venice. These include architects and designers Carlo Scarpa, Franco Albini and Franca Helg. Antunes also looked at the legacies of the patronage of Savina Masieri and architecture of Egle Trincanato, who were both active in the city in the post-war period.

Working with traditional makers from the region, the artist will link these cultural histories by looking at the intersection between Scarpa’s work and various forms of craftmanship from Italy, Japan and Portugal. The presentation will also draw attention to the lesser-known contributions of Masieri, such as her commissioning of Frank Lloyd Wright and Carlo Scarpa, and Trincanato, who was not only the first female student at the Royal Institute of Architecture and an author of a pioneering study of popular Venetian architecture from the XIII to the XVIII century, but also director of Palazzo Ducale and president of Querini Stampalia.

a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot will explore how both women played a key role in shaping a conception of Venice as a ‘modern’ city.