Question 1. (Manca Bajec and Isobel Wohl) Ralph Rugoff writes that this year’s exhibition, entitled May You Live in Interesting Times,‘will no doubt include artworks that reflect upon precarious aspects of existence today, including different threats to key traditions, institutions and relationships of the “post-war order.”’ How do you feel that the work that you are presenting as part of your curated project responds to this set of concerns? (Or, for curators, how do the curatorial choices you have made respond to this set of concerns?)
Nicoletta Lambertucci: The intention of Djordje Ozbolt’s works in Regaining Memory Lossis very much aligned with the international exhibition, May You Live in Interesting Times. Djordje’s pavilion challenges our idea of time: what we remember is constantly in a process of adjustment and modification, simplification is not an option, and instead narratives clash and lead us to look at what we are not. The past may resemble a future possibility and the present melts under our projected ideals. The works presented in the Serbian Pavilion carry a hint of irony; they are playful, looking cheerful at a first glance until a reflection on the precarious aspects of existence starts to emerge.
Question 2. (MB and IW) What does it mean for you as an artist, a curator, or a curatorial team to represent your country? How does the structure of the Venice Biennial, with its individual national pavilions, influence your choices as a participant? What does it mean, in terms of the current state of European and world politics, for us to emphasise national representation in the arts sector?
Nicoletta Lambertucci: I was very proud to be the first international curator of the Serbian Pavilion. I am originally Italian, but I have lived in the UK for more than a decade. I am a European in a Brexit country, who curated a pavilion of a nation that is in the process of entering the EU but is not yet part of it.
I looked at the idea of a national representation as a possibility for discussing sharing cultures and ideas of history through Ozbolt’s extensive references. The Venice Biennale offers a number of propositions about what national identities might mean in the 21st century: Ozbolt’s presentation brings together memories from his early life in Belgrade mixed with his imaginative visual language made of symbols from disparate sources. His eclectic imagery encompasses references from diverse cultures and uses emblems of shared history to point at paradoxes in social and political culture. His paintings and sculptures, embraced by a wall painting charged with the colours of black and white photographs, are strongly connected and create a dialogue that offers a personal and multi-layered understanding of the creation of both personal and shared memory.
The national representations are incredible platforms where productive dialogues and challenging artistic projects can take shape. To me, national pavilions are individual responses for a collective representation of our world.
Question 3. (MB and IW) How do the choices you’ve made in your national pavilion relate to recent developments in your artistic or curatorial practice? What do you hope that your creative decisions in this project will contribute to your work going forward?
Nicoletta Lambertucci: The curator is at the artist’s service, and I had the honour to work with Djordje Ozbolt to help with realising his vision. I have always been interested in unpacking intimate journeys and in embracing what is different from oneself as a transformative process. My next project looks at how young artists use their own personal (and social) image as a means for challenging bigotry and racism.
Manca Bajec is an artist and researcher living and working in London, UK and Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Isobel Wohl is a visual artist and writer. She lives and works in London, UK and Brooklyn, NY.
For more information the Venice Biennale go to www.labiennale.org/en/…