LONDON—Hivos and Open Society Foundations are happy to announce the curators and concept selected for the Central Asian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2013. The curatorial concept Winter (working title) by the young curatorial duo Ayatgali Tuleubek and Tiago Bom, to be produced as a regional Central Asian pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, was unanimously selected by a committee of experts following three shortlisting rounds from a total of 24 applications.
The concept and project is inspired by the poem “Winter” by Kazkah poet, Abay, a 19th century thinker who left an immense cultural legacy in the Central Asian region. The project draws from this poem in two ways. Firstly, Winter as a natural phenomenon embodies a potential transformational character, as it precedes Spring and the snow gives place to a full blossoming. Secondly, poetry has often been chosen in the past as a key tool to convey identity and to bypass lack of freedom of expression. This project aims to address, and bring a visual reflection on, the complexity of the current socio-political context in the Central Asian region, by employing the tools of the poetical and metaphorical language. The selection committee was intrigued by this concept and felt it could grow into a project which would work well both within the framework of the Venice exhibition, as well as in Central Asia, through parallel educational and discussion programs.
Curators Ayatgali Tuleubek (27 years old and from Kazakhstan) and Tiago Bom (26 years old and from Portugal) are emerging artists based in Oslo, Norway. This young duo—maybe the youngest ever curators in the history of Venice Biennale—will be logistically supported in the implementation of the Venice Biennale exhibition, and its parallel program of activities in Central Asia, by the Oslo Academy of Fine Art. The project leader in the Oslo Academy is Susanne M. Winterling, and the Almaty based coordinator of the parallel program in Central Asia is Yekaterina Serebryanaya.
Though young, the openness and intellectual and emotional maturity of this duo convinced the committee they were the best choice for this important task. Another convincing factor in the committee’s decision was the relevance both curators would ensure for a younger generation in Central Asia. Oslo Academy, local coordinators, Hivos and the Open Society Foundations look forward to assisting Tuleubek and Bom in making the project a success.
The program is currently in development and its main aim at the moment is reaching out and working closely with a broad range of local artists and artists initiatives, in cooperation with local institutions.
The Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) has for over a century been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Ever since its foundation, it has been at the forefront in the research and promotion of new artistic trends. In Venice, it organizes international events in the field of the contemporary arts that are amongst the most important of their kind in the world.