A rereading of the New TestamenT at the Venice Biennale

“Acts of God” will represent Mexico at the 58th edition of the International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale

A rereading of the New Testament to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale
Pablo Vargas Lugo presents an alternative reading with his art piece - Photo: Taken from Actos de Dios' official website
English 21/04/2019 16:49 Newsroom Mexico City Sonia Sierra Actualizada 16:54
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Acts of God”, (Actos de Dios), by Mexican artist Pablo Vargas Lugo will represent Mexico at the 58th edition of the International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

Between May 11 and November 24, the multi-disciplinary art piece will be exhibited. This year's exhibition is titled “May You Live in Interesting Times” and was curated by Ralph Rugoff.

During a press conference, Pablo Vargas Lugo talked about his project, which consists of a video installation that includes two movies, an audio track, and two sculptures, as well as a “microbial mat,” which represents the ancient forms of life present in Cuatro Ciénegas, in the state of Coahuila.

The filming took place in this protected area in Coahuila. This wasn't only a work scenario, but the artist also built a relationship with the myth, creation, and one of the places where some of the most ancient forms of life and also emphasizes the need to preserve that natural richness that is now threatened.

Cuatro Ciénegas seemed important for us because it contains forms of life that predate any imaginable mythology because there is where the seed of life is in Earth. It is a species of soup of the creation that is there in Cuatro Ciénegas, a soup that is in grave danger because is a very delicate ecosystem that is being overexploited, mainly its groundwater reserves, and it was to contrast that scenario with this narration that has to do with human salvation, guilt, the place of suffering in life, sacrifice, and the fulfillment of prophecies,” said Vargas Lugo.

The artists worked with the New Testament, as well as with art and film elements to “portray this story in a way that allows to rearrange it and obtain a series of alternative readings, of teachings that take us far from the ideas of eternal life and salvation.” His work aims to “reread this story as an unfinished riddle and introduce it to the land of imagination.”

Magalí Arriola, the curator explained that the project was “filmed in the biological reserve of Cuatrociénegas, in the Chihuahuan Desert—as in the hazards that lay outside human control—juxtaposes geological time with biblical narration and makes nature a protagonist in the story. Stromatolites, strati ed sheets of microorganisms that still thrive in the wetlands of Cuatrociénegas, also (have) a place in the exhibition as a Microbial Mat that blends layers of pigmented sand into a dazzling and unstable pattern; and the stone blocks brought from the lm’s location reveal a ciphered (biblical?) Equation 4, one that amalgamates disbelief, laughter, fear, treachery, doubt, guilt, and remorse. All, human behaviors codi ed in religious narratives that still seep into the cultural precepts, social norms, and political and judicial systems that shape our contemporary world.”

Acts of God” analyzes “fundamental narratives”, stories rooted in the faith that holds many of the social and cultural values embodied in political, justice, and government institutions that the West has developed and disseminated.

Vargas Lugo is inviting the public to radically question the way in which we see the world and the links in it: “'Acts of God' will direct the viewer's look beyond the limits and frontiers of our knowledge by exploring those links that associate our social spaces with its cultural representations.”


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