German-Italian Cultural Association of Venice (ACIT)
Solo show Mia Florentine Weiss / The Pegasus Project
Exhibition opening on Friday, May 8th 2015
(70 years unconditional surrender of armed forces of Germany & the end of war/ beginning of peace in Europe)
4-8 pm Vernissage, concert & artist talk
May 6th – May 7th 2015 Pegasus Performance on the Canale Grande
For the German performance artist Mia Florentine Weiss, multicultural “places of protection” and their metaphysics are central to the creative process. Since 1999, the 33-year-old artist has addressed the very same question to people of diverse nationalities on all four continents: What is your place of protection? With this highly personal and intimate question she challenges the people she speaks with to reflect upon their very private forms of protection and sense of security. She has chronicled the answers she has received in a multimedia installation of 54 video works. In 2010 she published the Digital Poetry she collected from around the world online in the form of a weekly Poem Clip over the course of one year (www.art-protector.com).
From the guerrilla actions at Documenta 13 (where the artist spent 24 hours sleeping in a bed outside the museum, and then another day in solitary confinement at a jail in the city of Kassel), to her performance at Art Basel (clad in a straightjacket for her work, “Blinded By the Art of Money”), to her ascent of the famous landmark “Hollywood” sign in Los Angeles, the artist wearing a pair of oversized illuminated angel’s wings on her back, Mia Florentine Weiss goes beyond conventional limits in her continual search for those places where opposing human emotions meet in a coincidentia oppositorum.
In her interactive performance “Please Touch – Touching Can Heal the Art!” in 2013 she already staged an artistic embodiment of a maternal womb as membrane between inside and outside. Housed in an adult-sized incubator, the artist illustrated the thin line separating protection from defencelessness as well as the human need for touch. In order to visualize the most primordial place of protection—which is, at the same time, an utopian locus classicus—the artist, at the time in her final months of a pregnancy, staged a one-evening performance of herself as a biological nucleus of a Place of Protection. On the conceptual idea behind this work, Mia Florentine Weiss noted: “If we, as embryos, had never left the paradisiacal sphere of the uterus, entering into another state of complete defencelessness (the state of being human), we would not be driven, from birth to death, to search for some diffuse sense of protection to which we could return…”
THE PEGASUS PROJECT
At the Palazzo Albrizzi – the German-Italian Cultural Association of Venice (ACIT) – the German concept artist will present a work on the theme of “Natura Nutrix – Homo Vorax”: a work that explores both beneficent and nurturing nature and the humans who live from nature but are also greedy and insatiable, destroying everything. Weiss´s Solo show will take place on May 8th 2015. This benchmark highlights 70 years of unconditional surrender of armed forces of Germany and the end of war and beginning of peace in Europe.
Under the title “The Pegasus Project” Weiss will exhibit, in addition to her photo and video works, an apocalyptic world/water installation related to a central credo of her artistic manifest:
THE HUMAN BEING – BORN INTO THIS WORLD – AT HOME ON EARTH – ALWAYS AND FOREVER – DESTROYED BY HIS OWN CURSE!
The metaphor of the winged steed “Pegasus” (from antiquity throughout the romantic era a persecuted hybrid) inspired the artist to develop a social-evolutionary concept at the centre of which lie the questions pertaining to the expulsion and displacement of refugees for political and economic reasons.
For her work “At Sea” the “Pegasus” created by Mia Florentine Weiss as a metaphorical memorial against humanitarian disasters in the Mediterranean will be set adrift on the Canale Grande during the Biennale preview between the 6th and 8th of May 2015. The room installation “On Land” will offer objects, photo images, and video material from Pegasus´s trip through the Aegean Sea with destination Venice as well as fragments from her multimedia work “What Is Your Place of Protection,” which documents her ten years of research on the subject of places where people feel secure and protected around the globe.
Mia Florentine Weiss’s Pegasus will travel on through Turkey to Greece following an authentic route used by asylum seekers. Aboard a boat, Pegasus will set sail for the Greek island of FARMAKONISI, where last year a so-called PUSH-BACK operation of the Greek coast guard ended with the deaths of eleven women and children. In Greek mythology, PEGASOS (the winged steed of immortality) is the offspring of Poseidon, god of the sea, and the Gorgon Medusa: a true symbol of creative energy, inspiration, and freedom.
Marginalisation, borders, barriers, walls and fences are the leitmotifs of Weiss’s art, and they reappear in her work with all their bipolarity and ambivalence. The triptych PEGASUS 1-3 shows the metamorphosis of a dead animal into a winged mythical creature.
By contrast, the picture MOTHER ANIMAL (MUTTERTIER) created this year at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt shows the artist Weiss with her newborn baby at her breast – an image engaging the mythic source of all nurturing nature. The exhibition in Venice will be open between the Biennale period from May 8th until November 2015. After Venice, the Pegasus Project will be shown at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt / Main until February 2016.