In 2022, everything’s all about arts in Venice again, as the 59th Venice Biennale starts on 23 April. In our series starting now, we weekly present our most expected exhibitions, official collateral events and pavilions from the most exciting projects of the region and the international scene. Stay tuned and check out the exhibition programs of artists Rony Plesl from the Czech Republic and Małgorzata Mirga-Tas from Poland.
Rony Plesl—Trees Grow from the Sky | Official collateral event of the Czech Republic
The sanctity of Rony Plesl’s monumental installation consisting of glass statues was already established by the venue of the exhibition. The installation was prepared for the 2022 Biennale, which takes place at the same time with the event series of the 2022 International Year of Glass. One of the exciting collateral events of the Biennale, Rony Plesl’s monumental, site-specific exhibition, Trees Grow from the Sky is hosted by Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione in the Dorsoduro district. Plesl, a leading Czech artist and a renowned master of glass art, whose attention to detail and precision, typical of Czech glassmaking, are both highly influential in his work, but never override the conceptual ideas and monumentality of the art. The curator of the exhibition is art historian, gallerist and writer Lucie Drdova from Prague, while contemporary Czech architect Josef Pleskot is responsible for the architectural design of the event.
Plesl has been exploring the potential of glass for more than four decades, learning the secrets of glassmaking from Italian masters on the island of Murano, among other places, and then seeking its possibilities in contemporary art and in his own work. The exhibition of four large sculptures is also the world premiere of a pioneering glass casting technology, Vitrum Vivum, a process developed over the past twelve years by Czech glassmaker Jiri Sin. The technique involves casting the glass as if it were bronze, giving the artist complete freedom to create. The exhibition space is dominated by four glass monoliths, three of which are made of pure crystal glass and “burst” into the sky in the pattern of real oak trees, while the fourth sculpture, made of uranium glass, symbolizes a transcendent message: the tree is transformed into a human form.
Małgorzata Mirga-Tas—Re-enchanting the World | Polish Pavilion
For the first time in the 120-year-old history of the Venice Biennale, a Roma artist represents a national pavilion. The untraditional exhibitor is none other than the winner of the Zachęta—National Gallery of Art application Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, who represents Poland with a spectacular, multi-part installation. Her name might not only ring a bell for those who are familiar with the Polish art scene, but the Polish-Russian artist and activist is also gaining more and more international recognition.
In her project Re-enchanting the World, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas transforms key symbols of European art history with the involvement of Roma cultural elements and the reversion of stereotypical narratives. Questioning stereotypes, she provides an insightful and unprejudiced perspective of the Roma community and draws attention to the role of Roma women in their history. Her large-scale collages evoke the characters in many ways—their clothing, skirts, scarves or shirts are placed on the surface of the artwork, which literally becomes a witness of history.
The monumental project of the Polish pavilion, curated by Wojciech Szymański and Joanna Warsza, is a series consisting of 12 large-scale textile installations. The textile images represent mostly women and their connections, inner alliances and common activities, filled with personal and art historical references. In reference to the title of this year’s Biennale (The Milk of Dreams), the artist creates a magical world that radiates hope and comfort, becoming a temporary refuge for the viewers during the exhibition.
Rony Plesl’s exhibition “Trees Grow from the Sky” at the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione Church and Małgorzata Mirga-Tas’ project entitled “Re-enchanting the World” at the Polish Pavilion will be open during the 59th Venice Biennale from 23 April to 27 November 2022.
Cover photo and images 1-2: Rony Plesl—Trees Grow from the Sky, installation (work process), 2022 © Rony Plesl, Photo: Petr Krejci
Image 3: Portrait of Rony Plesl © Rony Plesl, Photo: Petr Krejci
Image 6: Małgorzata Mirga-Tas—Re-enchanting the World, textile installation (section), 2022. Photo: Bartek Solik
Image 7: Małgorzata Mirga-Tas—Esma Redźepova / Herstories, patchwork (section), 2021. Source: Vogue Polska
Images 8-9: Małgorzata Mirga-Tas—from the Out of Egypt series, tapestry, 2021. Source: European Roma Institute