On Saturday, its opening day, the jury of the 56th Venice Biennale announced the winners of the international art festival. Armenia was awarded the Golden Lion for its pavilion presenting works by the Armenian diaspora on the 100th anniversary of the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.
According to the official website of the Venice Biennale, the Golden Lion for the national pavilion goes to Republic of Armenia for forming a pavilion based on a people in diaspora, each artist engaging their specific locality as well as their heritage. The pavilion took the form of a palimpsest, with contemporary positions inserted into a site of historic preservation. In a year that witnesses a significant milestone for the Armenian people, this pavilion marks the resilience of trans-cultural confluence and exchanges.
Other winners included:
Golden Lion for best artist in the International Exhibition All the World’s Futures to Adrian Piper. A pioneering artist, Piper has reformed conceptual practice to include personal subjectivity—of herself, her audience and the publics in general. Her presentations invite us to engage in a life-long performance of personal responsibility and calls out attention to ephemeral and transitional character of value systems.
Silver Lion for a promising young artist in the International Exhibition All the World’s Futures to Im Heung-Soon for a moving video work that probes the nature of precarity in relation to the conditions of labor for women across Asia. Factory Complex takes the form of a documentary but with a direct, lightly mediated, encounter with his subjects and their working conditions.
A special mention for artists of the International Exhibition All the World’s Futures goes to Harun Farocki, a seminal figure in post-war cinema. This presentation makes his entire body of highly influential work accessible to a larger public.
Another special mention goes to the incredibly brave Abounaddara collective for documenting the current political strife and human struggle for survival in Syria, without taking sides.
A Special mentions goes to Massinissa Selmani for working in a modest medium which has the capacity to act beyond its scale.