VENICE.- Encyclopedia of Relations (2022) by artist Alexandra Pirici premiered as a Special Project at the 59th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, The Milk of Dreams, curated by Cecilia Alemani, Artistic Director of Biennale Arte 2022. Encyclopedia of Relations is supported in part by Audemars Piguet Contemporary and takes place in the Giardinis Central Pavilion from 23 April through 27 November 2022. Notably, Piricis artwork is the only performance in this years International Art Exhibition.
Alexandra Pirici is known for staging ongoing performative actions that consider histories and social structures. A trained dancer, Pirici often assembles groups of performers into formations that she describes as live sculptures, which act, move, shift and sing. Her works are conceived as continuous actions that develop over long periods of time. Her practice focuses on making a topic that appears fixed to become fluidwhether it be centred on public memory, history or art.
Piricis work for Biennale Arte 2022 is an ambitious new project that at once pays tribute to and challenges the notion of the encyclopaedia. While encyclopaedias present disciplines or elements of our world as distinct and separate entities, neatly organised by classification, Piricis work focuses on the relationships that exist between elements as a way of understanding deeper complexities. The artwork directly responds to Alemanis theme for the International Art Exhibition, The Milk of Dreams, a reference to the childrens book by Leonora Carrington, which features an imaginary world where life is re-envisioned.
Piricis concept for Encyclopedia of Relations centres on embodiments of collective relations as seen in biology and botany, as well as more abstract forms of interactions such as between a school of fish, rocks and waves, plants and animals, humans and technology. The work also brings together references from music, literature, poetry and mathematics, while merging elements of the natural world with the surreal. Through choreography and movement, Encyclopedia of Relations emphasises the interconnectedness of our world and presents knowledge as always transforming and evolving. Six performers continuously reconfigure themselves into forms and structures inspired by different interactions and relationships that flow into one another using movement, sound and spoken word. Conceived as an ongoing artwork, Encyclopedia of Relations has the possibility of incorporating new elements and the relationships between them over its duration, echoing the many ways it can take to compile and complete an encyclopaedia.
The work features an international group of performers who will rotate throughout the run of the show. The performers are Céline Bellut, Matilda Bjarum, Liliana Ferri, Daouda Keita, Raymond Liew Jin Pin, Melanie Lopez, Jared Marks, Emily Ranford, Valentina Restrepo, Robert Schulz, Jennifer Tchiakpe, Xiao Huang, Patrick Ziza and Leonardo Sinopoli. The work also features specially designed masks created by Andrei Dinu.
Encyclopedia of Relations embodies several interests that I explore with this artwork: the connection between bodies moving together in space, the linking of apparently separate elements into larger structures inspired by symbiotic living arrangements and relations as the very fabric of our world. Im grateful to Cecilia Alemani who has been essential in bringing my vision to life at La Biennale and to Audemars Piguet Contemporary for its support and understanding of my ambitions for this project. --Alexandra Pirici