6 May – 6 July 2019
During the 58th Venice Biennale at Palazzo Ca’ Rezzonico

Opening reception: Tuesday 7 May, 5pm-7pm

Phi, a leading arts and cultural organisation based in Montreal, seeks to disrupt the cultural landscape of the 58th Venice Biennale with the immersive work of two female artists, Renata Morales and Marina Abramović. This project sees Phi establishing an ephemeral cultural centre at the Palazzo Ca’ Rezzonico showcasing their commitment to the intersection between art and technology and solidifying their position at the forefront of exploration into how future generations will consume culture.

The exhibition includes a mixed media installation entitled Invasor by Mexican artist Renata Morales and Rising, a virtual reality piece by Marina Abramović which explores the effects of climate change and ascending sea levels.

Invasor is the culmination of a two year residency with Phi. The exhibition will be installed across two grand palazzo galleries filled with ceramic sculptures of female figures, animals, dinosaurs and strange chimeric beasts. These will be set amidst leftover objects and debris transported from José Noé Suro’s ceramics studio, Cerámica Suro in Guadalajara, Mexico where Morales has been fabricating her works. Suro’s passion for art and fostering international collaboration facilitated the realisation of Morales’ vision for Venice. An installation of 70 used tyres painted in glossy candy shades and huge self-portraits printed on distressed textiles will create a dystopian universe of opposites. Morales’ composite figures of assembled media challenge our perceptions of texture, touch, beauty, solace and violence.

Renata Morales, Invasor, photo JL Gonzalez Duran Corichi

Marina Abramović’s virtual reality piece Rising, produced by Acute Art, addresses climate change by transporting viewers to witness the effects of rising sea levels. Wearing an immersive headset, viewers enter an intimate virtual space, where they come face-to-face with the artist, who beckons from within a glass tank that is slowly filling with water. Visitors are invited to make contact with the virtual Abramović, finding themselves surrounded by a dramatic scene of melting polar ice caps. Abramović urges viewers to reconsider their impact on the world around them, asking them to choose whether or not to save her from drowning by pledging to support the environment, which lowers the water level in the tank.

About Phi

Phi is a multidisciplinary arts and culture organisation in Montreal, Canada founded and directed by Phoebe Greenberg. Positioned at the intersection of art, film, music, design and technology and committed to future generations of art consumption, Phi provides an experiential-focused programme including virtual reality, immersive experiences and performance-based practices.

Phi consists of the Phi Centre, Phi Studio and artist-in-residence programs, and Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain. Through eclectic programming and a strong emphasis on content creation, Phi fosters unexpected encounters between artists and audiences.

Fondation Phi pour l’art contemporain showcases two major exhibitions a year supported by ancillary programming. It was inaugurated in 2007 and has featured solo shows from artists such as Marc Quinn, Christian Marclay, Jenny Holzer, Ryoji Ikeda, Yinka Shonibare, Ed Atkins and Bill Viola, amongst others.

About Renata Morales

Renata Morales was born in Mexico City and later immigrated to Canada with her family as a young woman. She settled in Montreal where her artistic practice flourished. Inspired by what is broken down and corroded, her art is both mixed and multi medium. With intuitive force, Renata Morales challenges traditional methods by reimagining ceramic sculpture, textile, painting and photography resulting in her first major solo show outside of Mexico. This dreamlike exhibition shows us her inner world while also conjuring up the unique setting of Ceramica Suro, the renowned Mexican ceramics factory where Morales has been producing her work since 2016.

About Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović, RA, was born in 1946 in Belgrade, Serbia. She moved to Amsterdam in 1976 and has lived in New York since 2001. Her pioneering works of performance art have made her the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide at institutions including Kunstmuseum and Grosse Halle, Bern and La Gallera, Valencia (1998); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005) Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2011); Kunsthalle, Vienna (2012).

Abramović’s work was also included in Documenta VI, VII and IX (1977, 1982 and 1992) and in the Venice Biennale 1976 and 1997, with the exhibition of Balkan Baroque in the latter earning her the Golden Lion Award for Best Artist.

About Acute Art

Acute Art works with today’s most compelling artists, bringing together technology and artistic vision, directed by Daniel Birnbaum. Currently working across virtual and augmented realities, it produces original digital artworks and makes these accessible to everyone through its free app and creative collaborations. The company also works as a digital art laboratory, exploring new mediums for experimental art-making and identifying creative ways for it to be experienced and displayed.

Directed by Daniel Birnbaum, Acute Art collaborates with the world’s most compelling contemporary artists, providing access to cutting-edge technologies that allow them to translate their creative vision into new digital mediums – including virtual, augmented and mixed realities.

A curatorial laboratory and research hub, Acute Art are committed to finding new ways to take digital artwork to the public, both physically, through exhibitions, and as a curated offer on the Acute Art website and free app.

Since 2017, they have collaborated with artists including Marina Abramović, Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor, Nathalie Diurberg & Hans Berg, and Christo & Jeanne-Claude, as well as other talented and award-winning artists.


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