In the Dutch Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, curator Guus Beumer will be presenting artists Joke Robaard, Johannes Schwartz and Barbara Visser, designer Maureen Mooren, architects Herman Verkerk and Paul Kuipers (EventArchitectuur), author Sanneke van Hassel and composer Yannis Kyriakides. At his invitation, they are all working on a collaborative project for the Venice Biennale, entitled Opera Aperta / Loose Work.
Opera Aperta / Loose Work has its origins in a linking of the notions ‘national identity’ and ‘community’. In the Netherlands, the concept of community has been uniquely embodied in its cultural infrastructure. This intricate infrastructure has been developed by the Dutch government since the 1960s. The result is a public system of production, distribution and reflection on art and culture in which the position of the artist in society is firmly embedded. However, this cultural infrastructure has begun to lose public support and has become a subject of major debate. Consequently the public space, the social position of art and the artist, as well as the notion ‘community’, need to be redefined in the Netherlands.
Opera Aperta / Loose Work implicitly reveals the potential of this cultural infrastructure. From the outset, a decision was made to use a multidisciplinary group of participants: visual artists Johannes Schwartz, Joke Robaard and Barbara Visser, graphic designer Maureen Mooren and architects Herman Verkerk and Paul Kuipers. Despite their backgrounds in various disciplines, they share a fascination with the issue of representation. In addition, the Mondriaan Foundation and the curator have forged alliances with the Dutch Foundation for Literature and the Performing Arts Fund. These have resulted in commissions for the author Sanneke van Hassel and the composer Yannis Kyriakides.
In addition to this collaborative working methodology, Opera Aperta / Loose Work also refers to the opera model and the idea of a succession in time involving different scenes, an intermission, a powerful composition, an accompanying libretto, voices, a stage set, lighting and costumes. This model offers both a conflicting and seductive point of departure for the blending of different disciplines and commissions. The title refers to a 1962 publication by Umberto Eco. The Mondriaan Foundation has been responsible for the Dutch entry at the Venice Biennale since 1995 and appoints a curator for each entry.