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simone fattal

The Milk of Dreams

59th Venice Biennale, Venice
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the milk of dreams | central pavilion – 59th VENICE BIENNALE

For the 59th Venice Biennale Simone Fattal was invited by Director Cecilia to conceive an installation for the outdoor sculpture garden in the Central Pavilion, designed in 1952 by Carlo Scarpa. The play of light, shadow and water in this highly suggestive patio captured Fattal’s imagination, as she summarizes here in her own words: “The choice of Scarpa’s garden, where water flows in two pools, encouraged me to use the place first as a garden, and then as a place where two rivers flow. I naturally came up with the idea that Adam and Eve are in the Garden of Eden, in Mesopotamia, where the river Tigris flows. And I proposed to accompany them with a version of the goddess Ishtar, and two high priests. Indeed, the two stoneware sculptures, I wanted to bring them as close as possible to what we know about the Mesopotamian high priests.”

In the catalogue of the Biennale Alemani remarks: “Fattal’s sculptural creations often take the form of series of figures or miniature scenes, all of which appear as if they have only recently been excavated from an ancient archaeological site. Her figures employ the least amount of detail or specificity to be recognized as such: two wide columns become legs, a connecting piece of clay the torso or head, and a slight lean to the side a gesture or suggestion of connection to another one of the figures. In many ways, her sculptures follow a transformation of the human spirit into material form, both seeking and denying an underlying essence.

For The Milk of Dreams, Fattal presents a sculptural installation in the outdoor sculpture garden designed by famed architect Carlo Scarpa within the Central Pavilion. The installation includes Adam and Eve (2019), a bronze cast of one of her first ceramic sculptures consisting of two figures: one with long, thin legs appear to be carrying a sack on its back, suggested by its asymmetrical torso; the second, shorter with barely a torso at all, appears to follow the second one as they both lean at the same angle as if walking on a long journey together. Fattal has also produced three new sculptures for the exhibition, two in ceramic and one cast in bronze, combining abstract motifs with humanistic form.”