At this year’s 58th Venice Biennale, Polish-born London-based artist Marysia Lewandowska presents ‘It’s About Time’ at the Pavilion of Applied Arts, a collaboration between the Biennale and the V&A Museum in London, curated by Ralph Rugoff.
Lewandowska’s project returns to the inaugural edition of the international exhibition, researching the documents of the meetings and ideas which led to the formation of the Biennale in 1895. While the artist has found no official records of women involved in the planning of the Biennale, further research turned up traces of their possible association. Interested in this ambiguity, she invited a group of seven Italian feminists based in London and two Venice-based art historians to script and make an audio recording of a fictional account of the Venice Biennale founded by women.
Speaking about ‘It’s About Time’, Lewandowska said: ‘the project raises questions around how women can revise and inhabit suppressed histories and traditions made without their participation.’
While researching at ASAC, the Biennale’s historic archives, Lewandowska unearthed a series of photographs taken in and around various pavilions during the 19th Venice Biennale in 1934. Gathered under the theme ‘women looking at women’, she explained ‘how the female visitors use the exhibition space to be seen in but also how they appear to perform a kind of transgression.’
‘If you look closely,’ she continued, ‘you notice how through the use of the available exhibition furniture, they are able to assert their own presence, suggesting a form of ownership.’
We present nine of the images selected by Marysia Lewandowska.