Luanda, Encyclopedic City is the First Pavilion of the Republic of Angola at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia and the first African Pavilion that wins the Golden Lion.
The Pavilion, commissioned and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Angola, is curated by Paula Nascimento and Stefano Rabolli Pansera (Beyond Entropy Ltd).
The Pavilion continues the research initiated by Beyond Entropy at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition and develops a reflection on the theme of « Encyclopedic Palace » through the work of Edson Chagas, a young Angolan artist.
The Encyclopedic Palace has been given an impossible task: no building can contain a universal multiplicity of spaces, possibilities, and objects. When a building tends towards the encyclopedic, it becomes a city. The city includes multiple conditions in the coherence of form— even though this is an urban, conflict-ridden form.
Edson Chagas focuses on the complexity of Angola’s capital, Luanda, which derives from the presence of unpredictable spaces and the coexistence of irreconcilable programs: city and country, infrastructure and habitations, garbage tips and public spaces. Luanda is an encyclopedic city. How can the knowledge of a city be organized through the taxonomy of its spaces?
Central to Edson Chagas’ work is a reflection on the ways in which images are used to give form to the way the city is experienced. Edson Chagas’s Found Not Taken series concentrates on the systematic cataloguing of abandoned objects that are repositioned within an urban context to create new relationships between the objects and their context, form and its codification.
What relationship is created between spaces and their images? What role are imagination and creativity allowed to play in this urban taxonomy? In the ambiguity of a vision which uncovers and nonetheless reconstructs, what is delineated is an urban cartography mixing documentary-like precision and poetic reconstruction: a new way of observing the encyclopedic wealth of spaces around us and, perhaps, a new way of inhabiting these spaces.
Luanda, Encyclopedic City is an installation composed of 23 large-format photographic posters open to the interaction with the public, invited to reflect on the theme of the palace Encyclopedic also through the ability to create their own personal encyclopedia urban of Luanda, in a stimulated comparison with the Collection of Ancient Art exhibited in the Galleria of Palazzo Cini.
‘Luanda, Encyclopedic City’, Angola Pavilion, 55th International Art Exhibition- la Biennale di Venezia