February 23, 2024


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Rachel Lee Hovnanian Stages ‘Angels Listening’ Installation at Venice Art Biennale


VENICE — Angel iconography is common, but there’s something genuinely arresting in the 7 cherubs created by Rachel Lee Hovnanian, forged in white bronze and silenced by two sculpted, crossed items of tape about their mouths.

The American artist’s immersive set up, “Angels Listening,” which is becoming unveiled Thursday as a Collateral Function of the Venice Artwork Biennale and will be on view from Saturday to Nov. 27, has the angels staged about a silver confessional, dubbed the “Cathartic Box.” The artist invites viewers to write on a ribbon their most own views, irrespective of whether repressed due to concern of judgment or out of an incapability to talk them.

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Guests will be ready to location the ribbons into the box although ringing an awakening bell that symbolizes the part of the angels as mute listeners.

At the end of each day, the messages will be taken out of the box and ironed on prayer-like mats in the backyard garden, and made lasting. “The performers turn out to be the listeners,” Hovnanian explains in the course of a preview go to with WWD.

The site is conducive to meditation and silence, considerably from the travellers on gondolas and the bustle around Piazza San Marco, as it is nestled in the 18th-century Biblioteca Zenobiana del Temanza and in its gardens in Dorsoduro, residence to the Armenian Culture Scientific studies and Documentation Centre since 1991.

“Angels Listening” by Rachel Lee Hovnanian. - Credit: Nicola Gnesi

“Angels Listening” by Rachel Lee Hovnanian. – Credit rating: Nicola Gnesi

Nicola Gnesi

“’Angels Listening’ presents a space that transforms hundreds of silenced voices into a chorus of confessions, permitting to replicate on issues related to id and relationships, and on the role of artwork in this unparalleled minute in historical past,” says Hovnanian.

The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing have “deeply altered the way we hook up with each and every other these days.”

The artist has explored the dominance of engineering ahead of, highlighting how alienating it can turn out to be, but she admits that all through the pandemic, it has also aided to connect and share experiences when physical encounters had been restricted. “The cellphone turned a lifesaver when we were silenced and aside, masked and anxious,” she states.

The messages at the set up will also add to a sense of liberty as “you cannot be traced through a world wide platform.”

This is a pretty personal set up, reflecting Hovnanian’s individual struggles to talk up as a sufferer of sexual harassment and, as a little one, rising up with a father whose troubles with alcohol drove her to silence, imagining that “maybe no person will want to be friends” with her if some others knew what was taking place at property. The artist has explored the graphic of a silenced angel before, illustrating the suppression of truth of the matter and the expression “be an angel and preserve your mouth shut.”

As the #MeToo movement commenced to consider condition, she began to truly feel “strong enough” to discuss up by means of her art, even though “many other people today are silenced, living with their trauma.”

The selection seven recurs throughout the installation. The angels are 7, as the days in the week, the frequency bands and colours that develop the seen spectrum and the basic models of measurement, she clarifies.

“Seven vivid stars that variety the Large Dipper and Ursa Minimal constellations, 7 heavenly virtues and musical notes and seven deadly sins. Seven is the selection of hills that comprise Rome — the main of Western society — and 7 is the Buddhist range of completeness,” said Hovnanian.

Hovnanian is a New York– and Miami-based mostly artist whose multidisciplinary follow explores the complexities of modern day feminism, cultural beliefs relating to bodily perfection, and the psychological outcomes of new media and know-how. She has lived and worked for quite a few months just about every year for the earlier decade in Italy, primary to quite a few solo exhibitions in the place, in the Church of San Cristoforo in Lucca in 2020 and in Pisa at the Church of Santa Maria della Spina very last year. With The Women’s Trilogy Venture, a a few-part solo presentation at Leila Heller Gallery in 2018, Hovnanian became a single of the only woman artists to be presented three consecutive exhibitions at a New York gallery. She has exhibited internationally in solo exhibitions at the Joyce Gallery in Beijing and Fundación Pons in Barcelona, among the other folks.

Hovnanian, who in 2019 staged the 1st solo exhibition by a female at the medieval Medici Palazzo Museum in Tuscany’s Seravezza, a modest city in close proximity to the luxury beachside vacation resort Forte dei Marmi, states humbly that she was “thrilled to be element of the Biennale” and that it was “an surprising surprise.”

Minas Lourian, director of the Armenian lifestyle center and previously the president of the Union of Armenians in Italy, claimed he was amazed by “how open Rachel is, how her messages are limpid, and she is passionate and participating. I truly wanted to display her operate in Venice in this magical venue.”

The headquarters of the Armenian Culture Studies and Documentation Center in Venice. - Credit: image courtesy of CSDCA

The headquarters of the Armenian Tradition Scientific studies and Documentation Heart in Venice. – Credit history: graphic courtesy of CSDCA

graphic courtesy of CSDCA

Curator Annalisa Bugliani also underscores the importance of the immersive environments exactly where Hovnanian has been staging her exhibitions, from the palazzo in Seravezza, to this “other extremely crucial site, a spot of research, silence and devotion, evoking power and vitality,” recalling how April 24 is also the anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

Rachel Lee Hovnanian in her Miami studio. - Credit: Andres Oyuela

Rachel Lee Hovnanian in her Miami studio. – Credit: Andres Oyuela

Andres Oyuela

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