Photo: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla
Puerto Rico based artists Allora & Calzadilla have arrived at Venice Art Biennale. The pair represent the US in the monumental exhibition, with six pieces that incorporate interactive sculpture, performance, and sound elements.
The work of Allora & Calzadilla, a Spanish-speaking team living and working in Puerto Rico, encompasses a broad range of mediums such as sculpture, print-making and video. Six of their works (comprising an art proposal called “Gloria”) will be on display at the biennale, which starts this Saturday, and runs until November 27:
“Body in Flight (Delta)” and “Body in Flight (American)” are stained wood, life-size replicas of business class seats found in Delta and AA airplanes.
The seats act as balance beams and pommel horses for gymnasts, who will perform gymnastic routines atop them.
“Track and Field,” is a 60-ton military tank that rests upside down on the entrance to the US pavilion, welcoming visitors. It has been repurposed into a fully functional treadmill, in which athletes will run, at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the exhibition.
“Algorithm” is the fusion of a pipe organ with a fully functional ATM from which visitors can actually get cash. As visitors interact with the ATM buttons, card reader, cash dispensers and the like, tones, chords and melodies ranging from sweet to deafening emerge from the organ pipes.
“Armed Freedom Lying on a Sunbed” is a replica of the bronze Statue of Freedom which sits atop the U.S. Capitol since 1863; this replica, however is lying horizontally in a Solaris 422 tanning bed.
“Half Mast/Full Mast” is a 21 minute long video installation about the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, controlled by the U.S. Navy until 2003. Two video pieces projected one on top of the other are joined by a single flagpole the center of the image. Gymnasts enter the screens to take position as human flags, and depending on which screen the gymnasts appear, top or bottom, the flag seems to be raised at full or half mast, in symbolical representation of victories or setbacks in the island’s 60 year struggle for peace, decontamination, ecological justice, and sustainable development.
The selection of Allora & Calzadilla as the US ambassadors at the Viena Art Biennalle, came after the pair won an open competition, which earned them the endorsement and the recommendation of an advisory committee assembled by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Photo Credits: Andrew Bordwin, courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art