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Art Meets Advocacy in Exhibition “Thus waves come in Pairs” at Ocean Space in Venice

Art Meets Advocacy in Exhibition “Thus waves come in Pairs” at Ocean Space in Venice

Ocean Space Venice

TBA21–Academy presents its latest show “Thus waves come in Pairs,” at Ocean Space in Venice curated by Barbara Casavecchia. As a planetary center for catalysing critical ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts, this embassy for the Ocean fosters engagement and collective action on the most pressing issues facing the Ocean today. 

The artworks by Simone Fattal from Paris and the artist team Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano from Berlin, highlight key environmental problems around the Mediterranean area.

The title comes from a poem by Etel Adnan called “Sea and Fog.” It underlines the importance of plurality and exchanges – two main ideas that helped shape The Current (2021–23), a curator training program run by Casavecchia. This exhibition and its related events wrap up the program’s third round, which focuses on exploring different stories of the Mediterranean area.

The Mediterranean, a region full of diversity and knowledge, is also at high risk of environmental problems. Research shows that the climate in the Mediterranean area is changing 20% quicker than anywhere else in the world, with hotter weather, changes in the water cycle, and growing drought areas. The show exhibition responds to these problems by encouraging conversations about our knowledge of the environment and asks viewers to think about possible futures where all species coexist peacefully.

Simone Fattal’s Look at People and Nature 

In the East Wing, Simone Fattal’s artwork, “Sempre il mare, uomo libero, amerai!,” is based on a poem by Charles Baudelaire called “L’homme et la mer.” The piece asks viewers to think about our deep connection with nature, shown by the ongoing changes in the sea. Fattal’s work includes sculptures, writings, and mirrors, each acting as a symbolic journey through self-reflection and our relationship with nature.

Simone Fattal, Sempre il mare, uomo libero, amerai!, 2023. Exhibition views of ‘Thus waves come in pairs’, Ocean Space, Venice (Image credit: Commissioned and produced by TBA21–Academy. Photo: gerdastudio)

A Mix of Species by Halilaj & Urbano 

In the West Wing, there’s the artwork titled “Lunar Ensemble for Uprising Seas” by Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano. Made together by TBA21–Academy and Audemars Piguet Contemporary, the piece is a growing system of over 40 giant sculptures representing a mix of water, land, and air animals. Lunar Ensemble for Uprising Seas is inspired by a popular Spanish song titled “Ay mi pescadito deja de llorar“, about young fish going to school at the bottom of the sea studying how to survive. The piece tells a story of survival, resistance, and harmony between species. The artwork challenges the usual split between the human and natural world and celebrates queer identities.

Petrit Halilaj and Álvaro Urbano, ‘Lunar Ensemble for Uprising Seas’, 2023. Exhibition view of ‘Thus waves come in pairs’, Ocean Space, Venice

(Image credit: Co-commissioned by TBA21–Academy and Audemars Piguet Contemporary. Courtesy of the Artists and ChertLüdde, Berlin; kurimanzutto, Mexico City / New York; Mennour, Paris; Travesía Cuatro, Madrid / Mexico City / Guadalajara. Photo: gerdastudio)

“Above the creatures, a large egg-shaped sculpture hangs from the ceiling and seems to be floating in the space. The egg is covered with chalky material that resembles the walls of the building,” reads the press release. “Its materiality symbolizes how everything can be reused and transformed as part of the cyclical nature of our world. It evokes possibilities of alternative future forms of life, transformation, and parenthood to be reimagined to break the notion of fixed or stable “natural” identities that in human societies results in systemic discrimination of queer individuals and families.”

Where & When?

Thus waves come in pairs
April 22–November 5, 2023

Ocean Space 
Campo S. Lorenzo 5069 
30122 Venice 

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