The Empathic House
Uruguayan Pavilion, the 58th Venice Biennale
Curated by Patricia Bentancur and David Armengol
The Empathic House is a discursive and dramatic synthesis that embraces the visual poetry of Yamandú Canosa. The title chosen by the artist provides two initial incentives that connect his professional career to his biography.
In the first place, a symbolic allusion to the house or home blurred and reinterpreted as a result of migratory movements, traffic, longing and mestizo affiliation. Secondly, the notion of empathy, addressed here as the ideal relationship with the other, a relationship that is necessary to define our identity within the cultural and racial complexities shaping the contemporary world. Hence The Empathic House alludes to the instability of the global social and political reality from a position of complicity and diversity. Canosa’s statement is an invitation to solve an enigma full of crossed meanings.
Wittgenstein believed that the limits of our world are the limits of our own language, and in these immersive installations Canosa offers us a narrative landscape constructed and inhabited by language and by the cognitive and emotional experience of the gaze. The installation strikes up a dialogue with the proposal made by the general curator Ralph Rugoff, May You Live in Interesting Times, a statement that speaks of the uncertainty, the crisis and the turmoil in which we live. The paintings, drawings, photographs and mural works in The Empathic House are arranged as a ‘landscape-territory’ of the world, an inclusive and empathic ‘total landscape’. Concepts such as territory, border, miscegenation, belonging, instability and difference expand starting from the poetics of the artist’s keen gaze, critical and essential. In this landscape of the world, the horizon articulates the iconography of the four walls of the gallery – the South Wall, the East Wall, the North Wall and the West Wall – that place the Uruguayan Pavilion on the map of I Giardini. The Empathic House is entered from the South. The total landscape is completed by the intervention on the façade and by the starry sky installed in the ceiling of the pavilion and its reflection on the floor. The horizon suggested by Yamandú Canosa is our common link and exemplifies the beauty of our equality and our difference. The Empathic House is the house of broken borders.
Patricia Bentancur and David Armengol, curators.