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Political Turmoil Delays Venezuela Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Crisis at home has postponed the country’s presentation just days ahead of the Biennale’s public opening

Venezuelan Pavilion, Biennale Gardens, Venice, 1953-56. Courtesy and photograph: Orsenigo Chemollo

Venezuelan Pavilion, Biennale Gardens, Venice, 1953-56. Courtesy and photograph: Orsenigo Chemollo

The opening of the Venezuela Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale has been delayed. The postponement to Monday 13 May – several days later than its scheduled opening – was announced at a press conference by the Biennale’s president Paolo Baratta.

The exhibition, curated by Oscar Sotillo, ‘Metaphor of three windows’, was set to present work by the artists Natalie Rocha Capiello, Ricardo Garcia, Gabriel López and Nelson Rangelosky. While the Biennale opened this week for previews, the Venezuelan pavilion has remained noticeably deserted, with the entrance padlocked and refuse piled up in a neighbouring alleyway.

The country is currently locked in political turmoil, with Nicolás Maduro, recently sworn in as president following an election widely regarded as fraudulent, and opposition politician Juan Guaidó, both claiming leadership. Guaidó has received the recognition of many Western governments as the country’s rightful leader, including from the US.

A statement from the Biennale said that ‘because of the situation the Venezuelan team is still working on their set-up. They have asked us to say that they will probably open two days late on 13 May’.

The Venezuelan pavilion, situated in the Giardini park, was commissioned by the Venezuelan architect and historian Graziano Gasparini in 1952. It was completed by the Modernist master Carlo Scarpa in 1956. Its rough concrete exterior and distinctive slatted windows make it one of the most recognizable structures in the Giardini – you can read our guide to the Modernist architecture of the Biennale here.

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