TE VEO, ME VEO – Discovering the correlation between science, nature and spirituality inside Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione (Zitelle)

“To discover the correlation between science, nature and spirituality, revealing the link between the intangible and the visible. My work reiterates the awareness of feeling a reflection of a collective reality wider than the personal individual reality, it reveals that we are all interconnected like drops from the same Ocean and encourages me to discover what is beyond a simple glance.” Lidia León

Venice, an international showcase for contemporary art, already eagerly anticipating and charged with excitement due to the approaching 58 th edition of Biennale Arte, will be further showcased by a firmament of exhibitions in a multitude of locations throughout the Serenissima.

The LiLeón FOUNDATION and the Italian Embassy in the Dominican Republic present: TE VEO, ME VEO (See You, See Me) exhibition by Lidia León, curated by Roberta Semeraro and Iris Peynado.

Through her art, Lidia León reflects on issues of social and existential nature, such as intolerance and cultural deprivation. Using her creativity and investigation, she seeks to encourage integrated critical thinking in the new generations.

In the interactive installation “Te Veo, Me Veo” (I see you, I see me) that gives title to the exhibition, with an allegorical set of historical and philosophical references (from the cosmic form of the egg), Lydia invites the visitor to recognize himself in other, as well as to rediscover his deep identity in the image reflected by the mirror.

The exhibition also features four works from the series “Wabi Sabi” inspired by the so-called Japanese aesthetic perception that celebrates the inherent beauty of impermanence and imperfection, a concept taken from the architect Tadao Ando and explored in the work of Lidia León.

The exhibition’s set up will be perfectly integrated into the sacred space respecting its historical and architectural characteristics without even slightly affecting the church’s walls. The impression perceived by the visitor is that the artist, Lidia León, felt a strong sense of belonging to the space, so she chose and created the works site specific.

“Many of my proposals,” says Lidia León “promote social inclusion through play, releasing tensions, stimulating the imagination. They are an invitation to the public to relate to my work, while promoting the social need of human beings for a space where our differences are respected, thus counteracting all types of discrimination.”

Because of these values inherent to the conceptual works of the artist, the cultural association RO.SA.M, active in backing sustainability projects related to culture in general and in particular to contemporary artistic languages, has enthusiastically welcomed the invitation to organize Lidia León’s first exhibition in Europe.
The exhibition has the support of LiLeón FOUNDATION and sponsorship of the Italian Embassy in Santo Domingo on occasion of the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Italy and the Dominican Republic.

Andrea Canepari, Ambassador of Italy in the Dominican Republic, comments: “Italy and the Dominican Republic have a long history based on culture. This is a fruitful dialogue that is renewed once again by the important presence of the artist Lidia León in Venice during the 58th Biennial of Contemporary Art. She is a prominent artist with great ideals and ethical content in her works, so seeing her creations in Venice is an inspiration to create new bridges between our two countries.”

“I joined the Cultural Association RO.SA.M. to deepen my knowledge of Venice, the city that I fell deeply in love with, and because I had my country in my heart and was firmly convinced that, sooner or later, I would have the opportunity to propose a cultural project for the development and promotion of Dominican art,” says co-curator Iris Peynado “ Last summer I focused my attention on the work of Lidia León, who had been invited to exhibit in Florence. This is how the idea of organizing an exhibition of her work in Venice, an idea that I proposed and, in particular, the curator Roberta Semeraro.”

“In the panoramas of the places where the artist has lived, I found the signs of that timeless beauty that is the most true and democratic because it is close to everyone that Lidia invites us to rediscover and appreciate”, says the curator Roberta Semerano. “In fact, it seems that the Dominican artist feels an inescapable duty towards her society, when sharing her innate creative talent with the audience. Lidia’s works not only reflect the beauty of her land and the vitality of its people, but also the profound values of this splendid land composed of people who came to the country over the years from all over the world”.

INTEGRATION TO THE CURATORIAL TEXT BY ROBERTA SEMERARO

Starting from the Greek aphorism “Know yourself” and the thoughts of Immanuel Kant, in the critique of practical reason when he says: “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means,” Lidia León’s exhibition can be considered as a reflection on our contemporary society.
In the interactive installation “Te Veo, Me Veo” (See You, See Me), that gives title to the exhibition, with an allegorical set of historical and philosophical references (from the cosmic form of the egg), León invites the visitor to recognize oneself in others and to rediscover one’s identity-in-depth in the reflection in the mirror.
To recognize oneself in others, the artist highlights, is a fundamentally ethical behavior that adds a healthy and balanced vision of others, overcoming discrimination of any kind. In addition to recognizing oneself in others, it is important to seek and find beauty in the simplicity of things and in particular in the natural course of events, accepting the cyclical nature of the world.
It is not a coincidence that León, who was trained in architecture, mentions the thinking of the Japanese architect Tadao Ando (known especially in Venice for his successful restoration of Punta della Dogana, one of the emblematic places of the city) who explains that “WABI SABI is the Japanese art of seeking beauty in the imperfection and depth of nature, accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay and death. It is simple, slow and orderly. Above all it is authenticity.”
The series “Wabi Sabi” began in 2016 and calls the attention of the viewer to look beyond and discover the beauty in each day we are part of.
To accept and respect the natural process of decay and transformation of matter is important to reach a complete awareness of ourselves and the ephemeral and fleeting substance we and the world are made of. With these works, the artist proposes an aesthetic vision based on three simple truths: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect. “Wabi” identifies rustic simplicity, freshness or silence that can be applied to artificial or natural objects. It can also refer to the imperfections that make things truly unique. While “Sabi” is the beauty and serenity that accompanies the advancing of age, when things wear out and time becomes visible in the signs of aging. Both words express concepts of transcendence and great spirituality.

LOCATION, WONDERFUL SOURCE OF INSPIRATION
Church of Santa Maria della Presentazione (Zitelle)
The Church of the Zitelle was built in the 16th Century based on a design by the renowned architect Andrea Palladio and, with its location on the island of Giudecca, enjoys one of the most beautiful and privileged views of Piazza San Marco. It is connected to the pious place of the Zitelle. Founded in the mid-1500s, the site was intended for the education of the poor but very beautiful young women whose beauty could have been a motive for their falling to prostitution. It is known by Italians as The Zitelle (plural of single). Its architecture, initially based on a circular votive temple, was subsequently transformed into an elongated space to incorporate the wings of the hospice into the church. What we can see today is a façade crowned by a large dome flanked by two small bell towers. The lower part of the façade opens into two small niches, while the opening of a large semi-circular window of thermal type is highlighted in the upper part.

La Giudecca: To see Venice from the water is to understand its true beauty
Leaving behind the Church of the Zitelle one can enjoy a view of a unique and overwhelming beauty. The attentive spectator can feel the binding relationship between the city and its lagoon. We are exactly in front of the “Marciana area” and its architectural marvels, Palazzo Ducale first on the characteristic island of La Giudecca and on the central vertex of the so-called “Palladio Triangle.” On the left, the Church of the Redeemer built by the Senate of the Republic of Venice as a temple dedicated to Christ the Redeemer in gratitude for the end of the plague epidemic that hit Venice in the summer of 1575. The anniversary of that event is still celebrated in July when the church is the final station of a solemn procession in which a bridge of boats links the Giudecca to Venice. On the eve, Venetians and visitors gather at long tables along the sidewalks of the canals where they admire the fireworks display, while tasting the typical dishes of the festival. On the right, divided by a small channel, we find the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, with the
homonymous church, one of the main works of Andrea Palladio, although the building, begun in 1566, would be completed years after the death of the master.
Behind us, the echoes of an event that leaves something new, contemporary, although in fact… ancient.

IRE, Fondazione Venezia Servizi e Gioielli Nascosti di Venezia
The I.R.E., acronym for “Istituzioni di Ricovero e di Educazione” it’s a public institution that, in the city of Venice, offers assistance services to the elderly, minors, young adults, people and families in difficulty. The Institute also administers, protects the real estate, artistic and archival heritage from the ancient institutions from which it originated and which it has acquired over the centuries and distributed throughout the Venetian territory. The Venice Services for the Person Foundation through the project “Gioielli Nascosti di Venezia” actively promotes a complete range of system actions to enable the enhancement and promotion of five “monumental complexes” in addition to art collections including paintings, sculptures, photographs, lace and furnishings owned by IRE Venice together with a national and international communication plan.

BIOGRAPHIES
Lidia León Cabral – Artist www.lileon.net
She was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1962. She graduated in architecture from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña [UNPHU] in Santo Domingo. As an artist, she is best known for her installations.
Some of the events where Lidia has presented her works are:

• 27a Bienal Nacional de Artes Visuales in Santo Domingo, R.D.
• Bienal de Dibujo de Santo Domingo, R.D.
• 28 Bienal Nacional de Artes Visuales de Santo Domingo, R.D.
• Photo Imagen 2014 in Santo Domingo, R.D.
• Miami Mix and Wynwood Warehouse Project in Miami, Florida
• Centro Cardiovascular CEDIMAT in Santo Domingo R.D.
• Centro Cultural Perelló in Baní, Barahona, R.D.
• Centro Cultural E. León Jimenes, Santiago, R.D.
• Instituto Superior de Estudios Educativos Pedro Poveda (ISESP) in Santo Domingo, R.D.
• Casa de Arte Sosúa en Sosúa, R.D.
• Museo Sacro de La Vega, en La Vega, R.D.
• Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña (UNPHU) in Santo Domingo, R.D.
• Quinta Dominica in Santo Domingo, R.D.

She continues to collaborate with the Centro León, the Fundación E. León Jimenes and other cultural institutions of the Dominican Republic. She continues to explore the Wabi Sabi philosophy with her work, the art of rediscovering authenticity first of all by closely observing the cycles of nature with wit, surprise and gratitude.
The need to expand her horizons and share her work with other cultures, has lead Lidia to spend most of the year in Canada.

Roberta Semeraro – Curator www.asa-art.com/ROSAM/
She is an art historian, narrator, curator and contemporary art critic. She graduated in literature magna cum laude, specializing in the history of contemporary art at the La Sapienza University in Rome.
She founded the cultural association La Sesta Arte. In 2010 she founded the Venetian cultural association Palazzo Zenobio / RO.SA.M. of which she became president a few years later.
From 1991 to the present, she has written texts for art catalogues and curated exhibitions for numerous artists in different exhibition spaces and her activities have been reviewed in newspapers and mass media.

Iris Margarita Peynado – Co-curator
She was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Since 1982, she began her professional career as an actress in Italy. In 2017, she was named best actress in the most prestigious prize in Dominican Show Business Awards, the “Soberano” and was recognized as the best comedy actress in the IRIS Dominicana Movie Awards.
As of the 90s, she has been active as a promoter of cultural and social activities, contributing in a decisive way to the organization in Italy of important events for the promotion of art and culture of the Dominican Republic. Since 2016 she is vice president of the Venetian cultural association RO.SA.M.

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