THE PHAROS FLOWER – Narine Arakelian
curated by Pier Paolo Scelsi
Venezia, Corte Contarini del Bovolo
10 May 2019 – 25 August 2019
This May, the world’s leading female Armenian contemporary artist Narine Arakelian, will both headline the
Armenia Pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale and launch a striking new exhibition, The Pharos Flower at the
Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, one of Venice’s most iconic landmarks. The Pharos Flower is part of the CITY OF
VENICE’s official programme of events for the 58th Biennale, marking the second time that Narine has appeared at
the Biennale and follows her critically acclaimed installation at Manifesta 12, 2018.
Curated by Pier Paolo Scelsi (ITA), The Pharos Flower exhibition and installation will see Narine transform the iconic
15th century spiral staircase of the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo into a striking multi-coloured lighthouse. The Pharos
Lighthouse will project colourful rays of light from the top floor of the Scala, creating a spectacular light installation
that will be visible across the city’s iconic skyline. The installation aims to play on our idea of perception and time
with the Lighthouse becoming a singular moment linking the past, present and future.
The exhibition will continue inside the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo where Narine will present a series of her
distinctive coloured fabrics and multicoloured glass pieces, crafted at the famous Studio Abate Zanetti on the island
of Murano in Venice. Narine will also create an installation and performance around Tintoretto’s gargantuan
painting “Bozzetto del Paradiso” continuing the juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary art that runs throughout
the exhibition. As part of the exhibition Narine will give a performance of “The Bloom”, a performance work that will
see her transform into a symbol of an ancient marble statue. During the performance Narine will pass through the
exhibition rooms discarding elements of her costume until there is nothing left.
Narine Arakelian has also been selected to launch the official opening of the Armenian Pavilion at the 58th Venice
Biennale. On 9th May, Narine will give a one-time-only performance of her performance work titled “Revolutionary
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Sensorium”, curated by Susanna Gyulamiryan. The piece is an exploration of the revolutionary events of the ‘Velvet
Revolution’ that took place in Armenia in Spring 2018 uniting civilians through their slogan of ‘solidarity and love’.
The performance will take place at 5pm on 9th May at the Armenian Pavilion 2019 which is situated at the Collegio
Internationally recognised as a multi-sensual contemporary artist, at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, Narine was
invited to exhibit her large-scale installation, “L’Illusion du Marriage” inside Venice’s historic building the Scuola
Grande di San Rocco home of the Tintoretto masterpieces. The piece combined installation with contemporary
performances across the city, with a finale at the magnificent Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista.