Belgium

Queen Mathilde visits Venice Biennale


Photo: Laura Dekkers

Queen Mathilde visited the Venice Biennale last week to view art at the Belgian Pavilion as part of the illustrious art festival.

The exhibition, called MONDO CANE, is a display of artwork by Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys and curated by Anne-Claire Schmitz, and “depicts a society that is folded in on itself where tradition is erected as a refuge,” per the Pavilion’s website.

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The website continues, “MONDO CANE presents itself as a local folkloric museum that displays the human figure” and “contains some twenty dolls, most of them automated; a series of large illustrations depicting pastoral scenes; and steel bars that fence off the pavilion’s lateral recesses.”

The doll heads are modelled “both on fictive characters that have already appeared in the work of Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys and on real people” and the overall Pavilion “offers a real promenade, akin to a touristic or anthropological experience, reminiscent of an old Europe.”

de Gruyter and Thys represented the French-speaking art community of Belgium in the Venice Biennale, but Queen Mathilde also visited the pavilions for Japan, Great Britain, Luxembourg and Ghana.

Queen Mathilde also viewed two extra exhibitions: a solo exhibition by Luc Tuymans called “La Pelle” and an international exhibition called “May You Live in Interesting Times” by Otobong Nkanga.

The Belgian art community is represented on a rotating basis by either French or Flemish artists and is chosen in advance of the Venice Biennale every year.

The Venice Biennale was founded in 1895 and since then has become one of the most prestigious arts and culture institutions in the world.

Queen Mathilde has visited in the past to view the contributions of Belgian artists, though this year, as she arrived via boat, she needed an umbrella to keep her dry. The Venice Biennale runs from May to November 2019.



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Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, with an emphasis on the British, Danish, and Swedish Royal Families.