Roberto Cuoghi, Micheal Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset

La Biennale di Venezia – 53. International Art Exhibition

Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Giardini, Venezia. Padiglione Danese e Padiglione dei Pesi Nordici, Giardini, Venezia
June 7 - November 22, 2009


The Nicola Trussardi Foundation continues to support the most original expressions of contemporary art today. For the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the Foundation supported two new projects produced in collaboration with important international institutions.
As its contribution to the main group exhibition Making Worlds curated by Daniel Birnbaum in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni (formerly the Padiglione Italia) within the Giardini, the Nicola Trussardi Foundation produced Roberto Cuoghi’s work Mei Gui. The young Italian artist constructed a sound installation in which Chinese music and background noise are recreated using his own voice. The work has been reconfigured for the historical site of Carlo Scarpa’s garden, used here for the first time within the International exhibition.

Mei Gui is a collage of cultures, and a cut and paste of stereotypes. Roberto Cuoghi imagines a fantasy Far East, a fictional China in which the original culture and its translation overlap with no apparent distinction. Cuoghi’s work short circuits the contemporary Western fascination for Chinese culture and its simultaneous fear of it.
The Nicola Trussardi Foundation has also supported the Danish and Nordic Pavilions, curated by artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset. Back in 2003, when the Foundation began its programme of nomadic activity in the city of Milan, it presented Short Cut, a work by the two Scandinavian artists representing a car and a caravan that emerged from beneath the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. For the Venice Biennale the duo created a visionary collection, transforming the two exhibition spaces within the Giardini into the home of an imaginary gay collector.
Between the classical Scandinavian design furniture and the intimate atmosphere of a private residence, the exhibition presents cult works, gay icons and barely-dressed young men, sitting on armchairs, waiting for the return of their lover.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in the form of a bag, a true artist edition. Produced with the support of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, it brings together limited editions, books, notebooks, posters and even a salami, the irreverent contribution of artist Maurizio Cattelan.



The International jury of the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia assigned special mentions to Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset (Denmark and Nordic countries pavilions) and Roberto Cuoghi (Carlo Scarpa’s garden, Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Giardini). Both project were supported by the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, Milan.

The jury, composed by Jack Bankowsky (USA), Homi K. Bhabha (India), Sarat Maharaj (South Africa), Angela Vettese (Italy, President), and Julia Voss (Germany), awarded the special mentions with the following motivations:

Curating Worlds:
Special mention to Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset
Curators of Denmark and Nordic Countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden)
(Pavilions in the Giardini)
The Collectors
With additional support from Nicola Trussardi Foundation, Milan

A special mention goes to the two-person team of Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset for reimagining the national pavilion as a collaborative universe. Bringing together the work of 24 international artists in the adjoining Danish and Nordic Countries Pavilions, The Collectors comprises a delirious network of narratives that interrogate the relationship between our desires and the material worlds we design around them.

Translating Worlds:
Special mention to Roberto Cuoghi
(Italy, Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Giardini, giardino Scarpa)
Mei Gui
Produced by Nicola Trussardi Foundation, Milan

Roberto Cuoghi, who has specifically chosen to place his work in a garden of Oriental extraction designed by Carlo Scarpa, stages the practice of translation through sounds and atmospheres. The artist’s specific performance deliberately betrays the translation, calling into question a modernist double obsession: for the copy of the other world and for the so-called genuine one.


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