The first fragment of Małgorzata Mirga-Tas’s large-format work Re-enchanting the World, which will premiere in the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 in April, is now ready. Since November last year, together with a team of collaborators, the artist has been working every day on a series of twelve large-format textiles that will fill the space of the Pavilion.
The project alludes to the famous ‘Hall of the Months’ fresco series from the Renaissance Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara, Italy, one of the most mysterious buildings in European architecture. The symbols of the palace interior, as well as its layout and form, are the artist’s visual and ideological reference points. Each of the twelve fabrics presented in the Pavilion will be divided into three horizontal sections.
The upper section will depict the history of Romani peregrinations across Europe, referencing the engravings of Lorraine printmaker Jacques Callot. Created in the seventeenth century, these engravings are full of anti-Roma stereotypes. The artist disenchants this painful narrative and draws on historical works to create her own large-scale collages, showing the rich world of the Romani past and mythology.
The middle section is an archive of Roma history, built from a female perspective. In recent years, Mirga-Tas has created a number of works dedicated to the important women in her life, making up the “Herstories” series. Portraits of representatives of the Roma community will be complemented by symbols borrowed from tarot cards and zodiac signs from Palazzo Schifanoia. Combining images of real women with magic and astrology will transform them into symbolic guardians of fate, goddesses and prophetesses.
The lower section consists of twelve paintings depicting contemporary everyday life in the artist’s home village in Poland – Czarna Góra, and in the areas to which she is most closely connected – Podhale, in the south of Małopolska, and the multicultural Spisz. They mainly show women, their relationships, alliances and shared activities.
The project Re-enchanting the World, prepared specifically for the Polish Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022, is an attempt to find the place of the Roma community in European art history. Małgorzata Mirga-Tas will transform key images in European art history by inserting representations of Roma culture and reversing the stereotypical narrative. The ‘re-enchantment’ of the title, inspired by Silvia Federici’s book Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons (2018), is a non-violent process to change the world’s errant paths, lift the evil spell from the world, and help regain a sense of community and rebuild relationships with others.
59th International Art Exhibition — La Biennale di Venezia
23 April – 27 November 2022
curator and artistic director: Cecilia Alemani
title: Milk of Dreams
more about the Biennale Arte 2022
Poland’s participation in the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
exhibition partners: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC)
collaboration: Polish Institute in Rome
media patronage: Vogue Poland
Image: Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Re-enchanting the World (March), 2022, textile installation (fragment), 462 x 387 cm. Photo: Daniel Rumiancew