Confluence Island

Confluence Island is a place born from the union of two islands that themselves were formed through undulating confluence which over time created another new space, that at the same time is both unique and yet replicates aspects of the originating islands. It is a fusion, real and imaginary, of water and land that may be geographically close but worlds apart from their originating source.

'Confluent' derived from Latin meaning 'to flow together' is used in this exhibition to define the fluid relational plasticity of landmasses and waterways. The exhibition activates the concept of Pangea, the superpcontinent from which, through tectonic plate migration, all other continents were formed. Taking active geological transformation as a creative process, in Confluence Island artist Janet Bellotto forms both re-imagined and real islands shaped by shifting physical, political and cultural parameters.

The exhibition was inspired by Venice and Mestre, two geologically related but very different cities, surrounded by the same water that divides and yet also unites them. Like Venice and Mestre, other cities have suffered the same fate of being apart yet being related in ways to each other. The artist explores other similar city couplets, with waterway references such as Dubai-Los Angeles, Cairo-Mexico City and Istanbul-Aleppo— but aside from a vicarious experience of Aleppo, the artist explores locations she has visited and connected to. Bellotto explores the universe of these confluent islands, relocating the concept of the island and transforming it into an everyday and universal experience. Today we all live on an island, islands that are virtual and ephemeral—what the artist calls islands of contrast. Water, that through its undulating and oscillating movements which naturally unite and separate becomes a metaphor of disagreement, a fluid conflict of sorts, that can be social, cultural or simply random. In the case of Confluence Island, water separates yet visually and geologically distinguishes individual islands.

The question underlying the exhibition concept is what happens when these islands of contrast are transformed into confluent islands? This opens a door of infinite possibilities, of unions between land that would otherwise be divided. The exhibition explores new alternatives to reality, creating links and marrying spaces that are far apart. Two places come together to create a new island that retains distinguishing characteristics at the same time. A new island that resembles the shape of both places, includes a lighthouse—a vital organ of any island—washed by two different waters that rises to meet in the middle, to remember and report the marriage that binds them. As a union of places—islands appear in the work of Janet Bellotto so naturally that they raise the possibility that at one time these islands were truly a unique space. Since in her practice the artist has recovered aspects of their history, perhaps over time these re-creations will become integrated into their reformulated history. By doing so the artist has inserted herself as an active agent when creating these islands’ confluenced futures. For the viewer the metaphor of the island extends itself in the gallery and the surrounding exhibition spaces, where skylights become beacons of the confluent island and their light seems to reach the lighthouse of Venice. The surreal evoked by Bellotto’s artwork provokes the audience to feel estrangement: some places where one may have lived suddenly appear anew, those same locations, flooded with light, will look different from those they once inhabited.

“Brilliantly using the strategy of ostranenie, the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar, Bellotto's recontextualizations underscore differences but bring new appreciations of previously unimagined potentials.” Kóan Jeff-Baysa

Ticket: ingresso libero
from Nov 19, 15 to Dec 19, 15
Time: (pick a date)
Galleria 3 D
Piazzale Candiani 31, passaggio di Palazzo Donatello 30174 Mestre, VE
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