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  • Joana Vasconcelos’ Garden of Eden installation at the Swatch Pavilion, during the Venice Biennale 2015.

  • Joana Vasconcelos’ Garden of Eden installation at the Swatch Pavilion, during the Venice Biennale 2015.

  • Joana Vasconcelos’ Garden of Eden installation at the Swatch Pavilion, during the Venice Biennale 2015.

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Swatch teams up with Joana Vasconcelos for Venice Biennale 2015

Swatch, one of the main sponsors of Venice Biennale 2015, has teamed with Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, known for her evocative, large-scale artworks, for a unique installation inside Swatch’s temporary pavilion, located at the Giardini of the Biennale. Titled “Giardino dell’Eden” (Garden of Eden), the installation explores the limits between the natural and the artificial, evoking the sense of an otherworldly garden that shines brightly under the moonlight. Garden of Eden comprises hundreds of plastic flowers that emerge from cylinders made of Lycra, hiding inside them lights, synchronous motors and transparent polychrome discs that create the illusion of movement and transmit a series of insect sound effects. These mechanical sounds were used as the basis of an art soundtrack conceived by composer Jonas Runa, who also created for the occasion an electronic performance, titled “Synchronicity”, based on motion-detection sensors connected to sources of sound and light. Synchronicity features a performer in an electroluminescent costume designed by Joana Vasconcelos, creating the effect of “psychokinesis”. The final result is an impressive mix of vision and sound, making Garden of Eden one of Biennale’s most interesting proposals.

Vasconcelos’ installation imposes itself as a negative of the classical notion of a garden. In opposition to the concept of simulacrum, the path through this unexpected low-tech Eden reveals the blatant artificiality of the flowers and light that illuminates them. Giardino dell’Eden exposes the necessity for its presentation within a daylight-deprived indoor space and brings forth the mechanical sound of hundreds of running motors, engendering an oneiric sabotage of the mechanisms of hyper-reality and simulacrum,” Swatch said in a statement. Garden of Eden is made with the kind support of The New Art Gallery Walsall and Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Palma, Mallorca. The installation will remain on view at the Swatch Pavilion during the Venice Biennale, until November 22, 2015. In order to celebrate their collaboration, Swatch will also release a limited edition, handmade watch designed by Vasconcelos, based on the typical Filigree metalworking technique.