Aleksandra Mir‘s work at the 53rd Venice Biennale, VENEZIA (all places contain all others), is highly appropriate given that Venice is often considered to be the ultimate tourist destination. Responding to the global souvenir postcard phenomenon, Mir has printed one million copies of her own postcard designs for the exhibition. These postcards are available free-of-charge to each Biennale visitor in both the Arsenale and the Giardini exhibition venues. The artist’s basic intention is to have the participant write on and mail the stamped post card using an onsite letter box, dispersing the work globally.
In each of her 100 postcard designs, Mir pairs the designation ‘Venezia,’ with appropriated images of tourist destinations from around the world. However, none of the postcard images actually depict Venice. The locations vary widely, featuring tropical and snow-covered climates, cityscapes and miscellaneous natural wonders. At times, well-known landmarks such as the Ponte Vecchio in Florence and the Chateau de Chambord in France are attributed to Venezia.
All of Mir’s postcard images contain bodies of water, which is the defining feature of Venice. Historically, the city’s location on water was the key factor in its development as a powerful trading empire. Yet, bodies of water are certainly not an exclusively Venetian characteristic. Water is shared by different geographies, and enables transportation, connecting distant areas around the world.
Mir’s ultimate goal seems to be for these postcards to connect places around the globe in a similar fashion as the bodies of water featured on the postcards. The gallery visitor completes Mir’s work by sending it out into our globalized world, thus creating unexpected encounters.
Aleksandra Mir was born in Lubin, Poland in 1967. Mir has shown internationally since the mid 1990s and was a founding member of the collective M.I.M.E. She attended Gothenburg University, the School of the Visual Arts (NYC) and the New School (NYC). Today, she is a citizen of both Sweden and the United States, while living and working in Palermo, Italy.
VENEZIA (all places contain all others) will remain at the Biennale until the closing on 22 November 2009.