Principality of Monaco

Pavilion of the Principality of Monaco at the 53rd International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia

Le ciel regarde la terre                             

Curator:  Giacomo Zaza
Artist: Philippe Pastor
Commissioner: Miria Vicini
Location: Presidio Militare, Caserma Cornoldi - Riva degli Schiavoni Castello 4140, Venice
Date: June 7 – November 22, 2009

For the first time the Principality of  Monaco will be taking part in the 53rd International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennial, at the prestigious  Palazzo del Presidio Militare, Caserma Cornoldi in Riva degli Schiavoni.

To represent the new pavilion, the commissioner Miria Vicini and the curator Giacomo Zaza have chosen the Monegasque artist Philippe Pastor with his important work  Le ciel regarde la terre (the Sky is watching the Earth). The show offers a first time exhibition of a nucleus of three great paintings, especially made for the event, and an installation with burnt tree trunks.


Protection of nature, rebellion against man’s negligence towards our planet – these are the main themes expressed by the artist.
Philippe Pastor, who has been active for many years both on the international front and in Southern France, has designed great works for the Venice Biennial, to be exhibited in the open so they can interact with the weather.

Like images of the Earth taken from a satellite, the wooden panels called Ouragan, Le pole nord, La nature défigurée  are laid out as if they were three acts, and are each placed on an iron structure reminiscent of the stage  on a theatre of the world. The great paintings look out over a sort of human and natural chaos, divided by themes: nature, North Pole, pollution.
The works incorporate masses of natural pigments coming from Morocco (ochre and brown, blue, green), blended with natural elements (branches, dry leaves, sand, etc.) manipulated and shaped through fire, water and the use of compressed air. By using a blow torch, water and earths, Pastor creates a shapeless representation of the world, rich in references to the unexpected forces which cut through existence. At the origin of the representation lies his feelings before climate change, death, anxieties and environmental disasters. This disquiet is channelled through the flow of paint which  he puts into his works.

Philippe Pastor’s project also includes – in the corner area of the hall –  an installation consisting of a group of tall burnt trees, reinvented by chromatic inserts, with yellow, green, red sections, made through the use of  wreckage coming from sites of terrorist attacks:  Les Arbres Brûlés. The totem trees come from the forest of Garde Freinet (Massif des Maures) – hit by the fire lit by an arsonist  in 2003, they come back here to mark a path, this time an auspicious one, looking up to the sky .
By means of these burnt trunks, Philippe Pastor continues his commitment in favour of the United Nations programme for the environment and the campaign “Plantons pour la Planète” (“Planting for the Planet”). Through his association Art and Environment, to which a part of the proceeds of the sale of his sculptures and all the funds collected during the events are allocated,  Pastor takes part in programmes for reforestation and for making children aware of environmental problems.

Giacomo Zaza, curator of the event, comments: “The panels of the Biennial seem to reveal three visions which are almost cruel and bestial.  Here a surface which is changing and uncertain prevails, where the way the matter moves on the support depends on restlessness and the will to denounce. Looking at the Earth from the sky means viewing reality top down, starting from the adoption of “impulse strategies” which  are able to proceed from the soul and from the spirit, descending down into the earth surfaces, the damp pigment, the metal grid which symbolically controls and holds all”.

The creativity of Philippe Pastor, halfway between monumental painting and wood sculpture, prospers in a multiple variety of subterranean perspectives which goes beyond the  fleeting aspects of today’s society: it opens up to a reflection about issues of the collectivity and the environment, always keeping well in mind the endogenous relation with nature, together with the symbolic interpretation of things.

Philippe Pastor has exhibited his works in many public and private places of international prestige, such as the Modern Art Gallery in Miami (2003) and the offices of the United Nations in New York (2008).
The artist, who took part in 2007 in the 52. Venice Biennial, is being presented in more than ten galleries around the world.

The exhibition has been organized with the support of the Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco, Mrs Anna Licia Balzan who has been working successfully for years in the field of promoting art and culture .

The show is accompanied by a detailed catalogue in English, French and Italian,  published by Christian Maretti Editore with texts by Giacomo Zaza.

Event Details

53rd International Art Exhibition – Venice Biennial
Pavilion of the Principality of Monaco

Artist: Philippe Pastor
Title of the show: Le ciel regarde la terre
Curator: Giacomo Zaza
Commissioner: Miria Vicini
Location: Presidio Militare, Caserma Cornoldi - Riva degli Schiavoni Castello 4140, Venice
Date: June 7 – November 22, 2009
Catalogue: Christian Maretti Editore

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