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The ‘Rio Grande’ Project analysis of the Installation

 

Yuri Ancarani‘s installation, ‘RIO GRANDE’, Postcards from The Borders (2017), defies convention through a visual journey that explores geographical and social boundaries.

 

Conceived during the artist’s travels, the work takes us to the edges of two worlds: America and Mexico, following the course of the Rio Grande in the Chihuahua desert.

The Rio Grande is a powerful symbol of water. Depending on the geopolitical context, it can divide or bring us together.

In a world where walls and barriers are discussed, the 2017 ‘Rio Grande’ exhibition offers a reflection on the theme of separation and union.

 

A theme that recurs today and has inspired the artists exhibiting at the 2024 Venice Biennale: ‘Foreigners everywhere’.

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Ancarani indulges in a genuine pleasure of the gaze, that of a European immersed in an unknown America.

The images celebrate a paradoxical West, where prayer before a meal of hot dogs is accompanied by the ritual of the cult of weapons, to which signs and slogans hymn in every corner, in the name of self-defence sanctioned as a primary right.

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The Importance of Caffè Florian as an Exhibition Space

 

The Caffè Florian is not only a historic café, but also a place of integration and exchange of ideas since its birth in 1720.

The choice of this space for Ancarani’s installation is no coincidence: the Florian is a meeting point of cultures and histories, just like Venice, of which represents a microcosm.

Since 1893, the Caffé has had a close relationship with contemporary art.

In fact, it was on the sofas of the Sala del Senato that the idea of the Venice Biennale was conceived.

Curated by Artistic Director Stefano Stipitivich, the exhibition was held as part of the 14th edition of ‘Temporanea – The Possible Realities of Caffè Florian’ in conjunction with the 57th International Art Exhibition in Venice.

 

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Yuri Ancarani's installation 'Rio Grande', reflecting on borders from Mexico to Venice

The setting of the Caffè, the Hall of Seasons, amplifies the perception of the images, creating a contrast between the luxurious atmosphere of the Florian and the images of realities projected on the videos of the installation.

A contrast that aims to awaken the conscience and broaden the view of different realities in the world.

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Art and Music: The Collaboration Between Yuri Ancarani and Murcof

 

 

The collaboration between Yuri Ancarani and Mexican musician Tijuana Murcof is a dialogue between sound and image that enriches ‘Rio Grande’.

 

Murcof’s music, with its evocative tones, intertwines with the images of the installation, creating an immersive experience that transcends the senses and invites reflection.

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Yuri Ancarani at Caffè Florian

A sixty-six-minute electronic track commissioned for the film, it combines minimalist traits with classical elaborations inspired by Bach’s cello suites.

The absence of dialogue and ambient sounds and the absolute dominance of Murcof’s score give ‘Rio Grande’ a sometimes dramatic, sometimes hallucinatory character, almost the prelude to a dark and violent thriller, a saga of blood and terror that alludes to the regime of war terror on the bloody Mexican border.

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Artist Yuri Ancarani in Caffè Florian's Seasons Room 2017

The Dialogue Between Real Space and Film Space in ‘Rio Grande’

 

The result of a road trip along the river valley, Ancarani tells a story from the heart of America.

The installation ‘Rio Grande’ leads to an uncomfortable reflection on the physical border between the USA and Mexico. At the centre of the work is a social landscape of contradictions, paradoxes, borders and cultural barriers.

The symbolism of water returns as an element that unites and separates. The Rio Grande, a river that historically marked the division between two nations, becomes a metaphor for the political and social barriers that humanity erects.

In parallel, the Grand Canal in Venice represents the water that unites, a river that has allowed Venice to flourish through cultural and commercial exchange.

The contrast between these two ‘Great’ rivers is palpable: on the one hand, the Rio Grande symbolises the challenges and hopes of those who seek to overcome borders; on the other, the Grand Canal, the beating heart of Venice, represents openness to the world and the meeting of different cultures in a Venetian cultural fusion.

Placing Ancarani’s work in the context of Caffè Florian creates an oxymoron, but also a bridge between these worlds.

The Florian, with its history of inclusion and dialogue, offers a space where art can challenge perceptions and invite reflection.

The installation thus becomes an invitation to break down barriers through art and culture.

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