Backdrop (Venice) (scène 18)


Research Pavilion, in the context of the 57th Venice Biennale

>>> Documentation on Research Catalogue

Backdrop is an installation and a theater piece. It is made of a large semi-transparent polyethylene greenhouse film hung to a removable backstage arch (steel pipes). In his painting « La commedia dell’Arte sulla piazza San Marco» (1720-1723), Giovanni Antonio Canal, a.k.a. Canaletto – who started to paint helping his father to realize theater landscape backdrops for Venetian Sant’Angelo and San Cassiano theaters – pictures a stage setting for a theater performance at the sunset on the Piazza San Marco in Venice. As can be seen in the veduta, monochromatic sheets were traditionally used as stage backdrop in order to isolate the representation on the proscenium from the environment and to enhance the centripetal focality on the (human) drama.  The outdoor and indoor air-played installation Backdrop critically transposes the Western theatre architecture, historically based on the production of an anthropocentric attention, into an apparatus of expansion of the (notion of) stage. Hence the backdrop becomes here the actor who plays by being played by random winds and air-flows. The backdrop doesn’t thus operate as a functional separation anymore; but as an animated passage, suggesting that there might be nothing outside of the stage anylonger.