Curated by Faena Art
DEBUTING DURING MIAMI ART WEEK FROM DECEMBER 2-8, 2019.
AN EXPLORATION OF THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, AND FOOD, AND A PLATFORM FOR CONGREGATION THROUGH CONTEMPORARY RITUALS
‘Faena Festival: The Last Supper’ to feature seminal works, new commissions, installations, videos, and performances by Yael Bartana, Myrlande Constant, Gabriel Chaile, Camille Henrot, Zhang Huan, The Propeller Group, and Emeka Ogboh.
The Faena Festival will explore elaborate upon our shared experiences of food and spirituality, abundance and sacrifice, indulgence and abstinence, sex and death, archetypal symbolism and contemporary aesthetics. This Festival wants to take us to church, invites us to break bread together. Taking both the pulpit and the kitchen as its points of departure, the Festival posits that the shared meal or prayer is the crux of social creation and communal connectivity and transformation.
We have at different times turned to food or religion for solace and for healing—the traditions that we have developed around shared meals and shared spiritual experiences are often the bedrock or at the very least the punctuation in our lives.
Art and spirituality have been linked forever— objects have always been made with intention, imbued with symbolism or metaphysical import, and have acquired power and capital from the significance applied to them.
Feasting and fasting, traditions that we have developed around shared meals and shared spiritual experiences, are often the bedrock (or at least the punctuation) of our lives, from the wafer and wine that were the body and the blood, to the ‘bread and circuses’ that marked imperial decadence, to the sanctity of one’s right to a last meal.
We have often turned to religion or food for solace and healing, and this Festival celebrates both iconic and contemporary platforms for connecting and congregating — for sharing experience in the hopes of healing ourselves– our individual bodies, but also perhaps more radically in the hopes of healingthe collective or national body, the environmental body.
Yael Bartana is an Israeli artist who works in film, installation, and photography, often exploring the imagery of identity and the politics of memory, particularly as pertains to the national consciousness of her native country. For The Last Supper, her film Inferno (2013) explores the construction of the third Temple of Solomon (Templo de Salmão) in São Paulo by a Brazilian Neo-Pentecostal Church. Built to biblical specifications, this new temple is a replica of the first temple in Jerusalem, the violent destruction of which signaled the diaspora of the Jewish people in the 6th century BCE. Inferno confronts this conflation of place, history, and belief, providing insight into the complex realities of Latin America that have given rise to the temple project.
Haitian artist Myrlande Constant, has been creating voodoo flags since the early 1990s. Pioneering a new style of voodoo flag, she creates ornate and densely-beaded works that are often much larger and more intricate than traditional flags, overflowing with symbols and images that create mythical visual narratives. The flag is both an artwork and a religious object to which one might leave an offering or dedicate a prayer. For The Last Supper, Constant has been commissioned to create her largest flag to date, which will be hung in the Cathedral of the Faena Hotel and accompanied by a series of pre-existing flags.
Gabriel Chaile is an Argentine artist of indigenous descent from the city of Tucuman, whose work reflects the aesthetics of regional indigenous cultures. His project for the The Last Supper will be his largest commission to date, a collection of six pre-Columbian totems—indigenous wayfinders or talisman – one of which will also work as a functional oven to bake bread. These large-scale adobe sculptures will recall images from anthropological and theological studies and will be installed in public space outside the Faena Hotel.
THE PROPELLER GROUP
The Propeller Group is a cross-disciplinary art collective founded and based in Ho Chi Minh City since 2006 that also collaborates with creatives in Los Angeles. Often mining Vietnamese culture for artistic content, The Propeller Group employs creative strategies drawn from advertising and marketing, as well as forms of exchange and display from galleries and museums. The collective uses mass media as a vehicle to merge seemingly contradictory phenomena: advertising and politics, history and the future, and public and private spaces. The film The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music depicts funerary traditions throughout the southern hemisphere to demonstrate the commonalities and continuities of the global south. Highlighting the elaborate funerary rituals of southern Vietnam, the film merges documentary footage of funeral processions with stunning re-enactments that are at once abstract, poetic, and metaphorical – a rumination on death and the ways the living pay homage to the deceased. The work debuted in 2014 at Prospect 3 and will be installed at the Faena Forum.
Camille Henrot’s latest film, Saturday, delves deep into what philosopher Ernst Bloch called “the principle of hope”, which structures our aspirations for immediate, private utopias as well as for radical change. The film focuses on the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church, an evangelical millenarian Christian denomination that celebrates the Sabbath and practices baptism rituals on Saturday. Shot mostly in 3D, the film combines images of baptism rituals recorded by Henrot at SDA Church with civil protests, neurological testing, cosmetic surgery, endoscopic exams and staged food television commercials, while headlines scrolling the bottom of the screen relate recurring bad news. The SDA obsession with diet and digital communication act as a mirror of modern capitalist society’s expectation for a better life, while echoing James Joyce’s idea of the “digestive value of religion”. This work will be installed at the Faena Forum. Taking inspiration from subjects as varied as literature, mythology, cinema, anthropology, evolutionary biology, religion and the banality of everyday life, Henrot’s diverse practice combines film, drawing, and sculpture.
Zhang Huan is a Chinese painter, photographer, sculptor, performance artist, and opera director. Perhaps best known for time-intensive performances that test his own physical and mental endurance, Zhang Huan regularly explores the figure and symbolism of the Buddha. He often uses materials such as incense ash to investigate this subject, while simultaneously depicting his cultural history and his conflicted feelings towards it. For The Last Supper, Zhang will present Miami Buddha. The work will feature two Buddhas sitting face to face—one an aluminum mold, the other made of incense ash imbued with the prayers of untold worshippers, collected from temples around China. During its installation on the beach, the ash Buddha will be exposed to the elements and may crumble and disintegrate – a meditation on the impermanence of life, the cyclicality of destruction and renewal, and the cycle of itinerant reincarnation death and rebirth.
Berlin-based Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh connects to places with his senses of hearing and taste. Through his audio installations and gastronomic works, Ogboh explores how private, public, collective memories, and histories are translated, transformed, and encoded into sound and food. These works contemplate how auditory and gustatory experiences capture existential relationships, frame our understanding of the world, and provide a context in which to ask critical questions on immigration, globalization, and post-colonialism. Ogboh will be creating a new commission for The Last Supper which will be informed by his connection to the city of Miami.
FAENA FESTIVAL FILM SERIES
The Faena Festival film series will use the contemporary collective ritual of film-watching to create a new space of congregation. In addition to the screening room, a selection of films will be projected from a boat stationed in front of Faena in order to emphasize the Festival’s ethos of public accessibility
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC