“GOD THE FIRST GARDEN MADE, AND THE FIRST CITY, CAIN.”
THE GARDEN, ABRAHAM COWLEY
There is nothing left, but the ruins. But it is over the ruins that things get rebuilt. The arrival of disaster announces the creation of the ruins and the production of something new and that usually happens when conditions change or end. But the end is not a clean affaire. It is a slow process, a transformation that goes on despite the fact that one assumes that the end is a fixed point in time and in space, generally speaking linked to a precise event. The works of art that appear in this section conclude, formally, a complex process that went on for two years. It is a process of doing that has accumulated the research of the past and the present and that concocted an idea of the end that might give birth to a possible future, beyond and as an alternative to the city dwelling of those who bear the mark of Cain.
The Ending of the End is one of ten sections of Lanfranco Aceti’s installation titled Preferring Sinking to Surrender which was conceived by the artist for the Italian Pavilion, Resilient Communities, curated by Alessandro Melis for the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2021. The ten sections are: Tools for Catching Clouds; Preferring Sinking to Surrender, Part I; Preferring Sinking to Surrender, Part II; Sacred Waters; Le Schiavone; Orthós; Seven Veils; Signs; Rehearsal; and The Ending of the End. These sections, singularly and collectively, create a complex narrative that responds to this year’s theme How Will We Live Together? set by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale.
The works of art — realized as a series of performances, installations, sculptures, video, and painting contributions — are part of the installation at the Italian Pavilion from May 21, 2021, to November 21, 2021, the opening and closing dates of the Venice Architecture Biennale.
It is difficult to find a conclusion to a body of works of art that has drawn its inspiration from millennia of history in the Italian peninsula. The end is an artificially man made point that is purposely created to establish a narrative that includes and excludes. It is a divide that reduces the notions of process and development to disconnected sections and not to integrated elements of life.
For this reason I have decided to refute this axiom. This is a project that, despite having been realized for the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, remains open and in a sense without a completion point which would also signpost its artificial death. The Ending of the End, seemingly in a contradictory manner, speaks of life and new beginning while announcing and discussing the last part of the end. The end phase of any process, if one follows a patriarchal understanding of life, has a beginning (the beginning of the end), but it also should have an end (the ending of the end). The latter is what the works of art in the tenth and last section of Preferring Sinking to Surrender are all about.
Although it might not appear so, The Ending of the End represents an optimistic statement since in the very end it is possible to observe the seeds of something new that might emerge. It is the moment in which all inscrutable forces of creation can come to the fore and emerge from the ashes as something different and perhaps less human — as we know and understand humanity at this point in time. Something alien that may offer a utopian vision more easily realizable and that is more inclusive and less violent of present realities created with necessary violence — or so patriarchs say — to realize some utopian dreams delivering justice.