María Magdalena Campos-Pons & Neil Leonard

Republic of Cuba Pavilion
National Archeological Museum
Piazza San Marco, Venice

June 1- November 24

The Stephan Stoyanov Gallery has announced that María Magdalena Campos-Pons & Neil Leonard will be participating in the Pavilion of Republic of Cuba, 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, which takes place inside The National Archeological Museum located in Piazza San Marco in Venice. The commissioner of the Pavilion Miria Vicini, and international curators Jorge Fernández Torres, Director of Wifredo Lam Center for Contemporary Art in Havana and Giacomo Zaza, included Campos-Pons’ work in the exhibition which examines most important contemporary art practices and poetics by artists from Cuba, and reflects on the country’s past, present and future.

Campos-Pons/ Leonard’s work is a site- specific installation 53+1=54+1=55. Letter of the Year. The work presents a parallel to the grid of architecture and sound, old and new, always in motion, so typical of Cuban cities but also the cities around the world. The artists are using the structure of birdcages as metaphorical vessels to capture dreams. They become a repository of accumulation of facts, data and fragmented narratives captured by fleeting videos and rupture sounds, creating the mixture of both sonic and visual texture of urban Cuba, as the country evolves and the basic diversity of discourse changes in a dramatic and even theatrical way on the island, as well as in perceptions of the island from abroad.

María Magdalena Campos-Pons was born in 1959 in the Matanzas province of Cuba. Her work investigates complex topics of sexuality, race, family ties, exilic identity, colonialism, cultural heritage, and personal and collective memories. She was trained at the Escuela Nacional de Arte and the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, and she did post graduate studies at Massachusetts College of Art. Campos-Pons was recipient of a Harvard Fellowship 93/94.

Neil Leonard is a prolific composer, performer, writer, and innovator in computer music and sound design. He has a long- standing career in working with visual artists, including María Magdalena Campos-Pons, with whom Leonard frequently collaborates since 1988. He has created sound for installations at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Kitchen, New York; The Seattle Art Museum; and Boston Museum of Fine Arts. His compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Banff Festival for the Arts, and the International Computer Music Convention. Widely recognized as an expert in music for multimedia, Leonard has lectured internationally. He is currently on the Fulbright Specialist Roster.

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