Press Release

Faena Art Announces Second Annual Faena Festival

Event Date: 
2 December 2019
Miami Beach, FL
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Faena Art announced today the theme and initial line up of artists for its second annual Faena Festival to be presented during Miami Art Week. Running from December 2 through 8, 2019, the Faena Festival: The Last Supper, an exploration of spirituality and food in contemporary art will present artworks that engage with the complexities of spirituality and food, through the lens of their interpretations in contemporary art and in our cultural imaginings.

The Festival will explore abundance and sacrifice, indulgence and abstinence, symbolism and aesthetics. 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. The Last Supper will serve as a platform to celebrate and reveal the multiplicities of connections among spiritual rituals and culturally-shared practices such as communion, fasting, and ancestral offerings.

The Last Supper will include commissions by Myrlande Constant, Gabriel Chaile, and Emeka Ogboh as well as works by Yael Bartana, Camille Henrot, Zhang Huan, and The Propeller Group, in addition to a robust film series, with additional artists to be named in the coming months. Programs will be free and open to the public.

Organized by Zoe Lukov, Chief Curator for Faena Art, the Festival’s experiential presentation and curatorial format will occupy and engage the entire Faena District and extend into Miami Beach’s public spaces, waterways, and beaches. These diverse venues will be activated alongside the Faena Hotel’s theater and screening room, as well as the Faena Forum—the cultural centerpiece of Faena District. The Festival platform is an alternative space for congregation, a new kind of house of worship.

Alan Faena stated, “Faena Festival exemplifies my vision to create a platform that supports artists to realize their dream projects, fosters new talents, and proposes new ideas that inspire me. I created the Festival to be an incubator, a space for connectivity, that pushes the limits and blurs the boundaries across artistic disciplines. I have always been fascinated by the way that art and spirituality have been historically intertwined, creating new dialogues, narratives and experiences, and this year the second annual Festival will engage with these concepts and connections.” 

“Art and spirituality have been linked forever—objects have always been made with intention, imbued with symbolism, 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 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 spirituality or food for solace and healing, and this Festival wants to ‘take us to church’, invites us to break bread together,” said Lukov.

The Last Supper will feature seminal works and newly-commissioned installations and performances by renowned and emerging artists, including:

Yael Bartana, an Israeli artist who works in film, installation, and photography, often exploring the imagery of identity and the politics of memory, particularly as it 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.

Gabriel Chaile, an Argentine artist of indigenous descent from the city of Tucumán, 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 talismans—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 a public space outside the Faena Hotel.

• Haitian artist Myrlande Constant, who has been creating Vodou flags since the early 1990s. Pioneering a new style of Vodou 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 main lobby of the Faena Hotel and accompanied by a series of pre-existing flags.

Camille Henrot, whose 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.

Zhang Huan, 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, who 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.

The Propeller Group, 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.

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.

The Last Supper is the second iteration of the Faena Festival. The inaugural Festival, This Is Not America, presented in Miami Beach in December 2018 and in Buenos Aires in April 2019, addressed ‘America’ as a contested and powerful idea greater than the borders that frame it. Alfredo Jaar’s iconic work A Logo for America (1987) was a point of departure for the Festival, challenging and subverting the monolithic and hegemonic idea of America. The Festival also featured commissions, installations, videos, and performances by Derrick Adams, Cecilia Bengolea, Isabel Lewis, Wu Tsang and boychild, Luna Paiva, George Sánchez-Calderón, Tavares Strachan, Miya Ando, Boris Mitić, Ana Teresa Fernández, Eugene Jarecki, Joseph Beuys, and Agustina Woodgate and the Rev. Houston R. Cypress.

About Faena Art

FAENA ART is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that houses and produces post-disciplinary and time-based experiences. A catalyst for innovative, site-specific, and immersive creative practices, FAENA ART is a transformative bridge across the Americas, between the south and the north, the popular and the experimental, activism and research. FAENA ART fosters new models for performative social interaction that transcend the traditional boundaries of art, science, philosophy, and social practice.

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Myrlande Constant, Exorcism, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and CENTRAL FINE.

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