The lack is here not understood in psychoanalytical terms, therefore not linked to desire, drive or gaze. It is the straightforward absence from the scenery, as in a diorama missing a rear foot of a gazelle, or the gap in a film strip where the projectionist subtracted one frame of a black and white celebrity or a nude part of a woman’s body.
Therefore, this absence is not nostalgic either, nor is it longed for by anyone. It once was there, but it is not truly missing either.
This kind of absence characterizes the Transnational Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. A concept exists. A list of artists also features in this communication. As such, this absence shall therefore not be understood as any form of retreat, unobserved debris or miscellaneous otherness. On the contrary, this absence is simply a continuation of a reduced scale, which started two years before in the cloud of questions around the grand-scale event which is the Venice Biennale.
Known to most West Africans, the Bantu proverb made famous by the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe during an interview with the Paris Review: "There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."
The program of the 2nd Transnational Pavilion is questioning the act of omission of an artist from a grand happening such as a biennale, reflecting on the geo-political, inner-art conflicts and an economy of funding that brings together such a happening.
It questions the scale and economics of the event, and the act of inviting a certain nationality to present a pavilion announcing their arrival onto an accepted world stage.
The 2nd edition of the Transnational Pavilion takes place in 12 commercial places in Venice and it engages 22 international artists.
The shops and their glass windows could already be considered anti-nationalistic pavilions, where different typologies of goods, from all over the world, are collected and displayed.
The Transnational Pavilion invites artists to camouflage their texts, objects, photos and videos in certain shops and their displays integrating their practice in both local and global commercial activities. These uncommon pavilions are addressed to tourists, Venetians and the art public, without invitation.