Allora and Calzadilla creative duo (SACI Alumni 1995) representing the US Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla during an Art21 interview on PBS

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla during an Art21 interview on PBS

Internationally renown artist duo, Allora & Calzadilla met while they were students in Florence at SACI (Spring 1995) and have been collaborating together ever since, gaining recognition around the world with their unique mix of sculpture, photography, live performance, sound, and video in both conceptual and dimensional work and installations. Projects based on research comment on cultural, social, political, and historical metaphors.

This year, the duo was invited to participate in the 56th Biennale di Venezia, in the Arsenale, where they presented In the Midst of Things, a new choral work with music by Gene Coleman performed by Voxnova Italia and based on The Creation (Die Schöpfung) (1796–98) by Joseph Haydn. According to the Biennale, the work is “composed between 1796 and 1798, depicts and celebrates the creation of the world and the origins of humankind. The libretto is based on accounts in the book of Genesis and John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667). This new performance will explore the tradition of in medias res along with other story-telling methods, such as reverse chronology, flashback, and flash-forward, by adopting these nonlinear techniques as structuring devices for the musical arrangement. It will literally intervene into the musical order of the original score, playing some sections forward, then backward, and jumping over other sections. These reversals, inversions, and interruptions of musical sequence and the accompanying back-masking and phonetic reversal of sung words will be further emphasized through a parallel stage direction.” Catch a video segment by clicking on image below:

Allora & Calzadilla, "In the Midst of Things," performance at the 56th Venice Biennale

Allora & Calzadilla, “In the Midst of Things,” performance at the 56th Venice Biennale

This isn’t the first time Allora & Calzadilla have been present at the Venice Biennale; they represented the US pavilion in 2011 (read the New York Times article and watch the TATE video). Earlier this year, their work was shown in a large solo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Allora & Calzadilla: Intervals. They have been featured in Art in the Twenty-First Century (Art21), Season 4 (2007), Paradox on PBS. The couple was interviewed in Interview Magazine. They are represented by the Lisson Gallery (NYC, London, Milan).

SACI Founder and Director Emeritus, Jules Maidoff and Jennifer Allora

SACI Founder and Director Emeritus, Jules Maidoff and Jennifer Allora

The artists recently attended SACI’s 40th Anniversary Alumni Reunion celebration where they had a chance to catch up with former instructors and other SACI alumni were thrilled to hear about their exciting successes first hand.

Jennifer Allora (born 1974, Philadelphia) and Guillermo Calzadilla (born 1971, Havana) have collaborated on an extensive body of work since 1995. Through a research-based approach, their works trace intersections of history, material culture, and politics through a wide variety of mediums, namely performance, sculpture, sound, video, and photography. Their work has been exhibited and collected widely in public institutions and private collections. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at the Trussardi Foundation, Milan (2013); Indianapolis Museum of Art (2012); the US Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); the Museum of Modern Art (2010); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2008); and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (2008); Serpentine Gallery, London (2007); and the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2007). Among numerous group exhibitions, they have participated in Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); the 5th, 7th, and 10th Gwangju Biennials, South Korea (2004, 2008, 2014); and the 24th and the 29th São Paulo Biennial (1998, 2010). The artists live and work in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Read more about SACI Alumni Success Stories.

Check out SACI’s new courses: Venice Biennale and Sound Art.

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About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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