Madagascar will take part in the 58th edition of La Biennale di Venezia International Exhibition with its own pavilion for the first time in its history. Although several Western countries have attended it for more than a century, only during the last ten years have some African pavilions begun to appear, for instance, South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire.


Joël Andrianomearisoa was chosen to represent his country alongside curators Rina Ralay Ranaivo and Emmanuel Daydé, due to the invention and maturity of his work, his international reputation as well as the unconditional support of his professional network.


This first participation in La Biennale di Venezia is a historic event for Madagascar. It is a sign of dynamism and modernity for the Malagasy nation. It reflects a positive image of the country at national and international levels, despite the all too frequent predominance of either exotic or miserable images associated with it. It is a message of hope and willingness to put the creative forces of Madagascar in the mainstream of the world.


The Madagascar Pavilion, a project of Madagascar’s Ministry of Culture, will be fully financed by national and international private funds.



“And we have more beautiful nights than your days” Jean Racine  


Giving material expression to a journey translated from the night and viewed through the prism of torn papers of love and death, Joël Andrianomearisoa deploys the intangible essence of the invisible, turning around a world of otherness as an iron sun fades into the azure of night; as dark light no longer ushers in the day. In love “with the different grounds of three contrasting orchards: cold Europe, India with its pink and blue skies and Africa, a clear, deep spring” (Jean Joseph Rabearivelo), Andrianomearisoa endlessly unites their fundamental, component opposites to create elegant, abstract, melancholic forms woven from natural materials devoured by shadow and light.


Child of the nights of “Iarivo the dead” (Antananarivo) and un año de amor on the streets of Madrid, a lone dreaming nomad straying from the bars and restaurants of Paris to the sleeping shores of the Bosphorus or the infinite horizons of Cotonou, the artist without frontiers brings a boundless nostalgia to the modernity of the square, breathing the sentimentality of material things.

Charged with creating the Venice Biennale’s first Madagascar pavilion, Joël Andrianomearisoa does not pay tribute to a country, but to the majesty of beyond black and its mournful wanderings – folding, unfolding, revealing outlines, singing and laughing as melancholy comes. “The geometry of the angle is a point of no return that embraces the present,” he assures us.  


Thinking of his distant land, the artist deconstructs the Palace of Ilafy, the first royal residence on the twelfth sacred hill of Imerina, separating the heavy planks of black rosewood to build them into twelve organic canopies that tumble in a dark cascade of bags, ropes and ashes. From the lost memory of that royal hut springs a tomb for half a million soldiers at Ecbatana, an allegorical Platonic cave, a labyrinth of passions, a theatre of affections… Gutted blades falling from the sky in waves of soot and rain throw up the wan, grey mists of the dying Creuse or the notched, gullied walls of Tritriva’s lovers’ lake. Turning the world above to the world below.


Rina Ralay-Ranaivo and Emmanuel Daydé




The Madagascar Pavilion will be located at the Arsenale Artiglierie among the first national pavilions following the international exhibition.