Taking the classical story of Dido and Aeneas as its starting point, the Heartbreak includes the work of nine contemporary artists, each exploring the theme of heartbreak. From personal to political, the works in ‘Heartbreak’ will align with RUYA MAPS’ mission to support artists working in, or concentrating on, areas of political instability, while addressing the need for a wider global conversation about loss, betrayal and exploitation.
Map Your Heartbreak
How might heartbreak have affected your sense of place? RUYA MAPS’ interactive project Map Your Heartbreak reflects different experiences of heartbreak, from the classical Dido and Aeneas, to our contemporary artists. Its interactive map also includes crowd-sourced submissions - they could be the location of a national heartbreak, a family loss or a change in circumstances.
Through a five part series the Heartbreak podcast will unpack different themes within the exhibition: Dido and Aeneas, Layla and Majnun, maps, war and nostalgia.
The first episode is available to listen to now. It features experts Professors Stephen Harrison (Corpus Christi, Oxford), Bryan White (Leeds University), Themelis Glynatsis (Greek National Opera) and Edith Hall (King’s College London). They discuss Virgil’s Dido and Aeneas - characters who form a central metaphor in the exhibition.
In a photo series, artist Pepe López has documented the beauty of the trees in Caracas. A beauty made more powerful through an understanding of the threats that trees in the rest of Venezuela face, and what their loss entails for Venezuelans.
The late John Berger wrote to the multi-media artist Randa Maddah that “fragments, not of the earth, but of a homeland, [are] expressed in the figures you create. Through you the self-portraits of these territorial particles came into being.”
After fifteen years of the Lebanese Civil War, which lasted from 1975 until 1990, more than 100,000 people had been killed, and nearly 1,000,000 displaced. One of the victims of the war was the Lebanese artist Imad Issa. Hit by an explosion that left shrapnel embedded in his body, Issa dedicated a large part of his work to protesting the war.
What motivates the artist Christiana Soulou is “a poetic dimension” that she “believes life has in itself.” It is also what serves as the inspiration for her work. The forms that are rendered in her characteristic style often originate in great literature, with previous collections taking reference from Jean Cocteau, Jorge Luis Borges and William Shakespeare.
This episode of the Heartbreak series looks at maps, both as material objects and as tools that shape how we see the world we live in. It looks at how maps have been used to divide countries, and how across those same borders they can be used to bring communities together. It takes in the practical implications of map making, such as for refugees who are living in temporary camps, and the romanticised sense of wandering off the beaten path.
In this episode we take a closer look at Layla and Majnun, which has been a popular theme in literature since its origins in Bedouin oral storytelling. Majnun was associated with a real life character who probably lived in the second half of the seventh century in the Arabian peninsula, but by the Persian poet Nizami’s time in the twelfth century there were many variations of the Majnun theme circulating.
In a five part series, the Heartbreak podcast will unpack the different themes of the exhibition. Throughout the run of the 58th Venice Biennale episodes will be released on: Dido and Aeneas, Layla and Majnun, maps, war, and rites of passage.
The start of May was a busy period for RUYA MAPS as we worked to install Heartbreak at Ca’ Del Duca, which opened on 11th May.