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Visitors flock to first Vatican pavilion at Venice Biennale

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, inspired the Vatican's contribution (CNS)

Art lovers only have one month left to see the pavilion curated by the Holy See at the Venice Biennale, the first contribution made by the Vatican to the Venice Biennale since the major biannual contemporary art exhibition began in 1895.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi suggested the subject of the exhibition. Inspired by the first part of the book of Genesis, the pavilion is divided into three sections entitled Creation, Un-creation – inspired to the Michelangelo’s Universal Judgment of the Sistine Chapel – and Re-creation – an opening up to a new humanity and a new journey.

The pavillion curated by Antonio Paolucci, main director of the Vatican Museums, and by Micol Forti, coordinator of the contemporary art section of the Vatican Museums, who said that Ravasi’s intuition was “absolutely critical to offer a ‘spine’ to this initiative”.

The artwork was entrusted to three artists, the Italian Studio Azzurro, the Czech photographer Joseph Koudelka and Australian-Irish artist Lawrence Carroll, who were able to show how spirituality and contemporary art are not actually far away and do not speak languages at all contradictory.

Canadian Jesuit Fr Peter Larisey was among those who warmly welcomed the Church’s presence at the Venice Biennale, saying exhibitions are “the most important form of dialogue right now”.