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The images show the 'Third World Sputnik' by Simón Vega (born in San Salvador in 1972; lives/works in La Libertad, El Salvador) at the Pavilion of Latin America-IILA (Italo-Latin American Institute) during La Biennale di Venezia (1 June - 24 November 2013); photos captured on the press day on 30 May 2013.

The Latin American Pavilion hosts works by artists from Latin American countries like Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Ecuador, Peru... and from Europe such as Christian Jankowski or Harun Farocki, both from Germany. The theme of this year's exhibition 'The Atlas of the Empire' concerns geopolitical aspects of art, especially how artists from Latin America and Europe are influencing each other.

'Biennale Venice 2013' series by Karin Sawetz, publisher Fashionoffice
Insights into La Biennale di Venezia 2013

Issue 1: Introduction
Issue 2: Il Palazzo Enciclopedico

Issue 3: Walking on Water
Issue 4: A Pilsener space capsule?

Issue 5: The spiciest installation!
Issue 6: The perfect body?
Issue 7: A billionaire and a textile designer
Issue 8: Hairstyles

A Pilsener space capsule?

My first association with Simón Vega's capsule covered by mainly Pilsener beer cans was the space jump by Felix Baumgartner sponsored by Red Bull. My initial thought was "Well, the Latin Americans prefer beer for flying high." But this interpretation would be too easy for an art work at La Biennale di Venezia.

Simón Vega's capsule (covered with beverage cans; inside, it is equipped with TV, toilette paper - obviously for longer travels) carries the name 'Third World Sputnik' and refers in a humorous way the Soviet Space flight Korabl-Sputnik 5 from the early 60ies with mannequin Ivan Ivanovich on board.

But why a parody on space flight?

Beneath the parody plot, Simón Vega addresses the political and social situation of El Salvador from the 1950s until the 1980s during times of Cold War. Simón Vega mentions the space run between US and USSR (50s, 60s), the relation between El Salvador and the USA under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, the Salvadoran civil war, rich and poor, high tech and no tech.

The artist explains that the art work 'Third World Sputnik' "...combines elements from the Space Race with those of a society that struggled with a post colonial, military and dictatorship run system. It speaks of our all too soon forgotten past by means of a futuristic out of this world spacecraft."

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