A girl is seen softly touching the nose of a giant, white horse frozen in mid-air within the Argentinian Pavilion of this year’s Venice Biennale, a large sculptural work by artist Claudia Fontes. The Horse Problem, and the Argentinian Pavilion, are located within the biennale’s Arsenal building, the largest pre-industrial production center of the world. Made long ago from wood, bricks, and iron, the building is one that could have only been built by horse-power, the work highlighting the hidden influences the animal had in the city.
The installation, which also features 400 white rocks scattered around the two central figures, is inspired by 19th-century icons around which Argentina’s national presence was falsely based. Fontes uses these borrowed characters in her present work to examine how nations develop across history, especially in her own country of Argentina.
“By highlighting how the destinies of the human and horse species have been intertwined through exploitation from the very moment that horses were domesticated, The Horse Problem offers in a flash, a way to reinterpret history in a different way, a chance to construct an alternative narrative for our future as species,” said Gabriel Giorgi in his essay for the work’s catalogue.
The Horse Problem is curated by Andrés Duprat, director of the National Museum of Fine Arts of Argentina.