Mark Salvatus on Representing the Philippines at the 60th Venice Biennale

April 14, 2024

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to artists and curators exhibiting in and curating the various national pavilions of the 2024 Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published daily in the leadup to and during the Venice Biennale, which runs from 20 April – 24 November.

Mark Salvatus is representing the Philippines; the pavilion is in the Arsenale.


ArtReview What do you think of when you think of Venice?


Mark Salvatus There was a time when Manila was called the ‘Venice of the East’ because of the large number of boats which occupied much of the city’s canal. I think of Venice as ‘canals’, as passageways with different directions and turns. You can navigate big and small routes, you can arrive at your destination or you can get lost. I think it’s the same with art.


AR What can you tell us about your exhibition plans for Venice?


MS My exhibition for the Philippine Pavilion aims to be a place for an imaginary journey, an invitation to glide within the space and redistribute energies. I am approaching the exhibition as a rehearsal, a choreography or a stage play that’s not in its final form yet, but close. An aspiration that is waiting to happen.


AR Why is the Venice Biennale still important, if at all? And what is the importance of showing there? Is it about visibility, inclusion, acknowledgement?


MS This will be my first time to visit and experience the biennale and I’m very excited to traverse the diverse programmes and venues as a viewer. The exhibitions and other parallel events contribute to complex conversations of our times and I am honoured to be able to participate in it. I am also interested in what will happen beyond Venice. What will this exhibition lead to? Will these dreams and discussions continue and transform? Venice as a geographical location will remain, but artists will go on to experiment and challenge stability.