Solange Knowles has issued an art book commemorating her 2019 performance at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale de Venezia. The 188-page monograph, In Past Pupils and Smiles, can be purchased for $55 on Anteism Book’s website.
Composed and directed by Knowles, the Biennale performance displayed “themes of protection, transformation and spiritual transcendence amid Venice’s flood depredations,” according to The Fader.
Past Pupils and Smiles is “a work about protection—whether self-preservation or the act of protecting those around you,” as described by Vogue. Besides documented conversations, the art book also explores Knowles’s creative interests, both formal—movement, architecture, fashion, and expanding the boundaries of live performance—and theoretical, touching on the many Black women who have inspired her approach to art creation.
Readers can also enjoy behind-the-scenes and live-performance photography and written conversations by collaborators like co-curator Aaron Cezar, musician Greg Bryant, costume designer Kyle Luu, and hairstylist Virginie “Gin” Moreira.
“Documentation with still photography has always been really important,” the Houston native told Vogue. “For this work to be able to live on, to be archived, and shared throughout history, I actually had us redo this performance without an audience to capture how the energy force of the performance shifted.”
She added, “The sense of protection that we had while blocking out the gaze of the audience became more of a celebration of us when it was just performed for us. We could very, very, very visibly feel that energy shift.”
On the music tip, Solange’s last album When I Get Home was released in 2019. She recently announced the forthcoming premiere of her inaugural original ballet score. The performance will be held at New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala on Sept. 28 via the Lincoln Center.