Venice Biennale of Art 2019, Exhibition Venues Around the Town, Italy

The 58th international art exhibition, entitled May You Live In Interesting Times, directed by Ralph Rugoff, took place from 11th May to 24th November 2019. The title is a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse that invokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; “interesting times”, exactly as the ones we live in today.

The exhibition is, as always, staged in the two main historical sites, the Giardini di Castello and the Arsenale, but also involves prestigious venues throughout Venice, where the representatives of many nations are hosted and where exhibitions and collateral events are set up. All the world’s futures forms a large and unified exhibition path that is articulated from the Central Pavilion of the Gardens to the Arsenale, including the participations of 79 countries and regions.

The title of this Exhibition expression “interesting times” evokes the idea of challenging or even “menacing” times, but it could also simply be an invitation to always see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation, thus, that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear.

May You Live in Interesting Times, include artworks that reflect upon precarious aspects of existence today, including different threats to key traditions, institutions and relationships of the “post-war order.” But let us acknowledge at the outset that art does not exercise its forces in the domain of politics. Art cannot stem the rise of nationalist movements and authoritarian governments in different parts of the world, for instance, nor can it alleviate the tragic fate of displaced peoples across the globe.

The 58th International Art Exhibition highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking. The Exhibition focus on the work of artists who challenge existing habits of thought and open up our readings of objects and images, gestures and situations.

Art of this kind grows out of a practice of entertaining multiple perspectives: of holding in mind seemingly contradictory and incompatible notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world. Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualising them. Animated by boundless curiosity and puncturing wit, their work encourages us to look askance at all unquestioned categories, concepts and subjectivities.

An exhibition of art is worth our attention, first and foremost, if it intends to present us with art and artists as a decisive challenge to all oversimplifying attitudes. In an indirect fashion, perhaps art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in ‘interesting times.’ It invites us to consider multiple alternatives and unfamiliar vantage points, and to discern the ways in which “order” has become the simultaneous presence of diverse orders.

Exhibition venues around the town
The Exhibition develops from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale and includes 79 participants from all over the world. With the gradual expansion of the scale, the scope of the Venice Biennale has expanded to cover the entire city. In addition to the main exhibition venues, it also includes many pavilions scattered on the streets of towns and even outlying islands.

Ca’ Giustinian is an historical palace among the most representative of the Venetian late Gothic style. The palace, originally called “dei Giustinian”, was built around 1471 and is the result of the union of two different buildings: Giustinian and Badoer-Tiepolo. It has been the subject of important renovations between 2008 and 2009. The interiors of the palace are accessible on request and are characterized by essential lines and neutral colors combined with decorative shapes and colors typical of contemporary design. The rooms have been completed with selected artistic works of Art, placed in order to enhance the relationship between Art and space. Light is the other characterizing element of the location.

Giardini is the traditional site of La Biennale Art Exhibitions since the first edition in 1895. The Giardini now host 29 pavilions of foreign countries, some of them designed by famous architects such as Josef Hoffmann’s Austria Pavilion, Gerrit Thomas Rietveld’s Dutch pavilion or the Finnish pavilion, a pre-fabricated with a trapezoidal plan designed by Alvar Aalto.

The Arsenale was the largest production center in Venice during the pre-industrial era, a symbol of the economic, political and military power of the city. Since 1980 the Arsenale has become an exhibition site of La Biennale on the occasion of the 1st International Architecture Exhibition. Later on, the same spaces were used during the Art Exhibitions for the Open section.

Exhibition venues around Castello and Cannaregio
Squero Castello located in the Castello district, just a few steps from the Ponte dei Pensieri bridge that leads to the Giardino delle Vergini inside the Arsenale area. Studio Cannaregio located near Ghetto Nuovo. Renovated and open to the public in 2020, the venue has a large multi-ambient exhibition room with 3 adjoining rooms, 3 bathrooms, a small room and private garden. Water access on one side of the exhibition room facing the San Pietro di Castello canal.

Lithuania Pavilion (Marina): Sun & Sea
Golden Lion Performance Award
Commissioner: Rasa Antanavičıūte, Curator: Lucia Pietroiusti, Exhibitors: Lina Lapelyte, Vaiva Grainyte and Rugile Barzdziukaite.
Sun & Sea (Marina). Opera-performance for 13 voices. Imagine a beach – you within this image, or better: watching from above – the burning sun, sunscreen, and bright bathing suits and sweaty palms and legs. Tired limbs sprawled lazily across a mosaic of towels. Imagine the occasional squeal of children, laughter, the sound of an ice cream van in the distance.

The musical rhythm of waves on the surf, a soothing sound (on this particular beach, not elsewhere). The crinkling of plastic bags whirling in the air, their silent floating, jellyfish-like, below the waterline. The rumble of a volcano, or of an airplane, or a speedboat. Then a chorus of songs: everyday songs, songs of worry and of boredom, songs of almost nothing. And below them: the slow creaking of an exhausted Earth, a gasp.

New Zealand Pavilion (Palazzina Canonica): Post hoc
Commissioner: Dame Jenny Gibbs, Curators: Zara Stanhope, Chris Sharp, Exhibitors: Dane Mitchell.
Post hoc. Myriad disappearances are at the heart of the project. A vast inventory of vanished or invisible phenomena, extinctions, and past events are broadcast from the Palazzina Canonica on the Riva dei Sette Martiri, the New Zealand Pavilion. Millions of defunct things are enunciated by an automated voice and electronically broadcast continuously from a tapered, echo-free chamber via commercially produced tree cell towers located across Venice.

These barely camouflaged, ersatz trees are nodes in a communication network that signal to the listeners entities that no longer exist – almost like the trees that the cell towers replicate. The scale of loss is visible in the empty Palazzina library where the lists are printed in sync with the broadcasts. The Latin phrase post hoc means ‘after this’. Dane Mitchell’s Post hoc troubles ideas of truth and agency, leaving open questions regarding how we recognise and consider the past in the present and its meaning for the future.

Exhibition venues around San Marco and Dorsoduro

Pavilion of Iraq (Corte del Duca Sforza): Fatherland
Commissioner: Ruya Foundation, Curators: Tamara Chalabi, Paolo Colombo, Exhibitor: Serwan Baran.
Fatherland is a solo exhibition by Serwan Baran. It explores the relationship between man and his native country through the position of the soldier. Iraqi Kurdish artist Serwan Baran was born in Baghdad in 1968. To date he has experienced over forty years of war in his country. During his time as a soldier and a war artist, Baran was forced to record the ‘glory’ of the Iraqi army and painted the conflict’s casualties for government propaganda purposes.

The choice of Fatherland as a title, in contrast with Motherland, is also a commentary on the masculine and paternalistic dimension of the political culture of Iraq as well as of the region. The country is dominated by men, who have inflicted oppressive ideologies and have launched wars. It can also be an examination of the role of the father as a patriarch in this socio-political culture, a fixed figure that continues to dominate in spite of the many attempts to challenge it.

Pavilion of Portugal (Palazzo Giustinian Lolin): a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot
Commissioner: Directorate-General for the Arts, Curator: João Ribas, Exhibitor: Leonor Antunes.
a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot. Engaging the histories of art, architecture, and design, Leonor Antunes reflects on the functions of everyday objects, contemplating their potential to be materialised as abstract sculptures. a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot continues Antunes’ interest in the work of important figures in the Venetian context, such as Carlo Scarpa, Savina Masieri and Egle Trincanato.

Antunes is interested in how craftsmanship traditions from various cultures intersect within this history. Elements of the exhibition are fabricated with Falegnameria Augusto Capovilla, one of the still-active Venetian carpentries that worked closely with Scarpa. The exhibition engages the history of Masieri’s commissioning of Frank Lloyd Wright and Scarpa, and the designs of Trincanato, the author of a study on popular Venetian architecture.

Pavilion of Antigua & Barbuda: Find Yourself: Carnival and Resistance
Curator: Barbara Paca with Nina Khrushcheva, Exhibitors: Timothy Payne, Sir Gerald Price, Joseph Seton and Frank Walter and Marlon Jeffers; Intangible Cultural Heritage Artisans: Colin “Wanga” Martin, Sylvanie Abbott, Louraine Adams, Johnson Browne, Louise Edwards, Melissa Peters, Joycelyn Prince, Glenroy Richardson, Hazelyn Roberts, King Short Shirt, Barry Thomas; The Youth of Antigua and Barbuda.

Find Yourself: Carnival and Resistance explores Carnival in Antigua and Barbuda and its defiance, from religious traditions to opposing slavery to the present-day celebrations. Against the backdrop of photographs of beautiful people going about their everyday life, political and the sovereignty of a soul is contrasted by towering mannequins clad in modern-day Carnival dress as a contemporary personification of strength.

A carnivalesque world is flexible and accommodates shifting identities, which leads to introspection. Woven into the exhibition’s contemporary reworking of intangible cultural heritage and its stance against human exploitation is a message to challenge modern-day slavery and environmental inequality. Across the globe, Carnival often stands as a microcosm of societal vulnerabilities. Visitors are invited to contemplate their respective societies and to find meaning in their own national forms of cultural expression.

Pavilion of Armenia (Palazzo Ca’ Zenobio degli Armeni): Hybridity: a Machine for Living Together
Commissioner: Tina Chakarian, Curator: Allen Sayegh (Vosguerichian), Exhibitors: INVIVIA and Storaket Architectural Studio
In today’s world of multifaceted cultures and relentless movement, we need to better understand how people develop a sense of identity and learn to interact with each other. The pavilion encourages visitors to explore the fundamentals of human interaction through a physical expression of the living process, both as individuals and as a community, in familiar as well as in unusual spaces.

Hybridity: a machine for living together is an interactive installation that works similarly to how we, as humans, use our perceptions, senses and social interactions to live with each other. Merging the digital and the physical, and occasionally making mistakes along the way, this fantastical architectural contraption attempts to generate new formulas, spaces, and experiences for living together in the neverending process of learning and transformation.

Exhibition venues around Giudecca and San Giorgio Maggiore
Giudecca Art Space located in four-sided venue with a view of the Fondamenta Sant’Eufemia and a large window. San Giorgio Maggiore located in the San Giorgio Maggiore island, on the San Marco Basin.

Pavilion of Iceland (Spazio Punch): Chromo Sapiens – Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter
Commissioner: Karitas H. Gunnarsdóttir, Director of the Ministry’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Curator: Birta Gudjónsdóttir, Exhibitor: Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter.

Chromo Sapiens – Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir / Shoplifter. In Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir’s multisensory large-scale installation she uses her personally developed textile techniques, a manipulation of her signature medium, synthetic hair.

The installation is a labyrinthine journey through cavernous chambers, a fuzzy abstraction of nature whose surface entirely covers the inside of the space in a colourful tangle of synthetic hair. The texture resembles plant-like overgrowth, the inverted hide of a beast, an organism embracing the viewer. Entering the piece as a Homo Sapiens, you are invited to explore your interior landscape through the stimulation of the senses where You are the destination of the journey, transformed into Chromo Sapiens.

Collateral Events

Palazzo delle Prigioni, Castello, 4209, San Marco
Taipei Fine Arts Museum of Chinese Taiwan
Hacking digital surveillance technologies and social media, Cheang uses the rooms of the Palazzo delle Prigioni, a Venetian prison from the 16th century in operation until 1922 – to create a real-time interface that the visitor is invited to join.

Involving historical reports based on ten cases of subjects incarcerated because of gender or sexual dissent (including Casanova, Sade, Foucault, but also contemporary cases), legal documents, fake news, myths, and fantasies, as well as the data retrieved from 3D surveillance cameras and the images uploaded by visitors, the exhibition constructs a dissident collective history of sexuality, where trans punk fiction, queer, and anti-colonial imaginations provide visual and critical frameworks to think through the histories of subjection and resistance and to activate a critical proliferation of poetic and political actions for digital times.

AFRICOBRA: Nation Time
Ca’ Faccanon, San Marco, 5016 (Poste Centrali)
AFRICOBRA: Nation Time presents the work of an African American artists’ collective founded on the South Side of Chicago in 1968. It is an exhibition of historic importance for the Black Arts Movement in the United States and for all international audiences who are curious to discover more about the ways in which the aesthetic of African American artists relates to politics, culture, and identity.

Capturing the sentiment of their time with a visual language of vivid colours, rhythm, compositional arrangement, and shine, the artists in AFRICOBRA: Nation Time reflect how a marginalised group found a way to empower themselves in a society that consistently denied them their power.

Mare Nostrum
Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy
The Brooklyn Rail
This exhibition is intended as a meditation on the fragility of our environment and the urgency of the impact of climate change on the Mediterranean Sea. It presents works by Lauren Bon, Julian Charrière, Newton Harrison, Wolfgang Laib, and Kiki Smith, among others, along with a public programming. The project undertakes the full activation of the “Brooklyn Rail”‘s radical ‘social environment’ (a synthesis of Joseph Beuys’s social sculpture and Nicolas Bourriaud’s relational aesthetic).

Related Post

The “Rail”‘s office is moved temporarily on site, producing its monthly issues as well as the River Rail, an offshoot of the “Brooklyn Rail” focusing on environmental issues. Similar to Jürgen Habermas’s proposed ‘public sphere’, this shared forum is intended to foster generative conversations on how the arts, politics, and culture are integral parts of the commonwealth of greater public that may lead to necessary steps towards collective action.

Baselitz – Academy
Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia
major exhibition of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, Georg Baselitz is the first living artist to exhibit at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. Curated by Kosme de Barañano, Baselitz – Academy examines Baselitz’s work in relation to the Italian artistic tradition and the legacy of the academy. Raised in the shadow of the Second World War and the division of Europe, Baselitz is celebrated as one of Germany’s pre-eminent artists, who has continued to debate the role of art throughout his career of more than sixty years.

Beverly Pepper – Art in the Open
Fondazione Progetti Beverly Pepper
Forty years after their creation, today the Todi Columns are considered the ambassadors of Beverly Pepper’s art in the world. Symbolically coming into port in Venice, now installed at Spazio Thetis at the Arsenale – the columns are the fulcrum of this exhibition, narrated by Gianfranco Gorgoni’s photographs and by the video Beverly Pepper’s Umbria, which contextualizes her many artworks present in the region, as well as her more recent sculptures.

The Columns’ journey’s next step is announced in a large-scale model of the Beverly Pepper Sculpture Park in Todi, where exact replicas are installed together with twenty other original works of art, donated by the artist to the Umbrian city for public enjoyment.

Catalonia in Venice_to lose your head (idols)… and the statues want to die.
Cantieri Navali, Castello
Institut Ramon Llull
The stone, wrenched from stones, material that is then cut, moulded or cast, constrained into an imposed form, wants to return to its mineral reign. Statues are artificial bodies. Like strange beings that ignite passions, desires and fears. Statues dominate us. They expose what we do not always want to see. We plead with them or we decapitate them. Desperate before their disdain, or grateful for their unexpected revelation, we react, by thanking them, or by serving them their final coup de grâce.

To Lose Your Head (idols) documents the complex life of statues, which some artists today recreate and reflect upon. Faced with these statues, our idols, the form is lost – we deform them – so that they no longer look at us, so that we no longer can see ourselves reflected in their eyes.

Förg in Venice
Palazzo Contarini Polignac
Dallas Museum of Art
By making works using abstract formal languages familiar from earlier movements in parallel to architectural photographs of modernist buildings, German artist Günther Förg (1952-2013) engages with the legacy of aesthetic Modernism. This exhibition presents a selection of his gestural and geometric paintings from different periods and on a variety of material supports, as well as examples of his bronze sculptures.

It shows how Förg’s work not only challenges the modernist conventions of his media by implicating their spatial contexts, but also raises broader conceptual questions about beauty and art’s relation to time. By placing his work in a space already so beautiful that it does not actually ‘need’ any refinement, the exhibition proposes that far beyond simply appealing to the senses with its seductive colours and materials, Förg’s work critically questions aesthetics’ underlying belief systems.

Venice Future Generation Art Prize 2019
Università IUAV di Venezia
PinchukArtCentre; Victor Pinchuk Foundation
The Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice presents the fifth edition of the first global art prize with twenty-one artists from almost all the continents and seventeen countries. The exhibition explores two recurring themes through a variety of media.

The first considers an ‘archeology of the future’, exploring the past and the present through the eyes of tomorrow. Using cutting-edge technology, the works question the possibilities of interpreting knowledge in today’s world. Investigating ideas of the self, the second theme of the exhibition draws from individual sociocultural values and traditions, whilst also exploring more poetic considerations of the psychological journey. Here, artists similarly reflect on a discrepancy between those traditions and shifting realities in a globalised world.

European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC)
FutuRoma draws upon aspects of ‘Afrofuturism’ to explore Roma contemporary art’s role in defining, reflecting, and influencing Roma culture. FutuRoma offers new and spontaneous reinterpretations of Roma past, present, and futures via a fusion of the traditional and the futuristic in order to critique the current situation for Roma people and to re-examine historical events. Imagining Roma bodies in speculative futures offers a counter narrative to the reductive ways that Roma culture has been understood and constructed, thereby moving our cultural expression beyond the restrictive motifs of oppression toward a radical and progressive vision of Roma to come.

Heidi Lau: Apparition
Arsenale, Castello
The Macao Museum of Art
Heidi Lau’s ceramic work often resembles the crumbling remains of historical relics and features imageries of Taoist and folk mythologies. Influenced by childhood memories of Macao, Lau centres the vernacular perspective in her approach on the subject, thus probing forgotten histories. This solo exhibition of Heidi Lau’s work alludes to the resurrection of Macao, once known as the City of the Name of God, in the current global, political, and economic landscape. As international capital erects surreal replicas of Venice’s waterways in Macao, Lau recreates in Venice an apparition of Macao that reflects vanishing beliefs in a society of spectacle, mourning the loss of personal and collective memory.

Ichich – Ichihr – Ichwir / We All Have to Die
Fondazione Querini Stampalia
Curated by Francesco Bonami, this is the first major exhibition of Jörg Immendorff’s work in an Italian institution. While this exhibition is not a retrospective, it is the first to uniquely address Immendorff’s inquiry into the artist’s identity and his participation within his own paintings.

Jörg Immendorff (1945-2007) was one of the most important artists to emerge from post-war Germany. His work has been exhibited internationally since the mid-1960s. Most recently, the major retrospective Jörg Immendorff: For All Beloved in the World opened at Haus der Kunst, Munich, and travels to Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, in 2019. Immendorff lived and worked in Düsseldorf and Hamburg until his death in 2007.

Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe
Magazzino del Sale
Art Gallery of South Australia
Asking the question: what was our planet three billion years ago?, the installation Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe is a South Australian collaboration between artists James Darling and Lesley Forwood, Jumpgate, composer Paul Stanhope, and the Australian String Quartet.

In Living Rocks, water floods the Magazzini del Sale, the historic stone salt storehouses of Venice that have stood the test of many an inundation. Emerging from an extensive pool are thrombolites that have been crafted, not by unimaginable time and the force of nature, but by the artists themselves, who employ the distinctive roots of an arid land eucalypt to create living rocks. Living Rocks is curated by Lisa Slade.

Philippe Parreno
Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia
Fondation Louis Vuitton
This new installation has been designed by Philippe Parreno specifically for Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia in the framework of the Fondation Louis Vuitton “Hors-lesmurs” program. Time – a core component – sets a tempo for the exhibition with the use of a complex computer program activating three interdependent elements: a marquee, a mechanical mirrored shutter, and phosphorescent wallpaper.

Paced on the ongoing development of microorganisms collected by the artist during past exhibitions, this choreography brings life to the space and creates a singular interaction between the viewer and the context. It annihilates the familiar markers of perception in favour of a stimulating process of inventing new ways of understanding, defying rational categories and the established order.

Pino Pascali. Dall’immagine alla forma
Palazzo Cavanis
Fondazione Pino Pascali
Fifty years after Pascali’s death, this exhibition offers a new interpretation of his works. The show – which reveals the importance of drawings, pictures, and projects in Pascali’s practice – was made possible thanks to the recent discovery of an important collection comprising 160 photos taken and printed between 1964 and 1965.

These previously unreleased materials were acquired by the Pino Pascali Foundation together with the fund dedicated to Commercial Videos. This exhibition can be viewed as an uncommon interpretation of the ‘Pascali method’, which connects artworks with some of his commercial work and set designs. Moreover, the show highlights unknown aspects about Pascali’s life and art.

Processional, an Installation by Todd Williamson
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Pietà
MAK Center for Art and Architecture
Todd Williamson explores ideas of order and tradition to examine the deep uncertainty and uncontrollable political, social, and cultural movements of our time. Both the work and concept generated for this installation were directly influenced by the environment in which it is displayed.

Through its long elegant proportions, the church of Santa Maria della Pietà encourages a meditative, sequential process of reflection. Drawing from the site’s richness, the artist has developed a series of works which encourage contemplation, challenge the perceived order of tradition, and ask: Who are our apostles today? Is the influence of today’s perceived ‘influencers’ truly inspirational or dangerously dogmatic?

Salon Suisse: s l o w
Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi
Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
The Salon Suisse offers a series of performances, talks, and cultural events supplementing the exhibition at the Switzerland Pavilion. On the piano nobile of Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi where the Salon takes place, s l o w questions the rhythm of creation and its intrinsic slowness. In an art world governed by the scopic dimension, slowing down would make way for sensoriality and resistance to productivism.

This year, the programme engages with slowness and art by considering topics such as acceleration, bedding, slothing, hypnosis, etc. It brings together a cross-section of participants from diverse backgrounds. Through a participatory programme based on an interdisciplinary approach, s l o w fosters resonance, proximity, and conviviality.

Scotland + Venice presents Charlotte Prodger
Arsenale Docks
The Scotland + Venice partnership presents SaF05, a new single channel video by 2018 Turner Prize-winning artist Charlotte Prodger. This new work continues the artist’s research into how lives are lived in sparsely-populated areas, and what happens to socially contingent signifiers of queer bodies within these spaces. Exhibited at Arsenale Docks, in the utilitarian workshop of a boatyard, SaF05 is exhibited alongside sculptural interventions.

The exhibition is commissioned by Scotland + Venice, and curated by Linsey Young with Cove Park. Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland and British Council Scotland. SaF05, a single channel video, is produced in partnership with If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution.

Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice
M+, West Kowloon Cultural District; Hong Kong Arts Development Council
Shirley Tse furthers her two-decade-long investigation of plasticity as a means to understand the world. Tse rethinks materials and processes and sheds light on the interconnections of individual subjectivities in a pluralistic society. Negotiated Differences, a sprawling, rhizome-like group of abstract forms and everyday objects in wood connected by plastic and copper joints, brings together craft, mechanical, and digital technologies into an integrated whole.

Playcourt, an arrangement of sculptures on tripods resembling a badminton court, emphasises the negotiation between people and space that is a fundamental component of play. This negotiation is at the heart of Stakeholders – foregrounding the ideas of affection, empathy, and ethics, the exhibition proposes a space to reflect on how we can coexist amidst our differences and come to terms with the unforeseen actions that define our relationships with one another.

The Death of James Lee Byars
Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione
Vanhaerents Art Collection
The exhibition allows the public to reconnect with the eponymous installation James Lee Byars created exactly twenty-five years ago and in which the artist hauntingly reflects upon his own mortality. In addition, the exhibition explores the artistic legacy of James Lee Byars and how his investigations on death continue to impact artists today, by way of a new immersive installation by the Franco-Lebanese artist Zad Moultaka,which was specifically commissioned for the occasion.

The Spark Is You: Parasol unit in Venice
Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia
Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art
Curated by Ziba Ardalan, The Spark Is You shows works by nine contemporary Iranian artists who work either in Iran or abroad. Inspired by the 200th anniversary of Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan, a book of lyrical poems written in homage to the fourteenth-century Persian poet Hafez, the exhibition reveals aspects of Iranian culture as reflected in works that clearly evince the value of looking beyond the familiar. Just as two centuries ago Goethe sought to bridge East and West, these Iranian artists from different generations highlight the dialogue between all cultures as a vital spark to mutual understanding.

Wales in Venice: Sean Edwards
Santa Maria Ausiliatrice
Cymru yn Fenis / Wales in Venice
The solo exhibition by Welsh artist Sean Edwards at Santa Maria Ausiliatrice is a poetic inquiry into place, politics, and class, intertwined with personal histories. It is the artist’s most ambitious and emotionally resonant work to date. Known for his sculptural approach to the everyday, Edwards has created sculpture, film, prints, and Welsh quilts inspired by his experiences growing up on a council estate in Cardiff inthe 1980s. The show also includes a new radio commission: a script read daily by the artist’s mother from her home in Cardiff transmitted live to the venue. Her voice becomes part of the material of the work, altering the exhibition’s atmosphere with its presence and its absence.

Venice Biennale 2019
The 58th Venice Biennale was an international contemporary art exhibition held between May and November 2019. The Venice Biennale takes place biennially in Venice, Italy. Artistic director Ralph Rugoff curated its central exhibition, May You Live in Interesting Times, and 90 countries contributed national pavilions.

The Venice Biennale is an international art biennial exhibition held in Venice, Italy. Often described as “the Olympics of the art world”, participation in the Biennale is a prestigious event for contemporary artists. The festival has become a constellation of shows: a central exhibition curated by that year’s artistic director, national pavilions hosted by individual nations, and independent exhibitions throughout Venice. The Biennale parent organization also hosts regular festivals in other arts: architecture, dance, film, music, and theater.

Outside of the central, international exhibition, individual nations produce their own shows, known as pavilions, as their national representation. Nations that own their pavilion buildings, such as the 30 housed on the Giardini, are responsible for their own upkeep and construction costs as well. Nations without dedicated buildings create pavilions in the Venice Arsenale and palazzos throughout the city.

La Biennale di Venezia was founded in 1895. Paolo Baratta has been its President since 2008, and before that from 1998 to 2001. La Biennale, who stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, organizes exhibitions, festivals and researches in all its specific sectors: Arts (1895), Architecture (1980), Cinema (1932), Dance (1999), Music (1930), and Theatre (1934). Its activities are documented at the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts (ASAC) that recently has been completely renovated.

In all sectors there have been more research and production opportunities addressed to the younger generation of artists, directly in contact with renowned teachers; this has become more systematic and continuous through the international project Biennale College, now running in the Dance, Theatre, Music, and Cinema sections.

Tags: Italy