Giuseppe Chico & Barbara Matijevic / Forecasting
The International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the “great mother” of all the Biennale activities, was organized for the first time in 1895 and immediately became one of the most important art expositions in the World. A prestige which is maintained even today for the ability of La Biennale art to anticipate new trends in art and, at the same time, to present under renewed perspectives works and artists of every period.
Countless Masters have been invited to present their works at the International Art Exhibition, as well as important critics and art historians curated main exhibitions and the National Pavilions: a very long list of central figures in the history of art of the 20th century which contributed to generate and develop the “pluralism of voices” which characterizes La Biennale di Venezia since its birth.
Bara Sigfusdottir and Eivind Lonning
Njideka Akunyili Crosby, The Beautyful Ones, Series #7, 2018, Courtesy of the artist, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner / Philippe Parreno, Exhibition view, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2018. © Philippe Parreno. Courtesy of the artist; Pilar Corrias, London; Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; and Esther Schipper, Berlin. Photo © Andrea Rossetti
Charlotte Prodger, Bridgit (still), 2016
Sean Scully, Madonna Triptych B + C
Sean Scully, Wall 3, 2017 © The artist
The 58th International Art Exhibition, titled May You Live In Interesting Times and curated by Ralph Rugoff, opens to the public on Saturday 11th May 2019 at the Giardini and Arsenale venues.
The title of this Exhibition could be interpreted as a sort of curse where the 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. And I believe that 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.
Twenty years have passed since, in this same location, I presented my first Exhibition after the Biennale underwent major reform in 1998. Let me tell you, they have been very interesting times. At the beginning we were criticized for the presence of the pavilions, considered old-fashioned in times of cosmopolitanism and globalization, we live in times where some people raise the doubt that cosmopolitanism might also have been a way for the most influential cultural and political realities to exert a sort of soft power. We are an international exhibition that since those years put the word “open” and “plateau of humankind” as the subtitle for all the following biennials.
Helen Frankenthaler, Italian Beach, 1960. © 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Rob McKeever. Courtesy of Gagosian
Georg Baselitz, Schlafzimmer (Bedroom), 1975 / BDM Gruppe (BDM Group), 2012, © Georg Baselitz. Photo by Jochen Littkemann, Berlin. Courtesy of Bolton & Quinn
Hicham Berrada, Installation view, Mesk-Ellil, 2015–19, at “Luogo e Segni,” Punta della Dogana, 2019. Photo by Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti. Courtesy © Palazzo Grassi
Eva Rothschild, The Shrinking Universe
Jean (Hans) Arp, Plant-Hammer (Terrestrial Forms), 1916. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn / © Jean Arp, by SIAE 2019. Photo courtesy of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Monira Al Qadiri, Wonder 1, 2, 3, 2016-17. Photo by Maksym Bilousov. Courtesy of PinchukArt Centre © 2019
During these years, we have increased the number of visitors and found a new partner. Over the course of the past years, the double cost of transportation in the lagoon obliged us to ask for additional support, and our expressions of gratitude and our wall labels included many market participants. The increase in the number of our visitors has allowed us to considerably cut back on this practice, as you can see in the drastic reduction in our expressions of gratitude, both when presenting the works and in the catalogues. Our visitors have become our main partner; more than half of them are under 26 years of age. Calling notice to this result seems to me the best way to celebrate the twenty years which have passed since 1999.
Simona Bertozzi, And It Burns, Burns, Burns
Miet Warlop, Ghost Writer And The Broken Hand Break
Fondazione Berengo Art Space. © Francesco Allegretto
Finnish Pavilion 2019 Miracle Workers Collective
We want to offer them an open gym where they can feel involved in encounters with the works and the artists, in the direct discovery of the “other” which the work of art offers. To us, it is important that, when entering the exhibit, the “public” becomes “visitors,” who then become “viewers” of the works. First, the necessary disorientation, then the involvement, followed by the discovery; it is almost a fencing drill. To share this direction is one of the reasons we have asked Ralph Rugoff to collaborate with us on this twentieth anniversary.
May You Live in Interesting Times will no doubt 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 (whose numbers now represent almost one percent of the world’s entire population).
–Paolo Baratta / La Biennale di Venezia
Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio, Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, 2006. Photo by Joshua White. Courtesy of The Brooklyn Rail
Studio Drift, Fragile Future at Cidade Matarazzo
The Exhibition will develop from the Central Pavilion, Giardini, to the Arsenale, and will include 79 artists from all over the world, among them including Sean Scully, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Nairy Baghramian, Danh Vo, Michael E. Smith, Shilpa Gupta, Julie Mehretu, Ulrike Müller, Tomás Saraceno, Henry Taylor.
* Due of weather conditions, the Biennale programming has been subject to temporary closures.