BIENNALE ARTE 2019/1

La Biennale di Venezia
58th International Art Exhibition
BIENNALE ARTE 2019
May You Live in Interesting Times
Preview: May 8th, 9th and 10th
Ralph Rugoff curator of the
58th International Art Exhibition
Paolo Baratta
President of La Biennale di Venezia,
May 11th to November 24th, 2019
Venice Arsenale and Giardini
https://www.labiennale.org

La Biennale di Venezia
May 11th to November 24th, 2019

The 58th International Art Exhibition, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, is curated by Ralph Rugoff and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The pre-opening will take place on May 8th, 9th and 10th, the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday May 11th 2019.

«The title of this Exhibition could be interpreted as a sort of curse – stated President Paolo Baratta – 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 -President said – 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.»

«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.»

«We want to offer them an open place – Baratta concludes – 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.» –

The Exhibition will develop from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and will include 79 artists from all over the world.

Ralph Rugoff has declared: «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).»

«But in an indirect fashion, perhaps art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in ‘interesting times.’ The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking. The Exhibition will 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. 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.»
May You Live in Interesting Times

May You Live in Interesting Times

Ralph Rugoff explained his choice as follows:

“At a moment when the digital dissemination of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ is corroding political discourse and the trust on which it depends, it is worth pausing whenever possible to reassess our terms of reference.”

“The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking.”

“Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualising them.”

“May You Live in Interesting Times will aim to welcome its public to an expansive experience of the deep involvement, absorption and creative learning that art makes possible. This will entail engaging visitors in a series of encounters that are essentially playful, taking into account that it is when we play that we are most fully ‘human.’ This will mean tweaking aspects of the Exhibition format where possible to make sure they are sympathetically aligned with the character of the art being presented.” (See full statement attached)

President Paolo Baratta stated:

«In 1998, on this very same date, July 16, the reformed Biennale appointed Harald Szeemann as first curator of the new Biennale. This choice was suggested by the very history of the institution. The Art Exhibition traditionally resulted from the coming together of several exhibitions, each one with its own theme and curators. In 1980, one of these sections was titled Aperto (Open), a name that encapsulated a different atmosphere of openness to the world; this was also curated by Szeemann, among others. It is unsurprising that his first Biennale in 1999 was titled dAPERTutto (APERTO overALL). The germ of the 1980 exhibition thus grew into the International exhibition.”

“Through the appointment of Ralph Rugoff as Curator, we meant to contribute and give further formal clarity to the idea that we have nurtured in the last twenty years about the role of La Biennale and especially of the Art Exhibition.”

“We are committed to the principle that the institution must be a machine for desire whose mission is to buttress and boost our need to see further beyond, a need that art can help us fulfill. But the Biennale should also be the place where each single visitor is strongly encouraged to come face to face with the work of art. The institution, the places, the works selected by the Curator, their spatial display, the atmosphere that the institution can create, all of these must contribute to building favourable conditions that allow visitors to feel engaged when meeting the artwork, as if they were players on a fencing strip, ready for a bout

As usual, the 58th International Art Exhibition will also feature National Participations with their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around the city centre of Venice. The next edition will also include a selection of Collateral Events, in which international institutions will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice concurrently with the 58th Exhibition.

https://www.labiennale.org
#BiennaleArte2019 #MayYouLiveInInterestingTimes

 

National Participations

The Exhibition will also include 91 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Five countries will be participating for the first time at the Biennale Arte: Algeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan. The Dominican Republic exhibits for the first time at the Biennale Arte with its own national pavilion.

The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, will be curated this year by Milovan Farronato.

La Biennale di Venezia
http://www.labiennale.org
Facebook: La Biennale di Venezia
Twitter: @la_Biennale
Instagram: labiennale

 
 
 

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