The Venice Biennale is recognized as a world leader in contemporary art exhibitions. The 58th International Art Exhibition is underway and will run from May 11th to November 24th, 2019. Taking place at the Giardini, the Arsenale and in various locations across Venice, the Biennale combines national and international exhibitions alongside collateral events that enrich the diversity.
Curated by Ralph Rugoff, the current director of the Hayward Gallery in London, this years’ international exhibition is titled May You Live in Interesting Times. This title, often used in political discourse to refer to crises, is not simply an explanation for the events unfolding around us, but rather an invitation to think critically. Art gives us the opportunity to see reality from different angles and so the aim is to challenge simplified thinking.
MiND had the opportunity to visit the pre-opening of this years’ Biennale. Here are some exhibitions that we recommend visiting ahead of the public opening on the 11th May.
This impressive installation by Lorenzo Quinn is a development of his 2017 sculpture, and features six giant pairs of hands that are clasped across the canal entering the Arsenale.
As the name suggests, the concept behind Quinn’s installation aims to symbolize people overcoming differences in order to build a better world.
Located in Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà, just 5 minutes walk from St. Mark’s Square, is the national pavilion of Andorra.
The exhibition by Philippe Shangti is composed of several fragmented installations with joyful colors and a range of multimedia, including sound. The individual pieces are all equally intriguing, but put together offer a critique of the consumerist society that we live in and its negative effects.
Despite the slightly hidden location, this is not an exhibition to miss.
The Venice Pavilion, located at the Giardini, is a collaboration of seven international artists who have worked together to represent the city, exploring its history and mythology.
Featuring rooms surrounded by water to represent the canals, the entrance and exit of the pavilion is connected by an inflatable structure installed on the water that guests are invited to walk through, as if they are walking through the canals of Venice.
The Venice Pavilion is also running a collateral event during the Biennale, ‘Creators of our time’, where young people from Italy are invited to enter a competition to express their vision of the present time.
With the space left in semi-darkness, the Philippine Pavilion at the Arsenale has an immersive atmosphere and enhances the installation – ‘Island Weather’.
This installation features three platforms that represent islands of the Philippines. Visitors are able to walk over the glass platforms, under which are a selection of objects, distorted by the use of mirrors to give the impression of an endless void underfoot.
Located in the Arsenale courtyard, the famous shipwreck of 18th April 2015, where a boat of immigrants tragically sunk in the Mediterranean sea, acts as a silent reminder of the so-called ‘interesting’ times we are living in. With only 28 survivors and over 800 people presumed missing, this boat was designed to carry only 15 men.
The shipwreck is a collective monument and memorial to contemporary migration. Its public exhibition opens up the possibility to actively use Barca Nostra as a symbol of historical importance.
May You Live in Interesting Times gives us a view from new and different perspectives and we believe it is a truly eye opening exhibition. Stay tuned for further highlights!