Korakrit Arunanondchai

RUGOFF’S EDITION IS ABOUT TO START
The theme chosen by the curator is very broad and open

FIVE NEW COUNTRIES:
ALGERIA, GHANA, Madagascar,
Malaysia and pakistan

May You Live in Interesting Times” is the title of the 58th edition of the most awaited contemporary art event in the world.

A wish? A curse? An incantation?

We will know it only when the Biennale will open, on May 11.

The theme chosen by the curator, Ralph Rugoff, is certainly quite vague, so artists will have to succeed in providing politically, ethically and aesthetically correct works, without falling into the traps of banality; in addition to this, they will also have to keep in mind the (quite unclear) objective of the exhibition, that is, to create flavourful works that are capable of adding flavour to the great soup of contemporary art.

 

NEVERTHELESS, ART HAS LOST
THE POWER TO EXERT A CONCRETE
INFLUENCE ON REALITY

 

Among the 79 artists who have been invited to participate in the show, there are both great names (George Condo, Jimmie Durham, Shilpa Gupta, Upson Kaari, Teresa Margolles, Julie Mehretu, Tomás Saraceno, Rosemarie Trockel, Danh Vo) and less known authors, in a balanced mix. So, to Renato Barilli’s delight, we are not going to see “the same old works by the same old artists”.

This is also the first edition of the Biennale in which there are more female than male artists (41 to 38), an unprecedented achievement that perfectly aligns itself with the present social climate. The pavilions are 91 as always, but five new countries are entering the Biennale: Algeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan. Finally, there will be 21 collateral events that will take place in the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice.

 

WE MAY EXPECT THE SAME OLD
STANDPOINTS AGAINST ALL
THAT DOES NOT WORK

 

The chosen theme is open to the freest interpretations of the present historical age. There is no point in trying to guess the main themes, which will be related to migration, borders, the equality of the sexes, ongoing wars and environmental protection. Personally, I am quite curious to see if anyone will dare to go against the grain and exhibit works that highlight also the good things of the present age. It is always too easy to condemn politics, since art, as Rugoff himself said, can affect it any more, being it as effective as a gun loaded with blanks: you can say everything you want, since you know from the start that nobody will pay attention to you. One of the keys to success – or to failure – is the Italian Pavilion. Milovan Ferronato, the curator of the pavilion, has invited Enrico David, Liliana Moro and late-lamented Chiara Fumai, in the hope to compete with the excellent performance of the last edition. The theme is that of the labyrinth, and was chosen in order to draw a parallel with the maze of Venetian alleys and to underline the will to exhibit that ensemble of voices and opinions that have always been a symbol of this event.

Cesare Orler

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