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The 58th International Venice Biennale Art Exhibition: La Biennale Di Venezia 2019

This year’s 58th Venice International Art Exhibition, currently ongoing, is featuring works of 79 participants from all over the world, whose artistic works, are said to be a reflection of the challenges faced in the course of human events.

Titled ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, the exhibition which was officially open to the public on 11th May, made headway from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) then to the Arsenale. Organized by La Biennale Di Venezia, ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ is curated by the London-based Ralph Rugoff and chaired by Paolo Baratta.

The title of the exhibition could be an elucidation of a curse. As stated by President Paolo Baratta, the articulation of “interesting times”, cited as an ancient Chinese curse, induces the idea of difficult times. According to Baratta, it is an illustration of the complex situations which occur in the course of human events and are mostly overly simplified as a result of fear. Quoted, Baratta said “I have faith that an art exhibition is worthy of our attention, if it’s intended to present us with artistic works and artists, as a decisive challenge to all overly simplified attitudes”.

According to the curator of the exhibition Ralph Rugoff, ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ will with no doubt be inclusive of art pieces that reflect upon unsure or unpredictable aspects of existence today, including different menaces to the crucial traditions, institutions and relationships of the ‘post-war order’. He also states that “Art does not exercise its forces in the world of politics, thus it cannot stem the rise of nationalist movements and authoritarian governments in the different parts of the world, nor can it change the tragic fate of the displaced persons across the globe who are almost one percent of the world’s population”.

The 58th Venice Biennale will not have a theme in itself, but will point out a general approach in art making and the view of art’s social functions such as embracing pleasure as well as critical thinking. Its main focus will be on the works of artists who challenge the already existing attitudes and open up our readings of images, situations, objects as well as gestures. The foundation of the already ongoing exhibition is based on the human practice of owning several perspectives of situations, which hold contradictory and incompatible notions, while putting to use the different artistic ways to make sense out of them.

The exhibition also includes 89 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. The five countries which are participating for the first time at the Biennale Arte are: 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.

The next edition will be inclusive of 21 Collateral events, in which international institutions will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice simultaneously with the 58th Exhibition.

‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ will be on view until November 24th 2019.

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