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54th International Art Exhibition,
la Biennale di Venezia

4 June - 27 November 2011

Feature about the Central International Exhibition in 2 parts:

This extensive Special by UiU about the 54th Venice Biennale includes a large coverage of the Central International Exhibition, and Special Features about selected pavilions and collateral shows.


ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations

The exhibition ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations, curated by Bice Curiger, is laid out in the Central Pavilion in the Giardini and in the Arsenale, forming a single itinerary, featuring 82 artists from all over the world. The director asked four participating artists to create "parapavilions", architectural and sculptural structures erected in the Giardini and the Arsenale to house the works of other artists.

Bice Curiger stated:

"La Biennale is one of the world’s most important forums for the dissemination and 'illumination' about the current developments in international art. The title of the 54th Exhibition, ILLUMInations literally draws attention to the importance of such developments in a globalised world. I am particularly interested in the eagerness of many contemporary artists to establish an intense dialogue with the viewer, and to challenge the conventions through which contemporary art is viewed."

"ILLUMInations emphasizes the intuitive insight and the illumination of thought that is fostered by an encounter with art and its ability to sharpen the tools of perception – the director underlined. While the last Biennale ‘Making Worlds’ highlighted constructive creativity, ILLUMInations will focus on the 'light’ of the illuminating experience, on the epiphanies that come with intercommunicative, intellectual comprehension. The Age of Enlightenment also resonates in ILLUMInations, testifying to the enduring vibrancy of its legacy".

Bice Curiger is an art historian, critic and curator of international exhibitions. Her curatorial activity at Kunsthaus Zurich parallels her important work in the publishing sector. In 1984, she cofounded the prestigious art magazine "Parkett", of which she is editor-in-chief. She has been publishing director of London Tate Gallery’s magazine "Tate etc" since 2004.

The central international exhibition "ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations" is paralleled by 88 national participations, a record for the Art Biennale (there were 77 in 2009) , housed in the historical Pavilions in the Giardini, in the Arsenale, as well as in other locations around the city. More than 40 Collateral Events are arranged by international organizations and institutions, which will set up their exhibitions and initiatives in various locations around the city on the occasion of the Biennale.

(From a press release)


54th International Art Exhibition Awards:

Golden Lion for Best National Participation:
Germany, Christoph Schlingensief
Commissioner: Susanne Gaensheimer
(Pavilion at the Giardini)

Golden Lion for the best artist at the ILLUMInations Exhibition:
Christian Marclay: The Clock, 2010
(* 1955 USA; at the Arsenale)

Silver Lion for a promising young artist at the ILLUMInations Exhibition:
Haroon Mirza
(* 1977 Great Britain; Arsenale and Central Pavilion, Giardini)

The Jury has also decided to assign two Special Mentions:

Behind the White Curtain, Darius Mikšys
Commissioner: Kestutis Kuizinas
(Pavilion in town; Scuola S. Pasquale, Castello 278)

Klara Lidén
Untitled (Trashcan), 2011
(* 1979 Sweden; at the Arsenale)

The Board of la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, also awarded Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement under director Bice Curiger’s proposal to:

* 1930 Lakewood, Ohio, USA. Lives in Paris, France.

Franz West
* 1947 Vienna, Austria; lives there.

International Jury of the 54th International Art Exhibition:

Hassan Khan(Egypt)
President of the jury, visual artist and experimental musician, lives and works in Cairo.

Carol Yinghua Lu (China)
Independent curator and art critic, contributes to several international magazines such as Frieze, Contemporary and Today Art.

Letizia Ragaglia (Italy)
Specialized in museology and contemporary art, director of the Museion, Museo of modern and contemporary art Bolzano.

Christine Macel (France)
Writer, art critic, has been curator at Centre Pompidou, Paris since 2000.

John Waters(USA)
Filmmaker, actor, writer, artist and art collector, teaches Film and Subculture at the European Graduate School, Switzerland.

+ more

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More presentations in this UiU Special:

Organizer, contact:
La Biennale di Venezia
Settore Arte
Ca' Giustinian
San Marco 1364/A
30124 Venezia, Italy
Website | Email

Visual Art Press Office:
Tel.: +39 041 - 5218 849

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