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According to declarations of curator Ralph Rugoff, quoted in various media after the release of the list of artists, some key aspects of this year's Biennale are:
The Central Exhibition will feature only 79 artists - all living artists.
It will be divided into two separate shows, one at the Arsenale, and one at the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. Both "Propositions" will include all artists, exhibiting very different kinds of works.
One aspect in focus will be the "post-truth era" of our times, and how artists deal with the so-called alternative facts, creating spaces for complex thinking and multi-level discourses.
It is expected that there will be a lot of painting in this Biennale, besides of film/video, spatial and digital works.
The title of the 58th International Art Exhibition is taken from a [supposedly] Chinese saying referring to periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; "interesting times," exactly as the ones we live in today.
Curator Ralph Rugoff about his concept:
"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."
Stephanie Rosenthal, President of the Jury (Germany)
Director of Gropius Bau Berlin
Defne Ayas (Turkey/The Netherlands)
Curator at Large at the V-A-C Foundation in Moscow
Cristiana Collu (Italy)
General director of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome
Sunjung Kim (South Korea)
President of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation
Hamza Walker (USA)
Executive Director of LAXART, Los Angeles
The International Jury will award the following official prizes:
- Golden Lion for best National Participation
- Golden Lion for best participant in the International Exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times
- Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times
The Jury will also have the opportunity of awarding:
- one special mention to National Participations
- two special mentions to the artists in the International Exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times
Artist: Shu Lea Cheang. Curator: Paul B. Preciado. Commissioner: Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Venue: Palazzo delle Prigioni.
Artist: Nujoom Alghanem. Curators: Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath. Commissioner: Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation. Venue: Arsenale, Sale d'Armi.
Giardini and Arsenale, opening times:
11 May - 24 November 2019
Tue - Sun 10 am - 6 pm
Closed on Mondays - except 13 May, 2 Sept., 18 Nov.
Only Arsenale until 5 October:
Fri, Sat 10 am - 8 pm
From press information.
Portrait Ralph Rugoff, © Photo: Andrea Avezzu, Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
Photo on top: © Haupt & Binder, UiU