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Stranieri Ovunque - Foreigners Everywhere is the title and theme of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2024, curated by Adriano Pedrosa.
Adriano Pedrosa at the press conference on 22 June 2023 (video still)
The title is drawn from a series of works started in 2004 by the Paris-born and Palermo-based collective Claire Fontaine. The works consist of neon sculptures in different colours that render in a growing number of languages the words 'Foreigners Everywhere'. The phrase comes, in turn, from the name of a Turin collective who fought racism and xenophobia in Italy in the early 2000s: Stranieri Ovunque.
Adriano Pedrosa explains: "The backdrop for the work is a world rife with multiple crises concerning the movement and existence of people across countries, nations, territories and borders, which reflect the perils and pitfalls of language, translation and ethnicity, expressing differences and disparities conditioned by identity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, wealth, and freedom. In this landscape, the phrase Foreigners Everywhere has (at least) a dual meaning. First of all, that wherever you go and wherever you are you will always encounter foreigners—they/we are everywhere. Secondly, that no matter where you find yourself, you are always, truly, and deep down inside, a foreigner."
In his curatorial statement Adriano Pedrosa wrote: "(…) The Biennale Arte 2024 will focus on artists who are themselves foreigners, immigrants, expatriates, diasporic, émigrés, exiled, and refugees—especially those who have moved between the Global South and the Global North."
"The figure of the foreigner is associated with the stranger, the straniero, the estranho, the étranger, and thus the exhibition unfolds and focuses on the production of other related subjects: the queer artist, who has moved within different sexualities and genders, often being persecuted or outlawed; the outsider artist, who is located at the margins of the art world, much like the autodidact and the so-called folk artist; as well as the indigenous artist, frequently treated as a foreigner in their own land. The production of these artists is the primary focus of this Biennale, and constitutes the International Exhibition’s Nucleo Contemporaneo."
"(…) The International Exhibition will also feature a Nucleo Storico gathering works from 20th century Latin America, Africa, the Arab world, and Asia. Much has been written about global modernisms and modernisms in the Global South, and a number of rooms will feature works from these territories, much like an essay, a draft, a speculative curatorial exercise that seeks to question the boundaries and definitions of modernism. (…) In addition, a special section in the Nucleo Storico will be devoted to the worldwide Italian artistic diaspora in the 20th century: Italian artists who travelled and moved abroad developing their careers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, as well as in the rest of Europe, becoming embedded in local cultures—and who often played significant roles in the development of the narratives of modernism beyond Italy."
In addition to the international exhibition in the Arsenale and the Central Pavilion of the Giardini, there will be, as usual, many official national participations and parallel institutional events. In his statement Adriano Pedrosa emphasizes that the Venice Biennale has always been a platform for the presentation of the works by foreigners from all over the world. "Thus, the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, will be a celebration of the foreign, the distant, the outsider, the queer, as well as the indigenous."
12 artists have been selected for the 2nd edition of Biennale College Arte 2023/24 on the occasion of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa. They will participate in the workshop from October 23rd to November 1st, 2023.
The goal is to supplement the International Art Exhibition with an advanced training workshop for the conception, development and production of artworks by emerging artists under the age of 30.
The workshop, alternating individual and group sessions, will be coordinated by the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts Department, Adriano Pedrosa, together with tutors working directly with the participants on the development of the projects.
After the workshop, up to 4 of these artists will be selected to receive a grant of 25,000 euros for the realization of the final work. The artworks will be presented out of competition in the context of the 60th International Art Exhibition, curated by Adriano Pedrosa.
(From information on the website of La Biennale di Venezia)
The Italian-born Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino (biography) and the Paris-based Turkish artist Nil Yalter (biography) are the recipients of the Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia - Stranieri Ovunque - Foreigners Everywhere
The Curator Adriano Pedrosa declared:
“This decision is particularly meaningful given the title and framework of my Exhibition, focused as it is on artists who have traveled and migrated between North and South, Europe and beyond, and vice versa. In this sense, my choice rests upon two extraordinary, pioneering women artists who are also migrants and who embody in many ways the spirit of Stranieri Ovunque—Foreigners Everywhere: Anna Maria Maiolino (Scalea, Italy, 1942, lives in São Paulo, Brazil), who migrated from Italy to South America, first to Venezuela and later to Brazil, where she lives today; Nil Yalter (Cairo, Egypt, 1938, lives in Paris, France), a Turkish who migrated from Cairo to Istanbul and finally to Paris, where she is based.”
The artists will be both participating at the Biennale Arte for the first time in 2024: Maiolino will present a new large-scale work that continues and unfolds her series of sculptures and installations in clay; Yalter will showcase a new reconfiguration of her innovative installation Exile is a hard job in conjunction with her iconic Topak Ev work, placed in the first room of the Central Pavilion at the Giardini.
(From press information, 3 November 2023)
© Photo on top: © Haupt & Binder, universes.art