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The Disquieted Muses

Le muse inquiete

When La Biennale di Venezia Meets History

29 August - 8 December 2020
Central Pavilion
Giardini della Biennale, Venice
Location, contact

An exhibition by the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts – ASAC

Curated for the first time by the artistic directors of all six departments

In cooperation with Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, Rai Teche and other Italian and international archives


To mark the 125th anniversary of its foundation, La Biennale di Venezia presents Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses). When the Biennale Meets History. It is the first exhibition to be curated by all the artistic directors of La Biennale’s six departments: Cecilia Alemani (Art), Alberto Barbera (Cinema), Marie Chouinard (Dance), Ivan Fedele (Music), Antonio Latella (Theatre) and Hashim Sarkis (Architecture).

Working together, they have used the one-of-a-kind sources of the Historical Archives of La Biennale and other Italian and international archives to retrace key moments during the 20th century when the Biennale crossed paths with history in Venice. They have selected rare footage, first-hand accounts, and a range of artworks, following various lines of research to examine the many times when the history of La Biennale has overlapped with the history of the world—revealing or generating institutional rifts and political and ethical crises, but also new creative languages.

The exhibition is laid out in the rooms of the Central Pavilion and weaves its way through all six disciplines: from Fascism (1928-1945) to the Cold War and new world order (1948-1964), to the unrest of ’68 and the Biennales chaired by Carlo Ripa di Meana (1974-78), then from the postmodernism to the first Architecture Biennale and until the 1990s, and the beginning of globalization.

In a period of global instability that over the course of just a few months has brought a succession of environmental disasters, new pandemics, and social revolutions, La Biennale di Venezia serves as a wellspring and channel for the most innovative currents in the artistic disciplines of our era—but also continues to bear witness to the many shifts and crises that have supervened from the late nineteenth century to the present, like a seismometer recording the tremors of history.

In presenting the exhibition, Roberto Cicutto, President of La Biennale di Venezia, expressed his gratitude "for the generous support that the directors and staff of the Historical Archives and the entire Biennale have given to this project, parallel to their work on the exhibitions and festivals. It is one that bolsters La Biennale’s role as a hub of research in the contemporary arts, a fundamental driving force for investigating the present and future, and a strategic tool for development, even in terms of economic growth."


Location, contact:

Padiglione Centrale
Giardini della Biennale
Sestiere Castello, 30122 Venezia
Location on map

More information, tickets, bookings, safety regulations, etc:
Website of La Biennale


Media contact:
La Biennale di Venezia Press Office
Website | T. +39 041 5218 - 857/859

Connect with La Biennale di Venezia:
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From press information, La Biennale di Venezia. Photos above:
Left: Le Macchine Celibi, mostra ai Magazzini del Sale; La Biennale '75: un laboratorio internazionale; Photo: Mark Smith.
Right: Murales in Campo Santa Margherita; Manifestazioni "Libertà al Cile", Venezia 1974. Photo: ASAC


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