La Biennale di Venezia, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, will open to the public from Saturday May 11 to Sunday November 24, 2019, at the Giardini and the Arsenale; it will be curated by Ralph Rugoff and organised by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The pre-opening will take place on May 8, 9 and 10; the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
On April 19, 1893 the Venetian City Council passed a resolution to set up an biennial exhibition of Italian Art (“Esposizione biennale artistica nazionale”) to celebrate the silver anniversary of King Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy.
A year later, the council decreed “to adopt a ‘by invitation’ system; to reserve a section of the Exhibition for foreign artists too; to admit works by uninvited Italian artists, as selected by a jury.”
The first Biennale, “I Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte della Città di Venezia (1st International Art Exhibition of the City of Venice)” (although originally scheduled for April 22, 1894) was opened on April 30, 1895 by the Italian King and Queen, Umberto I and Margherita di Savoia. The first exhibition was seen by 224,000 visitors.
Since then, with only a some major interruptions during World War I and WWII, the Biennially captures the most prominent artist, curators, institutions, galleries, press, visitors, collectors and an innumerable eclectic profiles that seek something in this unique event.
BIENNALE ARTE 2019
58TH INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION
The President of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, and the curator of the 58th International Art Exhibition, Ralph Rugoff, met the press today at Ca’ Giustinian to launch the Biennale Arte 2019, which will take place from May 11th to November 24th 2019 (Pre-opening on May 8th, 9th, 10th) at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around other venues in Venice.
The 58th International Art Exhibition will be titled May You Live In Interesting Times, a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse that invokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; “interesting times”, exactly as the ones we live in today.
Ralph Rugoff explained his choice as follows:
“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. In this case it turns out that there never was any such “ancient Chinese curse,” despite the fact that Western politicians have made reference to it in speeches for over a hundred years. It is an ersatz cultural relic, and yet for all its fictional status it has had real rhetorical effects in significant public exchanges. At once suspect and rich in meaning, this kind of uncertain artefact suggests potential lines of exploration that are worth pursuing at present, especially when the “interesting times” it evokes seem to be with us once again. Hence the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia will be titled after a counterfeit curse.”
“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.”
“May You Live In Interesting Times will aim to welcome its public to an expansive experience of the deep involvement, absorption and creative learning that art makes possible. This will entail engaging visitors in a series of encounters that are essentially playful, taking into account that it is when we play that we are most fully ‘human.’ This will mean tweaking aspects of the Exhibition format where possible to make sure they are sympathetically aligned with the character of the art being presented.”
The Exhibition will also include 90 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the city centre of Venice. Four countries will be participating for the first time at the Biennale Arte: Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan. The Dominican Republic participates for the first time in 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, is titled Neither Nor: The challenge to the Labyrinth and curated by Milovan Farronato.
21 Collateral Events, which are admitted by the Curator and promoted by non–profit national and international bodies and institutions, take place in several locations around the city of Venice. They offer a wide range of contributions and participations that enrich the diversity of voices that characterises the Exhibition.
PARTNERS AND SPONSORS
The 58th International Art Exhibition was also made possible thanks to the support of Swatch, Partner of the event.
Main Sponsor of the 58th Exhibition is illycaffè.
Sponsors:JTI (Japan Tobacco International),Artemide,Vela-Venezia UnicaandSeguso Vetri d’Arte.
We wish to thank Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.