The 54th International Art Exhibition, with the title of ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations, directed by Bice Curiger and organized by la Biennale di Venezia under the presidency of Paolo Baratta, will be opening on Friday, June 3rd, and will be accessible to the public from Saturday, June 4th to November 27th 2011 in the Giardini and the Arsenale. The preview will be taking place on June 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2011.
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 exhibition ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations will be 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, including 32 young artists born after 1975, as well as 32 women artists. 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.
As usual, the Exhibition will be paralleled by 89 National Participations, a record for the Art Biennale (they were 77 in 2009), housed in the historical Pavilions in the Giardini, in the Arsenale, as well as in other locations around the city. The Padiglione Italia in the Arsenale, organized by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities together with PaBAAC – General Direction for landscape, fine arts, architecture and contemporary art, will be curated by Vittorio Sgarbi. The countries that will be participating for the first time will be Andorra, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Haiti. Other countries will be participating after a long period of absence: India (1982), Congo (1968), Iraq (1990), Zimbabwe (1990), South Africa (1995), Costa Rica (1993, afterwards with IILA), Cuba (1995, afterwards with IILA). More than 40 Collateral Events will be 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.
“La Biennale di Venezia is one of the world’s most important forums for the dissemination and illumination of current developments in international art – Bice Curiger stated. The title of the 54th International Art Exhibition, ILLUMInations, literally draws attention to the importance of such endeavours in a globalized world. As the biggest and oldest Biennale, la Biennale di Venezia has always been buoyed by an international spirit, and even more so now in an age in which artists themselves have become multifaceted, discerning migrants and cultural tourists”.
“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”.
“The Biennale is like a wind machine - Paolo Baratta reveals. Every two years, it shakes the forest, unveils hidden truths, gives new strength and light to new sprouts, showing older trunks and persisting branches from a different perspective (this year trunks are really old considering the intention expressed by the curator to open with Tintoretto). The Biennale is a great pilgrimage, where in the works of artists and in the work of curators the voices of the world meet, to talk about their own and our future. Art here is meant as a continuous evolution”.
“In an age in which art has long since ceased the emphasis on the provocation of anti-art – president Baratta adds - we seek the ways of the dialogue between the artist’s work and our vision and our spirit, we want to understand and feel the ‘beyond’ that art generously offers and whispers to us, we wish ¢illumination’ as visitors, as art lovers, as individuals and as members of the human community”.
There are two leading projects organized by la Biennale for the 54th Exhibition: Biennale Sessions and Meetings on Art. Biennale Sessions is a programme addressed to institutions, operating in the field of research and education in the domain of arts or similar. The objective is to promote the Exhibition visit among groups of at least 50 students and teachers, who will be given support to organize their trip and stay. They will also be given the possibility to organize seminars in venues we offer them free of charge. We have contacted more than 2,000 international institutions so far, who have been invited to take part in the programme. Meetings on Art stands for a number of meetings and seminars with artists, curators, philosophers and theologians scheduled in the month of June and early in autumn. As Paolo Baratta explains, the purpose of both these projects is to “confirm the role played by la Biennale di Venezia as an institution open to knowledge and to the spirit of research”.
The Educational activity is also planned for 2011, addressing individuals as well as groups of students belonging to schools (regardless of any level and kind), universities and academies of fine arts, professionals, companies, experts, art lovers and families alike. Such initiatives, guided by selected operators trained by la Biennale di Venezia, aim at actively involving participants, and are divided into Guided visits and Lab Activities.
The 54th Exhibition opening and award ceremony will be taking place on Friday, June 3rd in the Giardini, with the presentation of the official awards by the International Jury.
On the occasion of the 54th Exhibition, three online competitions will be launched through the website www.labiennalechannel.org: · ILLUMInations – Photography: the best photograph of the Exhibition (competition open only to accredited photographers) · ILLUMInations – Essay: the best critical essay on the Exhibition · ILLUMInations – Video clip: the best video about the Exhibition
The catalogue is published by Marsilio Editori, whose edition will be manifold this year. The official Catalogue presenting the 54th Exhibition, the National Participations and the Collateral Events is in fact a thorough book with plenty of ideas and contents. The short Catalogue, also presenting the three sections of the Exhibition, features a large number of photos taken during the preview days, and is the abridged version of the official catalogue. The Short Guide provides maps and useful information and turns out to be a helpful tool to get around the Exhibition venues. The design of the whole production isrealizedby the Swiss studio Gavillet & Rust. Photos of the Exhibition will be taken by Bruno Mancia and Franziska Bodmer.