Eyes on the Biennale 2019

May you live in Interesting Times.

The 58th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia opened on the 11th May 2019 and will run until the 24th November 2019. Split over 2 exhibitions and featuring 79 artists. So jealous if you have been, or are going to go in the future. I wish more than anything to go, alas I can’t. So I am resigned to view it vicariously through what the organisers deem fit to share.

A little bit about the show this year! Here’s a sneaky peak…

The 2019 offering was curated by Ralph Rugoff OBE, an American-born curator and current director of the London’s Hayward Gallery since 2006. Ralph has this to say about his concept for the show:

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.– Ralph Rugoff OBE, 58th Venice Biennale 2019

The title of the show is taken from a [anon] Chinese saying referring to periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil.

Hmmmmm – Not unlike the times we live in today…..

Sun Yuan & Peng Yu
Dear. 2015

The show features beautiful works that are oddly familiar, but also other worldly like the suspended alien-like cocoons of Anicka Yi’s work as seen in the image below. These I love.

Or, the work Ocean II Ocean. 2019 by Cyprien Gaillard.

This work is a color video with sound that runs in a loop. The immediate environment surrounding the screen is a dilapidated tiled room (a bit post apocalyptic) I guess, to heighten the experience when viewing the imagery on the screen.

Oceans II Oceans
2019 by Cyprien Gaillard

Footage shot in metro stations in Russia and other regions of the former Soviet Union, focusing on fossilised matter in the marble walls and floors, combined with archival footage of New York’s MTA subway cars being dumped in the ocean, accompanied by an echoing tattoo beaten out on steel drums – Cyprien Gaillard. Venice Biennale 2019

In other parts of the show there are more atmospheric and environmental installations, as well as a Folly. Who doesn’t love a Folly.

Lara Favaretto, Thinking Head, 2017-2019

Also, there looks to be plenty of tumultuous and unsettling paintings with visual themes of hopelessness, despair and destruction. If anything they are thought provoking.

Artiist: Nicole Eisenman
Left: Going Down River on the USS J-Bone of an Ass 2017
Right: Achilles Heel 2014

If you would like to see more, and there is so much more head over to Universes in Universe and check out their comprehensive coverage of the event.

Fingers crossed I win lotto this weekend.


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