IN 2019, THE LENSES ARE OVER VENICE
With only months lasting for the most important event of the international art scene, Venice is preparing to celebrate the 58th Venice Biennial. Founded at the end of the 19th century, the Italian city biennial reinvents itself every two years to summon the most outstanding figures of the contemporary scene. Under Ralph Ruggof general curator of the biennial proposal, May You Live in Interesting Times will is the leitmotiv which will transform Venice from May to November inti an art factory.
So far, forty-nine pavilions were announced for the biennial. Under specific selection criteria, each country invited to participate has internally chosen the artists and curators who will represent them. Regarding America, nine countries have confirmed their participation and announced their curators and artists: Argentina will participate with Florencia Batitti as curator and artist Mariana Telleria; Brazil has confirmed the participation of Gabriel Pérez Garreiro curator and the artists Bárbara Wagner & Benjamín de Burca; Canada convened the Collective of Inuit artists led by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn under the curatorship of Asinnajaq, Catherine Crowston, Barbara Fischer, Candice Hopkins and Josée Drouin-Brisebois; Agustín Pérez Rubio will be the curator for Chile, country represented by painter Voluspa Jarpa; United States summoned Brooke Kamin Rapaport as curator and sculptor Martin Puryear; the curator Magalí Arriola and the artist Pablo Vargas Lugo will form the Mexican pavilion; Peru will be represented with Gustavo Buntnix as curator and Christián Bendayán as artist; and Uruguay’s pavilion, represented by artist Yamandú Canosa will be cured by David Armengol and Patricia Bentancur.
In relation to the motto designated by Ralph Ruggof, the general curator of the biennial explained that the origin of it comes from a supposed Chinese curse that refers to times of crisis and uncertainty. "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" he added. Ruggof stressed that the biennial final objective is not to address a specific issue, but to offer viewers a ludic –a characteristic that requires modifying traditional exhibition models- and learning experience that art produces. "Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualizing them. "
In short, based on May You Live in Interesting Times slogan – alluding for sure to the sociopolitical context that threatens the 21st century -, the approach sought by the general curator for this new edition of the Venice Biennale seeks to highlight the social function of art as a meaning and critical thinking producer. And why not, of pleasure too.
From May 11th to November 24th, all eyes will be on Venice and, as happens every two years, visitors from around the world will travel to northeastern Italy to form a culture Babel founded on one of the oldest beliefs of humanity: the power of art as a universal language.