Art Blog

Venice Biennale

CHRIS OFILI, FROGS IN THE SHADE, 2014.
CHRIS OFILI, FROGS IN THE SHADE, 2014.

The 56th International Art Exhibition entitled All the World’s Futures is curated by Okwui Enwezor and organized by la Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The exhibition, held at the Giardini della Bienalle and the Arsenale, features over  136 artists from 53 countries, of whom 89 will be showing at the Biennale for the first time.

“The world before us today exhibits deep divisions and wounds, pronounced inequalities and uncertainties as to the future,” said Paolo Baratta as he introduced this year’s edition. “Despite the great progress made in knowledge and technology, we are currently negotiating an ‘age of anxiety’. And once more, the Biennale observes the relationship between art and the development of the human, social, and political world, as external forces and phenomena loom large over it. Our aim is to investigate how the tensions of the outside world act on the sensitivities and the vital and expressive energies of artists, on their desires and their inner song. One of the reasons the Biennale invited Okwui Enwezor was for his special sensitivity in this regard.”

Okwui Enwezor, the first Nigerian curator of the exhibition, described the 1974 Biennale (part of which was dedicated to Chile)  as a curatorial inspiration.  “Bringing practitioners across the fields of visual art, cinema, music, theater, dance, and performance, the events of the 1974 Art Biennale were spread across the entire city of Venice, said Enwezor. “Today, this remarkable and transformative episode in the history of the Biennale is largely forgotten. The dedication of the program of events to Chile and against fascism remains one of the most explicit attempts, in recent memory, by which an exhibition of the stature of the Art Biennale not only responds to, but courageously steps forward to share the historical stage with the political and social contexts of its time.”

All the World’s Futures, introduced the ARENA, an active space dedicated to continuous live programming across disciplines, designed by award-winning Ghanaian/British architect David Adjaye. The linchpin of this program is the live reading of all three volumes of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital (Capital).

venice3Other highlights of the exhibition include :

The Invisible Borders Trans-African Project,  an artist-led organization founded in Nigeria in 2009 that assembles African artists –mainly photographers, writers, and filmmakers  to reflect on the question of borders and its implications in 21st century Africa.  The Invisible Borders will present in the 56th Art Biennale a Trans-African Worldspace, a survey of their platform’s recent and ongoing photographic and audiovisual production, which will be periodically generated and incorporated into their presentation throughout the seven months of the exhibition. Moreover, the group will present in the ARENA their feature length documentary Invisible Borders 2011, The Film, followed by a discussion on the State of Things in the trans-African contemporary art scene and the critical ideas at the centre of their practice.

Theaster Gates activates his new multimedia installation Martyr Construction, a work addressing the question of the recurring dissolution and demolition of church parishes in African American and Hispanic neighborhoods across the United States.

venice4Abounaddara,  an anonymous collective of Syrian filmmakers working on impromptu documentaries, otherwise known as “emergency cinema.” Abounaddara has long reflected on the right to the image. They employ an aesthetic of do-it-yourself and disorientation, self-producing their films and distributing them online to avoid political censorship and the formatting dictates of the media and entertainment industries. Since its founding in 2010, Abounaddara has released a series of short documentaries celebrating the daily life of ordinary Syrians. In the wake of the March 2011 popular uprising, they began to produce a short film every Friday, an ongoing initiative that relies on the voluntary commitment of a network of filmmakers who work in secret, for reasons of security. At the Art Biennale Abounaddara will present a video installation featuring a selection of films from their prolific body of work, and will premiere a new film every Friday.

The Biennale ends on  Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 .

 

 

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