ART IS HUMAN, FREE, SUPPORTIVE
An artistic itinerary to let yourself be sweetly enraptured by the unique dimension of life in Venice, made up of beautiful things to admire, and with time articulated by the slow vaporetti that plow its waters
Everyone knows the reality of the canals, churches and museums of Venice, the itineraries that are constantly the prey of tourists from all over the world. Why not then dedicate yourself to an itinerary of discovery in search of another Venetian soul that without a doubt deserves to be contemplated and experienced, a contemporary and avant-garde Venice? From Saturday, May 13, to Sunday, November 26, in the Gardens and in the Arsenal, the city presents the 57th International Exhibition of Art, with the title “VIVA ARTE VIVA,” curated by Christine Macel and organized by the Biennale of Venice presided by Paolo Baratta.
A space dedicated to open dialogue between the artists and the public, this Biennale, in the words of its president, is “dedicated to celebrate and give thanks to the very existence of art and artists, that with their world offer us an expansion of our perspective and of the space of our existence.” In the historic pavilions of the Gardens, in the Arsenal and throughout the historic center of Venice, the exhibition unites the spirits of 87 different countries, four of which are present for the first time: Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan.
A unified theme is declined in nine chapters, with the first two presented in the Central Pavilion of the Gardens and the other seven twisting from the Arsenal to the Gardens of the Virgins.
Each of these families of artists in the Exhibition “constitutes a pavilion in and of themselves, or a Transpavilion,” (in the sense of transnational), that resumes the historical division of the Biennale into pavilions whose number has never stopped growing from the end of the 90s. From the “Pavilion of Artists and Books” to the “Pavilion of Time and the Infinite,” these nine groupings “propose a narrative, often discursive and sometimes paradoxical, with deviations that reflect the complexity of the world, the multiplicity of positions and the variety of practices.”
In addition, for the second consecutive year, the
Biennale collaborates with London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in the Pavilion of Applied Arts in the Armory of the Arsenal, in an exhibition curated by Jorge Pardo, a Cuban artist and sculptor whose work combines art and design.the collaboration with the La Fenice Theater has also been renovated for the Special Project dedicated this year to the opera Cephalus and Procris, with a libretto by Rinaldo Küfferle and music by Ernst Krenek. With its world premiere given at the Biennale of Music in 1934 at the Goldoni Theater, the opera will be staged at Venice’s Malibran Theater from September 29 to October 2, 1017. The project was entrusted to the French artist Philippe Parreno at the suggestion of the 2017 curator Christine Macel. The initiative thus continues the collaboration between the Biennale and La Fenice that began in 2013 with Madame Butterfly, whose scenes and costumes were entrusted to the Japanese artist Mariko Mori, with the direction given to Alex Rigola, then the artistic director of the Biennale Teatro. This was followed in 2015 with a new production of Norma, with direction, scenes and costumes by the American artist Kara Walker.
Naturally, events correlated to the other sectors of the Biennale are foreseen for the duration of the Exhibition: in June, the 11th International Festival of Contemporary Dance (directed by Marie Chouinard); in July and August, the 45th International Festival of Theater (directed by Antonio Latella); from the end of August through the beginning of September, the 74th International Exhibition of Cinematic Art (directed by Alberto Barbera); and in October, the 61st International Festival of Contemporary Music (directed by the composer Ivan Fedele): «VIVA ARTE VIVA is therefore an exclamation, an expression of passion for art and for the figure of the artist. VIVA ARTE VIVA is a Biennale with artists, by artists and for artists.” Christine Macel
LOSING ONESELF IN VENICE
It is not just the Biennale per se, then, but a civic web composed of innumerable artistic paths, including prestige shows in historic palaces in which the innate propensity of Venetians for contemporary art reveals itself in all its force and creativity.
One of these is Palazzo Fortuny, the residence-museum of the genial Mariano Fortuny—an eclectic creator who worked with photography, theater design, textile creations and painting— which since 1975 has constituted one of the fundamental references in Venice regarding visual art.
A magnificent example of Venetian Gothic architecture, the palace was built at the end of the 15th century by the noble Pesaro family; Mariano Fortuny bought it in the beginning of the 20th century in order to make it his studio. After his death, his wife Henrietta donated the palace, which carefully preserved Mariano’s textiles and collections, to the city of Venice, which made it a place dedicated to experimentation and innovation, in homage to the spirit and culture of the famous proprietor.
The palazzo serves as the backdrop for marvelous, must-see exhibitions, and its setting naturally highlights and gives added depth to each display, generating a positive energy perhaps influenced by the golden proportions that are unconsciously inherent in each one. The historic spaces have been completely renovated and enhanced by an eclectic charge of energy in the design: this is also the case with Palazzo Grassi-punta della Dogana, which has recently reinforced its own presence in the artistic and cultural life of Venice with a new structure entirely dedicated to conferences, encounters, projections and concerts.
After the restoration of Palazzo Grassi in 2006, followed by that of the Punta della Dogana, inaugurated in 2009, the recovery in 2013 of what had assumed the name of the Teatrino, or “little theater,” signaled the third step of François Pinault’s grand cultural project in Venice.
This complex operation, carried out by the architect Tadao Ando, inserts itself in a logic of architectural continuity with respect to the previous restorations. With an area of 1,000 square meters
„Ca’ Giustinian“, Biennale di Venezia
Roberto Cuoghi , Belinda.
(10,764 square feet), the Teatrino has an auditorium with a capacity of 225 places, with a foyer and various technical areas (dressing rooms, director’s room, booth for simultaneous translation, etc.).
It is a place of exchange and encounter, open to the city and furnished with the best technological conditions (especially in its acoustics) and comfort, thanks to which a program of cultural activities was subsequently developed involving encounters with artists, conferences, lectures, performances and projections of art films.
Venice is also, and above all, dialogue, in all its forms, such as that which brings together contemporary art and the millenary tradition of glassmaking, through the involvement of important international artists in Murano, which has made of this extraordinary matter an international bastion. It’s called Glasstress, a successful initiative born in 2009 in the mind of Adriano Berengo, and it’s a project of considerable reach curated by Dimitri Ozerkiv and Adriano Berengo, whose protagonists are the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, The Berengo Foundation, and Berengo Studios in Venice, with the collaboration of the Foundation of Civic Museums of Venice and the Italian Hermitage. www.fortuny.visitmuve.it www.palazzograssi.it
Christine Macel, chief curator of the Pompidou Center in Paris and the curator of this year’s Venice Biennale.
Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Medusa. Roberto Cuoghi, Hydra. Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Shell.