Curator Ralph Rugoff, director of London’s Haywards Gallery, chose ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ as the title for the 58th edition of La Biennale di Venezia. The inspiration behind the name is based on what he thought was an ancient Chinese cursive, he learned that despite its widespread use there was no such expression.
In today's climate of fake news that spins from crisis to crisis, he liked it even better. Perhaps art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in “interesting times”.
President of La Biennale di Venezia Paolo Baratta explains how the expression “interesting times” can be interpreted in multiple ways. From the idea of challenging times to a simple invitation to always see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, Biennale 2019 is about to make subtle statements showcasing the work of 79 artists from around the world.
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Marking the 20th anniversary from Baratta’s first exhibition here, La Biennale has gone through some interesting times as well. First it was criticised for the presence of pavillons, then had to face the double cost of transportation in the lagoon and eventually will assent the limits of visitors entering Venice.
No matter what, the Venice’s International Art Exhibition promises to remain the “plateau of humankind” that it is known for.
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What to Expect
Reflecting upon traditions, institutions and relationships of the “post-war order,” this year’s Biennale will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking. The Exhibition will focus on the work of artists who challenge existing habits of thought and open up our readings of objects and images, gestures and situations.
Art cannot alleviate the tragic fate of people across the world, nor avoid the rise of authoritarian governments. However, what art can do is make us question the world and consider the things that are happening around us every day, so that we come up with an opinion and possibly do something about it.
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Beyond La Biennale
During the season of La Biennale di Venezia International Art Exhibition (May 11 - November 24), when closed doors are open and contemporary voices revolutionise ancient structures into modern motifs, don’t forget to keep your eyes open. From Palazzo delle Prigioni to Gallerie dell’Accademia and Fondazione Querini Stampalia, 21 is the number of events that will be held during La Biennale and that will allow you to experience Venice in ways that will stay with you forever.
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