The Venice Biennale was inaugurated by the City Council in April of 1893, proposing a “biennial national artistic exhibition” be held to celebrate the anniversary of King Umberto and Margherita of Savoy. The first event took place two years later in 1895 and today is the largest, and most renowned International Arts Exhibition.
The 57th International Art Exhibition, entitled Viva Arte Viva is curated by Christine Macel, Chief curator at Centre Pompidou in Paris, and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Barrata. This year’s exhibition is comprised of 120 independent artists at the central pavilion and 86 national participants in the historic pavilions of the Giardini.
One of the principal venues comprising the Venice Biennale is the Arsenale, formerly the greatest medieval shipyard in Europe. In 2017, Macel has divided the Arsenale into nine chapters or ‘pavilions’: Pavilion of the Earth, Pavilion of the Common, Pavilion of Traditions, Pavilion of Shamans, Dionysian Pavilion, Pavilion of Colours, and the Pavilion of Time and Infinity. Among our favorite installations featured at this year’s exhibition are Leanor Antunes’ site-specific installation, ….then we raised the terrain so that I could see out (2017) in the Pavilion of Traditions, composed of a series of sculptures and glass lamps made in workshops in Murano, and Sheila Hicks’ colorful wall of oversize balls of yarn in the Pavilion of Colours, entitled Escalade Beyond Chromatic Lands (2016 – 2017). LSS Art Advisory also loved Kishio Suga’s installation in the bacino delle Gaggiandre at the Arsenale. The work is called Law of Situation (2017), which brings together natural and industrial materials, highlighting the multiple relationships between them and creating the illusion of the stones floating on the water’s surface.
The Giardini, translating to “The Garden” has been a venue for the Biennale since its inauguration, hosting the Central Pavilion, as well as the national pavilions, built by each of the participating countries to showcase their artistic contributions on an international scale. The pavilions that LSS Art Advisory most enjoyed are the Swiss Pavilion, which features works by contemporary sculptor Carol Bove and pays homage to the legendary Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, and Mark Bradford’s exhibition “Tomorrow is Another Day,” selected to represent the United States. Also worth highlighting is Germany’s pavilion, which was awarded the 2017 Golden Lion for Best National Participation and features works by Anne Imhof.
The Central Pavilion hosts the exhibition of independent international artists and is also curated by this year’s Artistic Director, Christine Macel. Entitled “Viva Arte Viva”, this year’s theme focuses on the role and responsibility of the artist in contemporary society. While there are over 100 artists participating in the exhibition at the Central Pavilion, LSS Art Advisory has selected a few of our favorite installations: Sam Gilliam’s brilliantly hued Yves Klein Blue (2017), McArthur Binion, Olafur Eliasson’s Green Light, Firenze Lai, and Taus Makhacheva’s video.
Additional Venues Around Venice:
In addition to the exhibitions offered at the Giardini, Arsenale and Central Pavilion, myriad renowned institutions are hosting independent shows worth a visit. Below are our suggestions: