«On 16th July 1998, recalled Paolo Baratta, the reformed Biennale appointed Harald Szeemann as first curator of the new Biennale. This choice was suggested by the very history of the institution. The Art Exhibition traditionally resulted from the coming together of several exhibitions, each one with its own theme and curators. In 1980, one of these sections was titled Aperto (Open), a name that encapsulated a different atmosphere of openness to the world; this was also curated by Szeemann, among others. It is unsurprising that his first Biennale in 1999 was titled dAPERTutto (APERTO overALL). The germ of the 1980 exhibition thus grew into the International exhibition.»
«Through the appointment of Ralph Rugoff as Curator, we meant to contribute and give further formal clarity to the idea that we have nurtured in the last twenty years about the role of La Biennale and especially of the Art Exhibition.»
The 58th International Art Exhibition will be titled May You Live in Interesting Times, a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse that invokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; "interesting times", exactly as the ones we live in today.
Curator Ralph Rugoff explained his choice as follows: «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. In this case it turns out that there never was any such “ancient Chinese curse,” despite the fact that Western politicians have made reference to it in speeches for over a hundred years. It is an ersatz cultural relic, and yet for all its fictional status it has had real rhetorical effects in significant public exchanges. At once suspect and rich in meaning, this kind of uncertain artefact suggests potential lines of exploration that are worth pursuing at present, especially when the “interesting times” it evokes seem to be with us once again. Hence the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia will be titled after a counterfeit curse.»
Read the full introduction by Ralph Rugoff →
As usual, the 58th International Art Exhibition will also feature National Participations with their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around the city centre of Venice. The next edition will also include a selection of Collateral Events, in which international institutions will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice concurrently with the 58th Exhibition.
Official website of Biennale Arte 2019: www.labiennale.org
Official hashtags: #BiennaleArte2019 #MayYouLiveInInterestingTimes
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