Biennale Arte 2019: May You Live in Interesting Times

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Biennale Arte 2019: May You Live in Interesting Times

The President of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, and the curator of the 58th International Art Exhibition, Ralph Rugoff, met the press yesterday at Ca’Giustinian to launch the Biennale Arte 2019, which will take place from May 11th to November 24th 2019 (Preview May 8th, 9th and 10th) at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around other venues in Venice.

The President of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, and the curator of the 58th International Art Exhibition, Ralph Rugoff, met the press yesterday at Ca’Giustinian to launch the Biennale Arte 2019, which will take place from May 11th to  November 24th 2019 (Preview May 8th, 9th and 10th) at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around other venues in Venice.

The 58th International Art Exhibition will be titled May You Live in Interesting Times, after an ancient Chinese curse referring to periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; "interesting times", exactly as the ones we live in today.

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."

"The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking."
"Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualising them."

"May You Live in Interesting Times will aim to welcome its public to an expansive experience of the deep involvement, absorption and creative learning that art makes possible. This will entail engaging visitors in a series of encounters that are essentially playful, taking into account that it is when we play that we are most fully 'human.' This will mean tweaking aspects of the Exhibition format where possible to make sure they are sympathetically aligned with the character of the art being presented."

President Paolo Baratta stated: «In 1998, on this very same date, July 16, 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."

"We are committed to the principle that the institution must be a machine for desire whose mission is to buttress and boost our need to see further beyond, a need that art can help us fulfill. But the Biennale should also be the place where each single visitor is strongly encouraged to come face to face with the work of art."

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.

Image on top: Ralph Rugoff e Paolo Baratta. Photo by Andrea Avezzu'. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia.

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