The 59th Venice International Art Exhibition, or Biennale Arte, the most important contemporary art event in the world, opens on April 23 in Venice, delayed a year by the pandemic.
Traditionally organized every two years, the Biennale features artists from around the world engaging with a specific theme.
The Biennale Arte 2022 will be the first edition curated by an Italian woman, Cecilia Alemani. The Milan-born curator is based in New York, where she has been the Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, the public art program presented by the High Line since 2011. In 2017, she curated the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
“As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I intend to give voice to artists to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society”, Alemani, who has previously organized many exhibitions of contemporary, young and emerging artists, has said.
Alemani gave a strong gender imprint to her Biennale: out of 213 artists from 58 countries (26 are Italian), 191 are female and 22 male; for 180 of them, it is the first time at the Biennale. “I wanted to do a show that featured a vast majority of women, especially because I want to remind people that this show happens in Italy, and in Italy many of these discussions are still in medieval times,” Alemani told The Art Newspaper. “So, of course, the show is international, but I hope it will also have symbolic value in Italy. For the first 100 years of this prestigious institution, the percentage of women artists in the show was less than 10%, and in the last 20 years it was around 30%.”
More than 1,400 works and installations will be presented in the historic Pavilions, the Giardini, the Arsenale and in the historic center of Venice.
Titled “The Milk of Dreams”, this year’s main exhibition takes its name from a children’s book by British painter and writer Leonora Carrington (1917–2011), “in which the Surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination,” says Alemani. “It is a world where everyone can change, be transformed, become something or someone else.”
The Biennale Arte 2022 focuses on three thematic areas in particular: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth.
As for every edition, the majority of the Pavilions are located in the Giardini and the Arsenale. The Giardini, which were the site of the first Biennale in 1895, host the Central Pavilion and the 29 oldest pavilions, such as the U.K., France and Germany. The Arsenale, with an exhibition space of 50,000 square meters, host other international pavilions and the Italian Pavilion. Curated by Eugenio Viola, the Italian Pavilion this year will consist of one single work by Gian Maria Tosatti, occupying the entire space of the Tese delle Vergini; other Italian artists will be engaged in foreign pavilions.
The program of the so-called Collateral Events (31 in all) is especially rich, as is the program of exhibitions that will take place at major museums, galleries and palaces in Venice during the Biennale period. For a full list, click here.
The Biennale Arte is on view until November 27, 2022. For detailed information and to buy tickets, click here.