contemporary art

Art Biennale 2019

May You Live In Interesting Times

The 58th International Art Exhibition (which is the official name of the event), titled this time "May You Live In Interesting Times", is open to the public from Saturday May 11th to Sunday November 24th, 2019 (Giardini and Arsenale) and is curated by Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery in London, one of the leading public art galleries in England. Ralph Rugoff became popular as author of art and cultural criticism for numerous periodicals, publishing widely in art magazines as well as newspapers, and published a collection of essays. Later he became an independent curator. Since December 2017, he worked closely with the Biennale team on "May You Live in Interesting Times".

The chosen title is 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.

Ralph Rugoff has declared: «May You Live in Interesting Times will no doubt include artworks that reflect upon precarious aspects of existence today, including different threats to key traditions, institutions and relationships of the "post-war order." But let us acknowledge at the outset that art does not exercise its forces in the domain of politics. Art cannot stem the rise of nationalist movements and authoritarian governments in different parts of the world, for instance, nor can it alleviate the tragic fate of displaced peoples across the globe (whose numbers now represent almost one percent of the world's entire population).»

The 'May You Live in Interesting Times' exhibitions show 79 artists from all over the world. The Exhibition also includes 89 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Four countries are participating for the first time at the Biennale Arte: Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, and Pakistan. The Dominican Republic exhibits for the first time at the Biennale Arte with its own national pavilion.

Special Projects and Performances
Besides the main Exhibition in the Central Pavilion and in the Arsenale, special Projects and Performances have been commissioned. These are:

- Forte Marghera Special Project, Mestre
Ludovica Carbotta, one of the artists taking part in the International Exhibition, has been invited by Ralph Rugoff to expressly make a work in Forte Marghera, inside the building called the Austrian Polveriera.

- Applied Arts Pavilion Special Project, Arsenale, Sale d'Armi
Marysia Lewandowska is the artist set to exhibit in the Pavilion of Applied Arts located in the Arsenale, Sale d'Armi. The project, renewed for the fourth consecutive year, is the result of the collaboration between La Biennale and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

This edition will also include selected Collateral Events, which are admitted by the curator and promoted by non-profit national and international bodies and institutions, take place in several locations; they offer a wide range of contributions and participations that enrich the diversity of voices that characterizes the Biennale.

The official program of the Art Biennale 2019 has really a lot to offer for art lovers visiting Venice.

For the tenth consecutive year, La Biennale dedicates the Biennale Sessions project to institutions that develop research and training in architecture, the arts and related fields, and to Universities and Fine Arts Academies. The goal is to offer favourable conditions for students and teachers to organize three-day group visits for fifty people or more, offering the possibility to organize seminars free of charge at the Exhibition's venues, and assistance in organizing their journey and stay.

The main sites for the exhibitions and pavilions are, as usual, Giardini and Arsenale plus the collateral events andspecial projects which are spread across the historic center of Venice, Giudecca, San Servolo and Forte Marghera.

Find more information on the website of La Biennale di Venezia

The Biennale runs from 11 May to 24 November 2019

Opening hours:

Giardini: open 10 am to 6 pm
Arsenale: open 10 am to 6 pm
Arsenale: on Fridays and Saturdays, until 5 October, open 10 am to 8 pm

The show closed on Mondays (except 13 May, 2 September, 18 November)

Forte Marghera:
7 May > 6 October 2019, open 1 pm to 9 pm
closed on Mondays

Julia Kaiser
Editorial Journalist


Biennale, Venice

Biennale, Venice

Biennale, Venice

Biennale, Venice