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58th Venice Biennale of Art 2019 | May You Live in Interesting Times

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58th Venice Biennale of Art 2019 | May You Live in Interesting Times

The 58th Venice Art Biennale opens to the public on May 11, 2019.
Curated by Ralph Rugoff – Director of the Hayward Gallery in London, the program of this year’s edition of the Biennale, entitled “May You Live in Interesting Times”, comprises the core exhibitions at the Arsenale and the Giardini’s Central Pavilion with 79 invited artists, 90 national pavilions (4 of which – Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, and Pakistan – participate at the Biennale for the first time), 21 collateral events, and 2 special projects by the Biennale di Venezia – the Mestre Special Project and the Applied Arts Special Project (the latter made in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London).

‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, the title of the 58th Venice Art Biennale, is a fake curse. Cited in the 1930s by British MEP Sir Austen Chamberlain as an ancient Chinese curse he had learned of from a diplomat who had served in Asia, it turned out that such an “ancient Chinese curse,” never existed, actually. Yet, it is still used as a rhetorical artifice, today.
As Ralph Rugoff says: “This summary sounds uncannily familiar today (…).Yet 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.”

Thus, the exhibition title relates to the lack of reference points which could reassure us and to today’s “Interesting times” – complex and threatening – in which the “fake news” spread lightning fast through the digital media. Rugoff doesn’t indicate a precise theme for this year’s Biennale, he suggests instead a possible approach aimed to find out interesting fields to investigate by presenting artists who, through their works, are questioning our current lines of thought.


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The idea to experience complexity, and to always consider different points of view, also led Rugoff to present different works by the same artist. “The Exhibition will focus on the work of artists who challenge existing habits of thought and open up our readings of objects and images, gestures and situations. Art of this kind grows out of a practice of entertaining multiple perspectives: of holding in mind seemingly contradictory and incompatible notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world.“
And – while the curator points out that art cannot solve the biggest problems of mankind, stop authoritarianism, or block the rise of extreme nationalism -, “perhaps art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in ‘interesting times.’

biennale-arte-venezia-2019-curatore-ralph-Rugoff

Ralph Rugoff, curator of the 58th Venice Biennale of Art

Paolo Baratta, who has been President of the Venice Biennale for 20 years, focuses on the role of art as an antidote to the oversimplification generated by present day’s conformism and dismay, as well as to the international status of the exhibition: “First of all, we are an international exhibition (…) in which numerous exhibitions promoted by participating countries dialogue with each other, and, together, dialogue with the international exhibition we organize in collaboration with our curator. In turn, our exhibition must be open and without any boundaries.”

The jury of the 58th Venice Art Biennale is composed of Stephanie Rosenthal (President), Defne Ayas, Cristiana Collu, Sunjung Kim, and Hamza Walker.
The award ceremony will be held together with the grand opening on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

58th Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia
“May You Live in Interesting Times”
May 11 – November 24, 2019
https://www.labiennale.org/en/art/2019

Download the 2019 Venice Art Biennale official brochure with maps 

On this page, you’ll find the links to all the original articles and photographs Inexhibit will make at the 58th Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia.


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our articles about 58th Venice Biennale of Art 2019 | May You Live in Interesting Times

Cathy Wilkes – British Pavilion, 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019

Cathy Wilkes – British Pavilion, 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019

At the 58th Venice Art Biennale, the British Pavilion presents a solo exhibition by Cathy Wilkes, at the same time disquieting and fascinating
case-studies
Sun & Sea (Marina), Pavilion of Lithuania, Golden Lion winner – Venice Art Biennale 2019

Sun & Sea (Marina), Pavilion of Lithuania, Golden Lion winner – Venice Art Biennale 2019

The Pavilion of Lithuania, entitled Sun & Sea (Marina), has been awarded the Golden Lion for the best national participation at the 58th Venice Art Biennale
case-studies
The Giardini exhibition – 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019

The Giardini exhibition – 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019

Artists and works featured in the second part of the 'May You Live in Interesting Times' - 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019 exhibition - installed at Giardini
case-studies
The main exhibition at Arsenale – Venice Art Biennale 2019

The main exhibition at Arsenale – Venice Art Biennale 2019

Inexhibit magazine's review and pictures of the 2019 Venice Art Biennale "May You Live in Interesting Times" main exhibition at Arsenale curated by Ralph Rugoff
case-studies
Venice: GAD, new contemporary art district, opens on the Giudecca island

Venice: GAD, new contemporary art district, opens on the Giudecca island

On May 9, 2019, GAD - Giudecca Art District, a project by Paolo Scelsi and Valentina Gioia Levy, opens on the Giudecca island in Venice.
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Weather Report: Forecasting Future – Nordic Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2019

Weather Report: Forecasting Future – Nordic Pavilion, Venice Art Biennale 2019

Weather Report: Forecasting Future, the Nordic Pavilion exhibition at the Venice Art Biennale 2019, features works by nabbteeri, Ane Graff, & Ingela Ihrman
case-studies
“Cosmo-Eggs” – The Japan Pavilion at the 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019

“Cosmo-Eggs” – The Japan Pavilion at the 58th Venice Art Biennale 2019

Inexhibit's review of Cosmo-Eggs, the exhibition of the Japan Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2019, curated by Hiroyuki Hattori which explores the coexistence between human and non-human
case-studies

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