It’s official: The 56th International Art Exhibition of Venice will take place from May 9th – November 22nd 2015 at the Giardini and at the Arsenale and it will involve 53 Countries. The title chosen by Okwui Enwezor, curator of the 56th Exhibition, is All the World’s Futures.
«The ruptures that surround and abound around every corner of the global landscape today recall the evanescent debris of previous catastrophes piled at the feet of the angel of history in Angelus Novus. How can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined, and articulated? Over the course of the last two centuries the radical changes have made new and fascinating ideas subject matter for artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, musicians. It is with this recognition that the 56th International Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia proposes All the World’s Futures a project devoted to a fresh appraisal of the relationship of art and artists to the current state of things», Okwui Enwezor has explained.
Rather than one overarching theme, All the World’s Futures is informed by a layer of three filters, a constellation of parameters that circumscribe multiple ideas through which to reflect on both the current “state of things” and the “appearance of things”: Liveness: On epic duration; Garden of Disorder; Capital: A Live Reading. Considering the core of the Biennale in the notion of the exhibition as stage where historical and counter-historical projects will be explored, Liveness is conceived as “a dramatization of the space of the exhibition as a continuous, unfolding, and unceasing live event, exposing works that are already existing but also inviting contributions that will be realized especially for this Exhibition”. The Garden of Disorder, instead, will use the space and the theme of the Gardens as a metaphor through which to explore the current “state of things ” and as the ultimate site of a disordered world, of national conflicts, as well as territorial and geopolitical disfigurations. The Capital: A Live Reading will be centered on this pervasive preoccupation that has been at the heart of our time and modernity, since the publication of Karl Marx’s massive Capital: Critique of Political Economy in 1867.
«Within this framework the main aspects of the 56th Exhibition will solicit and privilege new proposals and works conceived specifically by invited artists, filmmakers, choreographers, performers, composers, and writers to work either individually or in collaboration».
The President of the Exibition Paolo Baratta wanted to point out, instead, the continuity of the structure of the new Biennale since 1999.
«We did not throw out the use of pavilions for the Biennale but we enhanced it in a definitive way, by arranging a large, stand-alone International Exhibition at the same time. We arranged additional large spaces and appointed a curator for this ambitious project of ours. A main International Exhibition replaced the international sections, which used to be added to the exhibition organized by the curator of the Italian Pavilion. An international curator for our International Exhibition and no more committees or commissions. The new model worked, and this dynamic, new two-pronged event led to an increase in the number of countries wanting to participate. It’s been 15 years since that reform, and the start of this new chapter, and it is thanks to that calculated choice that today, a curator of the ilk of Okwui Enwezor – like his most recent predecessors – can present not just a ‘section’, but an entire International Exhibition inspired by the ambition to offer the world a global sounding board».
«The Biennale – specifies Baratta – is an Art Exhibition and not an art fair. Today, faced with the dangers of slipping towards a more orthodox popularity, conventionality and security, we have named it “The Machine of Desire” to keep the desire for art high and in turn to want art and accept it is a necessity».
Baratta concludes: « It is not the first time that an exhibition faces a world filled with uncertainty and turmoil whilst the “garden of the world” appears to us as a “garden of disorder”, and it is also not the first time that faced with a complicated reality, an exhibition responds with the enthusiasm and dynamism evident in the one we are in the throes of organizing».
Paolo Baratta, president of the Biennale, (on the right) and Okwui Enwezor, curator of the 56th international exhibition (on the left).