Venice Biennale 2019
The 58th Venice Biennale will be open to the public from Saturday 11th May to Sunday 24th November 2019. The title of this year’s edition is May You Live In Interesting Times. Works made by artists from 90 countries will be exhibited and, among all these, we have selected some pavilions which are absolutely to be visited. Starting with the contemporary art giant – the United States -, but also including two amazing debuts: Ghana and Pakistan.
Representing the USA is Martin Puryear, a veteran of international art who, with his exhibition entitled Freedom, continues his ten-year exploration of abstract forms meditating on freedom as an essential human theme. An exploration, that of Pureyar, which starts from far away: the African-American sculptor has always been considered by the critics a “political” artist, and the proof are his statues – apparently abstract but actually full of references to things and events of global importance.
Recently interviewed by the New York Times about his sources of inspiration, Puryear replied: “Ensor, Bruegel, Goya”.
Driant Zeneli represents Albania with his installation Perhaps the cosmos is not so extraordinary, focusing on a film set in the mines of Bulqize where chrome has been extracted since 1918. But this work is not a simple story of the mines because, through film narrative and performance, Perhaps the cosmos is not so extraordinary tells of the fantastic story of a group of teenagers who discovers a cosmic capsule allowing them to follow the path of the chrome extracted from the mines: from the extraction to its final outcome.
At the center of Driant Zeneli’s work – closely linked to the socio-economic developments of his Country – lies the redefinition of the ideas of failure, utopia and dream.
Ghana is represented for the first time in its history at the Biennale by six of its best artists: El Anatsui, Ibrahim Mahama, Felicia Abban, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, John Akomfrah and Selasi Awusi Sosu. The best known of these is certainly El Anatsui: a world-class artist whose jobs are auctioned off at million dollar prices. The intent of the exhibition, entitled Ghana Freedom, is to think about the past of the African Country and imagine a future far from the shadows of post-colonialism.
A pavilion which is also recommended by one of the world’s leading art experts, Jasper Sharp, curator of modern and contemporary art for the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Arriving at its third participation in the Biennale, Mongolia exhibits an interdisciplinary project entitled A Temporality, result of the collaboration of the Mongolian artist Jantsankhorol Erdenebayar (known as Jantsa) and the German composer Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto). The installation consists of a series of sculptures that interact with the cramped rooms of the old Venetian house (seat of the Pavilion) and with the traditional gluttony songs and Mongolian musical instruments transformed by Alva Noto.
The intent is to investigate the transformations in taboos, rituals and habits built up by society.
Pakistan participates in the Biennale for the first time in its history with the work Manora Field Notes by artist Naiza Khan: an installation that tells of the transformation of the island of Manora (part of an archipelago not far from Karachi). Khan has spent months working on the island with local communities to learn about the changing nature and landscape of the island from the late 1930s to today. A change that, according to Khan, does not only represent Pakistan but that instead reflects upheavals taking place throughout the so-called “Global South”. These slow but unstoppable changes have led to the slow erasure of the natural history and ecology of the island. The narration will accompany visitors through archival materials related to the archipelago navigation, images of ruins and construction sites, and a video installation with videos recorded on the island over the last decade.
As for the purpose of his opus, Naiza Khan said: “Art is a universal language that leaves a profound impact on people’s minds […]. These opportunities must be exploited to the top, to tell the world that the artistic expressions made in this region of the world are contrary to extremism and terrorism.
Cover Picture: Francesco Galli.
Target Point, Italian Ideas