27.04.2022 Venice, Italy #art

Venice Biennale 2022: Dreams and Infinite Possibilities

After a stop due to the pandemic, the immense machine of Biennale is back on track. Cecilia Alemani, curator of the 59th International Art Exhibition, has chosen the title “The Milk of Dreams”, a tribute to the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. “The Milk of Dreams exhibition explores Carrington’s fantastical creatures, along with many other figures of transformation, as companions on an imaginary journey through the metamorphoses of bodies and definitions of the human being. Carrington’s stories imagine a free world full of infinite possibilities”, explained the curator of the Art Biennale.

A journey that departs from the past and looks into the future, where it explores the human being, his definition and his role. In the spotlight, new forms of coexistence, social injustice, mistakes, the notion of diversity and minorities. As also the role of women and the relationship between bodies, nature and machines. A post-human and post-gender future. Biennale success bears witness to infinite possibilities. In Giardini and Arsenale you can breathe air of newness and change.

This time, the Golden Lion for the best participation at the exhibition went to the American artist Simone Leigh with “Sovereignty”, for the United States Pavilion. Her large-scale sculptural works join forms derived from vernacular architecture and the female body, rendering them via materials and processes associated with the artistic traditions of Africa and the African diaspora. Sovereignty commingles disparate histories and narratives, including those related to the ritual performances of the Baga people in Guinea, early Black American material culture from the Edgefield District in South Carolina, and the landmark 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition. With a series of new bronzes and ceramics both outside and inside the Pavilion, Leigh intervenes imaginatively to fill gaps in the historical record by proposing new hybridities.

The Italian Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, awarded the Golden Lion for Best Pavilion to Great Britain (“Feeling Her Way”). Sonia Boyce, OBE RA, British Afro-Caribbean artist, accepted the award: “It’s not just me who is voicing women. I thank the women who started working on these projects in the mid-twentieth century”. Special Mention as National Participation went to the French Pavilion, where Zineb Sedira presented a multidisciplinary exhibition entitled “Les rêves n’ont pas de titre” (“Dreams have no titles”): an immersive installation mixing film, sculpture, photography, sound and collage. Despite the high attendance and interest from the international Media, the Italian Pavilion, entrusted to a single artist, Gian Maria Tosatti, did not receive an award. However, this work certainly deserves our attention as it is perfect in keeping with today’s reality. “Storia della Notte e Destino delle Comete” (“History of Nights and Destiny of Comets”), this is the work’s title, offers a vision of the current state of humanity and its future possibilities.

There were also many collateral exhibitions around Venice. Such as the exhibit “Louise Nevelson. Persistence”, set up in the Procuratie Vecchie in Piazza San Marco. This exhibit, which brings together over sixty works created by Nevelson between the 50s and the 80s, marks the sixtieth anniversary of the artist’s participation in the 1962 Art Biennale, when she was invited to represent the United States in the American pavilion. Another exhibition that caught our attention, Marlene Dumas’ “open-end” at Palazzo Grassi. This personal show looks at the founding themes of the painter’s artistic research, where small works alternate with large ones. “Painting is the mark of the human touch, it is the surface of skin. Painting is not a postcard”. “Burn shine fly” by Ugo Rondinone is another must-see in Venice: seven bodies camouflaged in cloudy skies hang from the ceiling of the Scuola Grande of San Giovanni Evangelista, mimicking the movement of dancing bodies.

And as ever, Venetian nights are lit up by glamorous events, including spectacular dinners, cocktails and exhibition openings. Relive the best moments from Venice here

Photos: Ludovica Arcero and Michaël Huard

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