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The 58th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennial 2019 opened to the public on Saturday May 11th and will take place until November 24th. The Pre-opening took place on May 8th, 9th and 10th and the awards ceremony and inauguration were held on May 11th. This year’s exhibition was curated by Ralph Rugoff and organized by La Bienniale di Venezia which is chaired by Paolo Baratta. It will feature 79 artists, all living.

The title of this year’s exhibition “May You Live In Interesting Times” is taken from a supposedly Chinese saying referring to periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil. The words “interesting times” are meant to mean exactly as the times we live in today; that perhaps art can guide on how to live and think in “interesting times.” Ralph is certain that this title will include artworks that reflect upon precarious aspects of existence today, including different threats to key traditions, institutions and relationships of the “post-war order.”

According to Curator Ralph Rugoff, “the 58th exhibition will not really have a theme, but it will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking. Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualizing them.”

Venice Biennale 2019 is divided into two separate shows, one at the Arsenale and one at the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. Both shows include artists exhibiting different kinds of works. There will be a lot of paintings besides film/video, spatial and digital works.

The exhibition includes 89 National participants in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini at the Arsenale and in the historic Centre of Venice. Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan are the countries that will be participating for the first time. The Dominican Republic exhibits for the first time at the Biennale with its own national pavilion.

There will also be 21 collateral events which are admitted by the curator and promoted by non-profit national and international organizations. The events will take place in several locations and offer a wide range of contributions and participations that enrich the diversity of voices that characterize the Biennale.


The biennale will feature special projects including: the Forte Marghera Special Project, Mestre Ludovica Carbotta, has been invited by Ralph Rugoff to expressly make a work in Forte Marghera inside the building called the Austrian Polveriera,  the Applied arts pavilion special project where Marysia Lewandowska is the artist set to exhibit in the pavilion of applied arts located in the Arsenale, Sale d’Armi. This particular project which has been renewed for the fourth consecutive year is the result of the collaboration between La Biennale and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

For the tenth consecutive year, La Biennale has been directing energy to learning activities, more specifically to institutions that develop research and training in architecture, the arts and related fields and to universities and fines arts academies. The ultimate goal is to offer favorable conditions for students and teachers to organize three-day group visits for fifty people or more, offering the possibility to organize free of charge seminars at the exhibition.


In the past two years, La Biennale’s great 57th International Art Exhibition and 16th International Architecture Exhibition had 114, 814 participants in educational activities in total amongst whom 68,794 were young people.

According to Ralph Rugoff, “May You Live In Interesting times will be formulated in the belief that human happiness depends on substantive conversations, because as social animals we are driven to create, find meaning and connect with others. The exhibition will aim to underscore the idea that the meaning of artworks are not embedded principally in objects but in conversations. Biennale Arte 2019 aspires to the idea that what is most important about an exhibition is not what it puts on display, but how audiences can use their experience of the exhibition afterwards, to confront everyday realities from expanded viewpoints and with new energies. An exhibition should open people’s eyes to previously unconsidered ways of being in the world and thus change their view of that world.”

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