Venice Biennale 2019: the art-works not to be missed at the Arsenale

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Venice Biennale 2019: the art-works not to be missed at the Arsenale — Veneto Secrets

Recently opened, this ambitious Venice Biennale curated by Ralph Rugoff is a long tale about the contemporary global society, where 79 artists are facing the hottest issues through their own languages. Named May You Live In Interesting Times, this exhibition sounds like an invitation to reflect on the reality that surrounds us, on a global level. From climate changes to political issues, from the impact of social media to economic inequalities and to the ethical and existential crisis of modern man: these are some of the main subjects faced by the artists.

A Biennial full of contents, divided into two paths: the Proposal A located at the Arsenale and the Proposal B at the Central Pavilion of the Gardens, two spaces where each artist is invited to deal with. These two presentations are enriched by 90 National Participations in the historic Garden Pavilions and 21 collateral events around Venice. To fully enjoy the atmosphere of this unique event, the ideal is to spend at least a weekend in Venice spending one day to visit the Arsenale and one to the Gardens (the cumulative ticket, in fact, is open!)

Venice Biennale 2019: the art-works not to be missed at the Arsenale — Veneto Secrets

Our journey starts from the Arsenale, the ancient heart of the Venetian naval industry founded in the 12th century, and the first factory in the history of humanity that nowadays has become one of the best venues for the most important events of the lagoon city. To reach it you can take the line 4.1 vaporetto, a private taxi, or stroll through fields and squares arriving in about 40 minutes. Compared to the other editions, a greater presence of digital works and video-art is evident.

Among the many, the installation This Is The Future by Hito Steyerl certainly deserves a prolonged stop, where the artist, by questioning the Artificial Intelligence, emulates a hypothetical garden of the future made of digital flowers and elevated walkways. Moreover the magnificent work of Ryoij Ikeda that, in collaboration with Audermars Piguet, builds a universe made of data transporting the viewer into an hypnotic and fascinating virtual journey must be seen. These kaleidoscopic atmospheres can be found at the Philippines Pavilion as well, where, between reality and illusion, Mark Giustiniani’s Island Wheaters reproduce the Philippine archipelago in a stunning game of mirrors to interact with. The L.A. twins Christine and Margareth Wertheim also speak of marine atmospheres with their Crochet Coral Reef, an incredible artistic project linked to the homonymous project about natural heritage’s preservation, which includes sculptures, botanical models and craftsmanship at the highest level. To date, more than ten thousand participants from all over the world have already created over 40 elegant coral reefs mixing cables and videotapes’s ribbons, beads and fabrics.

Venice Biennale 2019: the art-works not to be missed at the Arsenale — Veneto Secrets

Art and criticism characterize also the artwork by Anthea Hamilton where vintage quotes, fashion and design are emptied of their meaning and provocatively relocated in immersive and claustrophobic environments with a strong aesthetic impact. The reference to the fashion system in very strong also in the photographic series by Martine Gutierrez, an iconic Aztec goddess relating to an unlikely and plasticized “cover” world. Even the Japanese artist Mari Katayama deals with the theme of beauty through an intimate collection of self-portraits that reveal her disability.

Struck by a rare disease, Mari portrays herself as a doll immersed in self-made DIY objects, often reproductions of her body decorated with lace, pearls and crystals, exploring her condition and transforming it into an artwork. In general, the 2019 Biennale is characterized by an extremely fluid path, spreading the artworks in the whole space and giving the visitor the chance to immerse himself in a single great dialogue. In this noisy and fascinating “conversation about the world” the visitor can choose his own direction to find its personal conclusion.

Useful Info

Biennale di Venezia
Ca’ Giustinian, San Marco 1364/A
30124 Venice
Tel. +39 041 5218711

Open every day: 10.00 — 18.00 (tickets office closure and last admittance 17.45)
Full price: 35 euro
Special reductions for families, disables and groups larger than 10 people
Guided Tours available upon request

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