The most prestigious event in the art world, the Venice Biennale, kicks off in late April. Traditionally organized every two years, it presents artists from around the world engaged with a specific theme. Curated by Italian-born Cecilia Alemanni, the main event of this year's biennale is inspired by British surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and explores the art of being human.
The 59th edition of La Biennale di Venezia takes place from April 23 to November 27 and shows the contemporary works of 213 artists from 58 countries, 5 of which are participating for the first time - Cameroon, Namibia, Nepal, Oman and Uganda. Eighty works were created especially for the Biennale.
Alemanni's desire to focus on young artists and practicing women is evident from her selection for the international exhibition. Of the 213 artists, 191 are women. 180 of all artists participate in the Biennale for the first time.
"As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I intend to give voice to artists to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society," said Alemani, who has previously organised many exhibitions of emerging and contemporary artists. She also curated the Italian pavilion at the 2017 Venice Art Biennale.
"In the first 100 years of this prestigious institution, the percentage of women artists in the show was below 10 percent, and in the last 20 years it was about 30 percent," she said.
Titled The Milk of Dreams, this year's main exhibition takes its name from a children's book by British painter and writer, Leonora Carrington (1917–2011), in which the Surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination.
“The Biennale sums up all the things we have so sorely missed in the last two years: the freedom to meet people from all over the world, the possibility of travel, the joy of spending time together, the practice of difference, translation, incomprehension and communion," Alemanni said.
There is a special open-air exhibition dedicated to raising awareness about the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Piazza Ukraina, in addition to the country’s own pavilion.
The Bulgarian participation in La Biennale di Venezia was for the first time the result of a national open competition organized by the Ministry of Culture that attracted wide interest on behalf of the artistic community in the country. It will take place in the Spazio Rava exhibition space, located in central Venice in the San Polo district near the Rialto Bridge. The project, chosen by a jury to represent the country, is the work of artist Michail Michailov and curator Irina Batkova. Its name is "Here you are" and represents several rooms in which there will be drawings, video and art installation. In his project, Michail Michailov connects the architecture of the space with his sculptures and drawings, as well as with the video Just Keep on Going, reflecting the artist's experiences during the long isolation during the pandemic years.
The 59th edition of La Biennale di Venezia will feature more than 1,400 works and installations in the historic pavilions, the Giardini, the Arsenale and the historic center of Venice.
As part of the Biennale, in conjunction with the arts exhibitions the city will hold the 50th International Theatre Festival in June, the 16th International Festival of Contemporary Dance in July, the 79th Venice International Film Festival in August and the 66th International Festival of Contemporary Music in September.
Photos by Roberto Marossi and Marco Cappelletti, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia.