“May You Live In Interesting Times”. This expression, for so long erroneously attributed to an ancient Chinese curse, which evokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and disorder, is the leitmotif of the 58th International Art Exhibition scheduled from May 11th to November 24th 2019 (pre-opening May 8th, 9th and 10th) in the Giardini, the Arsenale and in various places in Venice. This edition of the Biennale d’Arte, as its curator Ralph Rugoff explains: “It will not have a theme in itself, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a vision of the social function of art that includes both pleasure and critical thinking In an era in which the digital diffusion of fake news and “alternative facts” undermines the political debate and the trust on which it is based, it is worthwhile thinking about this, if possible, to call into question our points In this specific example, it happens that there has never been an “ancient Chinese anathema”, despite the fact that Western politicians have mentioned it in their speeches for over a century. This expression, although the result of imagination, a cultural surrogate, however, has had a real effect in the rhetoric and in the public debate. This artifact of uncertain nature, suspicious but also rich in meaning, opens up potential paths of study that are worth pursuing. ire, especially in this historical moment in which the “interesting times” that it invokes seem to be with us again. For this reason the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take the title from a false anathema. “For Paolo Baratta, President of the Venice Biennale:” With the assignment to Ralph Rugoff we wanted to bring further contribution and formal clarity to the ‘idea cultivated in all these twenty years on the role of the Biennale and, espescially, the Art Exhibition. We are loyal to the principle that the institution must be a machine of desire aimed at keeping always high and firm the need to see more, than seeing more in which art helps us. But at the same time the Biennale must be the place where the individual visitor is strongly challenged confronting himself with the work of art. The institution, the places, the works convened by the Curator, their dislocation in space, the climate that the institution can create, everything must contribute to build favorable conditions to the visitor to feel engaged in front of the single work he meets, almost as if were on a platform attending a fencing match “.
Official website of the Art Biennale 2019: www.labiennale.org