THE BIENNALE 2019 CURATED BY RALPH RUGOFF HAS UNINTENTIONALLY BECAME FEMALE-ORIENTED BECAUSE OF THE 79 ARTISTS INVITED. WOMEN TAKE CENTRE STAGE AT THES 58TH VENICE ART EXHIBITION THAT OPENS OFFICIALLY ON SATURDAY 11TH MAY. HERE’S OUR HIGHLIGHTS FROM GIARDINI AND ARSENALE AFTER THE PRESS PREVIEW HELD ON WEDNESDAY 8TH MAY.
With its evocative title ‘May you live in interesting times’, Venice’s 58th International Art Exbition opens tomorrow to the public for over six months. The Biennale welcomes ninety countries in the historic pavilions, the Giardini della Biennale, in the Arsenale and in various locations in the city center of Venice. There is a predominant presence of female artists, many of whom are involved at the role of women in the contemporary society. The first is a huge central exhibition organised by an invited curator, in this case Ralph Rugoff, the director of the Hayward Gallery in London. The second aspect is 90 national pavilions, organised by the individual participating countries, scattered around the city’s public gardens (the Giardini) and its vast former arsenal (the Arsenale).
Discordo Ergo Sum. An installation by the first woman to represent Austria in the history of the Venice Biennale, Renate Bertlmann, the dauntless feminist artist, curated by Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein.
Assembly: the multi-screen installation combining sound, music, performance, choreography and moving images by Angelica Mesiti for the Australia Pavillion.
With his new work A “Wild Eagle Was Standing Proud” Panos Charalambous, covers the Greek Pavilion floor with 20,000 drinking glasses upon which an ecstatic, “ultrasonic” dance is performed. Finally, the award-winning cinematographer, Eva Stefani will present three connecting narrative documentaries, titled “Only Men”, “Window” and “Mouth”.
At the Arsenale, Martine Gutierrez shows her Body En Thrall series, which presents her in a variety of poses that riff on fashion photo shoots. She emerges from a pool at a man’s feet, wears a bikini with melons filling her bra cups, and serves water by a poolside populated with mannequins.
Aero(s)cene by Tomas Saraceno at Arsenale about Water and Air, planets and stars, tied by cycles of transformation.
Liu Wei’s massive installation of planetary-looking solid forms, Microworld (2018), comes from a Faurschou Foundation exhibition in Beijing in 2018.
Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s Can’t Help Myself (2016), a gigantic, robotic industrial arm with a rubber brush that contains a blood-red liquid oozing to the perimeters of a white platform, is a major presence in the Central Pavilion at the Giardini.
Six gigantic human hands rise 50 feet above the old shipyards of the Arsenale for Lorenzo Quinn’s sculpture “Building Bridges”.
Artist Shoplifter aka Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir’s warehouse: a giant psychedelic installation visible at the Icelandic Pavilion.
The installation, Composition for Cosmo-Eggs “Singing Bird Generator” by composer Taro Yasuno with a large orange inflatable bench that when sat on pushes air through tubes to play the recorders.
This Biennale inevitably points to what is meant by “interesting”.