58th Venice Art Biennale

When: 11 May - 24 November 2019
Where: Locations across Venice
How much: See website for details
More info: Biennale Arte 2019

The 58th International Art Biennale in Venice, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, will take place from 11 May to 24 November 2019.

The title is a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse that invokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; “interesting times”. For the curator Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery in London, the theme was an encouragement to explore how art can be a guide to “how to live and think” in today’s “precarious” world.

The Biennale spills out from the two main exhibition venues across the lagoon city, with much of interest for aficionados of good design with a social conscience. Famed Parisian design gallery Carpenters Workshop is questioning the relationship between art and function with Dysfunctional exhibition that includes sinking furniture and a huge clock by Maarten Baas. French artist Laure Provost has created a film documenting a road trip from the Paris suburbs to Venice, an escapist journey towards an “ideal elsewhere”. Christoph Büchel has transported to Arsenale the remains of a fishing boat that sank off the coast of Libya in 2015 with at least 800 refugees on board. Bosnia and Herzegovina is participating with a film installation by Danica Dakić, who questions the heritage of modernity, from Bauhaus to socialist utopias. And Ghana is presenting for the first time, with a new national pavilion modelled on traditional Gurunsi earth houses, designed by David Adjaye.

The Australian contribution to the Biennale is Assembly by Angelica Mesiti, a three-channel video work that explored the diverse heritage and ancestries of contemporary Australia, filmed across spacves as diverse of the Old Parliament House in Canberra and the Italian Senate in Rome.

[Danica Dakić, Still from “Zenica Trilogy” (2019), Bosnia & Herzegovina. Photo: Danica Dakić, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn. Courtesy of the artist]