Okwui Enwezor has explained his project as follows:
« The ruptures that surround and abound around every corner of the global landscape today recall the evanescent debris of previous catastrophes piled at the feet of the angel of history in Angelus Novus. How can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined, and articulated? Over the course of the last two centuries the radical changes have made new and fascinating ideas subject matter for artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, musicians. It is with this recognition that the 56th International Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia proposes All the World’s Futuresa project devoted to a fresh appraisal of the relationship of art and artists to the current state of things ».
The Exhibition: Parliament of Forms
« Rather than one overarching theme, All the World’s Futures is informed by a layer of intersecting Filters, these Filters are a constellation of parameters that circumscribe multiple ideas, which will be touched upon to both imagine and realize a diversity of practices. The 56th International Art Exhibition will employ as a Filter the historical trajectory that the Biennale itself, over the course of its one hundred and twenty years existence has run over, a Filter through which to reflect on both the current “state of things” and the “appearance of things.
How can artists, thinkers, writers, composers, choreographers, singers, and musicians, through images, objects, words, movement, actions, lyrics, sound bring together publics in acts of looking, listening, responding, engaging, speaking in order to make sense of the current upheaval? What material, symbolic or aesthetic, political or social acts will be produced in this dialectical field of references to give shape to an exhibition which refuses confinement within the boundaries of conventional display models? In All the World’s Futures the curator himself, along with artists, activists, the public, and contributors of all kinds will appear as the central protagonists in the open orchestration of the project .
At the core of the Exhibition is the notion of the exhibition as stage where historical and counter-historical projects will be explored. Within this framework the main aspects of the 56th Exhibition will solicit and privilege new proposals and works conceived specifically by invited artists, filmmakers, choreographers, performers, composers, and writers to work either individually or in collaboration ».
Liveness: On epic duration
« All the World’s Futures is both a spatial and temporal manifestation that is relentlessly incomplete, structured by a logic of unfolding, a program of events that can be experienced at the intersection of liveness and display. It will be a dramatization of the space of the exhibition as a continuous, unfolding, and unceasing live event. In doing so All the World’s Futures will activate works that are already existing but also invites contributions that will be realized especially for this Exhibition ».
Garden of Disorder
«This Filter, located in the Giardini and the Central Pavilion, Corderie, Giardino delle Vergini in the Arsenale, and selected areas in Venice, takes the historical ground of la Biennale in the Giardini as a metaphor through which to explore the current “state of things ”. The Biennale Arte 2015, returns to the ancient ground of this ideal to explore the changes in the global environment, to read the Giardini with its ramshackle assemblage of pavilions as the ultimate site of a disordered world, of national conflicts, as well as territorial and geopolitical disfigurations. The artists have been invited to develop proposals that take the concept of the garden as a point of departure to realized new sculptures, films, performances, and installations for All the World’s Futures ».
Capital: A Live Reading
«Beyond the distemper and disorder in the current “state of things,” there is one pervasive preoccupation that has been at the heart of our time and modernity. Since the publication of Karl Marx’s massive Capital: Critique of Political Economy in 1867, the structure and nature of capital has captivated thinkers and artists, as well as inspired political theorists, economists, and ideological structures across the world. A core part of this program of live readings, is “Das Kapital” a massive meticulously researched bibliographic project, conceived by the artistic director in the Central Pavilion .
With this outlook, All the World’s Futures, through its constellation of Filters will delve into the “state of things” and question “the appearance of things”, shifting from the guttural enunciation of the voice to the visual and physical manifestations between artworks and the public.
The first International Art Exhibition of the reformed Biennale di Venezia took place in 1999 and it was in that year, at the very beginning of a new chapter in its history, that it found itself having to respond to the many adverse comments it received. Many thought that an exhibition through pavilions was obsolete or at the very least an outdated concept in what was the much heralded era of globalization ».
So the President Paolo Baratta has introduced the 56th International Art Exhibition remembering to accepted the criticisms, but not the solutions that some put forward: « we did not throw out the use of pavilions for the Biennale - explains the President – but we enhanced it in a definitive way, by arranging a large, stand-alone International Exhibition at the same time . We arranged additional large spaces and appointed a curator for this ambitious project of ours. A main International Exhibition replaced the international sections, which used to be added to the exhibition organized by the curator of the Italian Pavilion. An international curator for our International Exhibition and no more committees or commissions. The new model worked, and this dynamic, new two-pronged event led to an increase in the number of countries wanting to participate.
It’s been 15 years since that reform, and the start of this new chapter, and it is thanks to that calculated choice that today, a curator of the ilk of Okwui Enwezor – like his most recent predecessors – can present not just a ‘section’, but an entire International Exhibition inspired by the ambition to offer the world a global sounding board.
In that occasion – Baratta continues – the Arsenale became an addition to the Giardini venue, and 15 years on, the number of participating countries, exhibiting in the two venues, is equal: 28 national participations at the Giardini and the same at the Arsenale, on the occasion of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition. Since the Biennale took on this greater and more precise responsibility, the dialogue with the pavilions and participating countries has evolved. The pluralism of voices that now exists is unique to the Biennale di Venezia.
The Biennale – specifies Baratta – is an Art Exhibition and not an art fair, and as such requires more than an unbiased up-dating of a roster of artists, young or not so young, famous or otherwise. Art and today’s reality present us with far more complex tasks. In the past, we have defined the Biennale in various ways. Today, faced with the dangers of slipping towards a more orthodox popularity, conventionality and security, we have named it “The Machine of Desire” to keep the desire for art high and in turn to want art and accept it is a necessity. In other words, to recognise as both a primary and primordial necessity man’s need to give some perceptible form to utopias, obsessions, anxieties, desires and to the ultra-sensitive world.
A Biennale is a complex affair– states Baratta. None of the aspects mentioned can be overlooked and whatever the curator’s initial concept – philosophical, political or anthropological – his selection really must include pieces that are necessary and fundamental to our perception. The introduction of the Biennale College is proof of our increasing commitment to new generations of artists. The current Architecture Exhibition has enjoyed the addition of the Dance, Theatre, Music and Cinema sectors. The next Art Biennale contain various forms of art but as an integral part of the exhibition ».
Baratta concludes: « It is not the first time that an exhibition faces a world filled with uncertainty and turmoil whilst the “garden of the world” appears to us as a “garden of disorder”, and it is also not the first time that faced with a complicated reality, an exhibition responds with the enthusiasm and dynamism evident in the one we are in the throes of organizing ».
The 56th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia will also present, as is traditional, the National Participations with their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, and in the historic city centre of Venice.
This edition will also include selected Collateral Events, presented by international entities and institutions, which will present their exhibitions and initiatives in Venice concurrently with the 56th Exhibition.
Official website: www.labiennale.org
Official hashtag: #biennalearte2015