Biennale Arte 2024 Unveils Groundbreaking Exhibition: “Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere”

biennale arte foreigners everywhere

Venice, Italy – In an eagerly awaited celebration of artistic diversity, the 60th International Art Exhibition, Biennale Arte 2024, is poised to open its doors with the thought-provoking theme “Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere.” Curated by the distinguished Adriano Pedrosa and meticulously organized by La Biennale di Venezia, this comprehensive exhibition is scheduled to captivate audiences from April 20 to November 24, 2024, at the Giardini and Arsenale venues.

The title, borrowed from a series of works by the Paris-born and Palermo-based Claire Fontaine collective, encapsulates the profound essence of the exhibition. Pedrosa eloquently explained, “Stranieri Ovunque has several meanings. First of all, wherever you go and wherever you are, you will always encounter foreigners—they/we are everywhere. Secondly, no matter where you find yourself, you are always truly, and deep down inside, a foreigner.”

Nucleo Contemporaneo: Embracing Otherness

Delving into the heart of otherness, the Nucleo Contemporaneo is designed to explore themes related to the “strano” or the strange. The exhibition unfolds to encompass the experiences of queer artists who have navigated diverse sexualities and genders, often facing persecution or ostracization. The focus extends to outsider artists, residing at the margins of the art world, along with self-taught artists, folk artists, and artista popular. Indigenous artists, frequently treated as foreigners in their own lands, take center stage.

Indigenous artists, such as the Mahku collective from Brazil and the Maataho collective from Aotearoa/New Zealand, will present monumental murals and large-scale installations. Queer artists, who have played pivotal roles in shaping the discourse around identity, will feature prominently throughout the exhibition, with dedicated sections in both the Corderie and the Central Pavilion.

A unique highlight of the Nucleo Contemporaneo is the special section in the Corderie devoted to the Disobedience Archive, a project by Marco Scotini. Since 2005, the Disobedience Archive has been diligently assembling a video archive that explores the intricate relationships between artistic practices and activism. The section, curated by Juliana Ziebell, comprises two main parts specially conceptualized for this framework: Diaspora Activism and Gender Disobedience. The Disobedience Archive will showcase works by 39 artists and collectives created between 1975 and 2023.

Nucleo Storico: Reimagining Global Modernism

The Nucleo Storico serves as a historical journey through the 20th century, presenting modernisms from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Portraits, Abstractions, and a dedicated room exploring the worldwide Italian artistic diaspora in the 20th century weave a narrative that challenges conventional boundaries and definitions of modernism.

The double-room named Portraits features works from 112 artists, predominantly paintings but also encompassing works on paper and sculpture. Spanning the years 1905 to 1990, the room explores the theme of the human figure, reflecting on the crisis of representation that marked much of 20th-century art. Artists from the Global South, who were exposed to European modernism through travels, studies, or books, bring their highly personal and powerful reflections to the theme.

The Abstractions room introduces 37 artists, many of whom are exhibited together for the first time. Unforeseen juxtapositions are expected to reveal new connections, associations, and parallels beyond traditional categories. The inclusion of artists from Singapore and Korea during their period as part of the so-called Third World adds a dynamic dimension. Additionally, historical Maori artists, Selwyn Wilson and Sandy Adsett, from Aotearoa/New Zealand, are integrated into the Nucleo Storico.

The third room in the Nucleo Storico is dedicated to the worldwide Italian artistic diaspora in the 20th century. This room, featuring works by 40 artists of the first or second generations, serves as a testament to the role played by Italians who moved abroad in shaping modernism beyond Italy. Lina Bo Bardi’s glass easel display system, herself an Italian who moved to Brazil, will be employed to exhibit these works.

Two recurring and organically emerging motifs in the research become leitmotifs throughout the International Exhibition. Firstly, textiles, explored by many artists in the show, symbolize an interest in craft, tradition, and the handmade. These works often employ techniques considered foreign or strange in the broader field of fine arts. Secondly, a motif that revolves around artists connected by blood, particularly Indigenous artists. Tradition plays a significant role in this context, highlighting the transmission of knowledge and practices within families.

National Participations and Collateral Events: A Global Artistic Convergence

In addition to the curated exhibition, Biennale Arte 2024 boasts the participation of 90 countries in National Pavilions and 30 Collateral Events held at historic pavilions and various locations across Venice. The inclusion of four countries participating for the first time—Republic of Benin, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Timor Leste—further amplifies the global reach of the exhibition.

The Italian Pavilion, located at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture, is curated by Luca Cerizza. The project “Due qui / To hear” by artist Massimo Bartolini is a notable addition, including contributions specifically created by musicians and writers.

The Holy See Pavilion, promoted by the Prefect of the Dicastery for Culture and Education of the Holy See, Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, takes an unconventional turn this year by being hosted in the women’s prison in Venice at the Giudecca island. Curated by Chiara Parisi and Bruno Racine, the exhibition titled “With my eyes” explores unique perspectives and narratives.

The City of Venice, affirming its commitment to the arts, participates with its own pavilion—the Venice Pavilion—at the Giardini of Sant’Elena.

Collateral Events: Diverse Voices Enriching the Artistic Tapestry

Biennale Arte 2024 will host 30 Collateral Events, carefully selected and admitted by the curator. These events, promoted by non-profit national and international bodies and institutions, offer a wide range of contributions and participations that enrich the diversity of voices characterizing the Exhibition.

Special Projects Realized by La Biennale di Venezia: Exploring Artistic Legacies

Austrian Armoury (Polveriera Austriaca), Forte Marghera, Mestre, will host ten works by the Italian artist Nedda Guidi (1927–2015). Guidi, recognized for her innovative techniques in ceramic sculpture, is hailed not merely as a ceramic artist but as a sculptor fundamental to the evolution of contemporary ceramics.

The Applied Arts Pavilion at Arsenale, Sale d’Armi, presents the work of Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes (b. 1960). Renowned for overlaying Brazilian cultural imagination with references to Western modernist painting, Milhazes will

showcase seven paintings and seven collages. The project, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, is a collaboration between La Biennale di Venezia and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

Biennale College Arte: Nurturing Emerging Talent

The selected projects for the 2nd edition of Biennale College Arte 2023/24 feature the works of Agnes Questionmark, Joyce Joumaa, Sandra Poulson, and Nazira Karimi. These four artists, under 30 years old, will each receive a grant of 25,000 euros for the realization of their final works. The artworks will be presented out of competition as part of the 60th International Art Exhibition. Over 150 young emerging artists under 30 from 37 countries around the world have joined the call for participation.

Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement: Honoring Artistic Legacies

The Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement will be bestowed upon two distinguished artists during the Biennale Arte 2024 awards and inauguration ceremony on April 20th, 2024, at Ca’ Giustinian, the headquarters of La Biennale di Venezia. The recipients are the Italian-born Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino and the Paris-based Turkish artist Nil Yalter.

Biennale Sessions: Engaging Universities in Art Exploration

For the thirteenth consecutive year, La Biennale dedicates the Biennale Sessions project to institutions that develop research and training programs in architecture, the arts, and related fields, along with Universities and Fine Arts Academies. This initiative aims to facilitate self-organized three-day visits for groups of at least 50 students and teachers. It also provides the possibility of holding seminars in the exhibition venues free of charge, with assistance in coordinating travel and accommodation.

Educational Initiatives: Fostering Art Appreciation and Understanding

Over the past decade, La Biennale di Venezia has intensified its focus on learning activities and committed to educational initiatives aimed at diverse audiences, including schools at all levels, universities, young people, and children. In the last two years alone, the Art and Architecture Exhibitions garnered participation from 130,298 individuals in educational activities. Of these, 71,525 were youngsters. The 2024 Educational program continues this trajectory, offering a range of initiatives targeting individuals and groups of students, children, adults, families, professionals, companies, and universities. These initiatives actively involve participants and are led by professional operators trained by La Biennale di Venezia. They are categorized into Guided Tours and Workshop Activities.

Catalogue and Graphic Identity: Documenting and Presenting the Artistic Odyssey

The official catalogue, titled “Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere,” comprises two volumes. Volume I is dedicated to the International Exhibition curated by Adriano Pedrosa. It includes critical essays, “Conversations” featuring interviews with Anna Maria Maiolino and Nil Yalter, and a presentation of artists divided into Nucleo Storico and Nucleo Contemporaneo. Volume II focuses on the National Participations and Collateral Events, providing an in-depth guide to accompany visitors through the Exhibition.

Estudio Campo (Paula Tinoco, Roderico Souza, Carolina Aboarrage) from San Paolo, Brazil, is responsible for the graphic identity of Biennale Arte 2024 and the design of the publication.

Partners and Sponsors: Enabling Artistic Excellence

The realization of the 60th International Art Exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of Swatch, the Partner of the event. The main sponsor of the 60th Exhibition is illycaffè. Other sponsors include American Express, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Vela-Venezia Unica. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is acknowledged for its contribution.

Rai, serving as the media partner, will provide dedicated coverage on TV, radio, and the web.

Acknowledgments: Gratitude for Collaborative Support

La Biennale expresses gratitude to the Ministero della Cultura, regional institutions, the City of Venice, the Regione Veneto, the Soprintendenza Archeologia, belle arti e paesaggio per il Comune di Venezia e Laguna, and the Italian Navy. Special thanks are extended to donors, international councils, and organizations whose support is essential for the creation of the 60th Exhibition.

A final note of appreciation is reserved for Adriano Pedrosa and his dedicated team, along with the highly professional staff of La Biennale, who work with unwavering dedication on the organization and management of the Exhibition.

As the curtain rises on Biennale Arte 2024, the global art community anticipates a transformative celebration of diversity, creativity, and inclusivity.

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