‘May You Live In Interesting Times’ is a title that invites you to think and arouses your curiosity before visiting the exhibition that this year will be curated by Ralph Rugoff

Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery in London, B.A. in semiotics, has a goal, questioning our reference points through art, as we will see at the 58th International Art Exhibition of Venice Biennale.

Ralph Rugoff, curator of Venice Biennale 2019

May You Live in Interesting Times,” the 58th Art Biennal, 11 May – 24 November 2019 in Venice, between the Giardini and the Arsenale, “will no doubt include artworks that reflect upon precarious aspects of existence today, including different threats to key traditions, institutions and relationships of the ‘post-war order.’ But let us acknowledge at the outset that art does not exercise its forces in the domain of politics. Art cannot stem the rise of nationalist movements and authoritarian governments in different parts of the world, for instance, nor can it alleviate the tragic fate of displaced peoples across the globe (whose numbers now represent almost one percent of the world’s entire population),” explains the curator of the 58th International Art Exhibition.

Art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in ‘interesting times’ offering a new perspective on objects and images, gestures and situations. Artists offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts encouraging us to look askance at all unquestioned categories, inviting us to consider multiple alternatives and unfamiliar vantage points.

Also President Paolo Baratta comments the adjective ‘interesting’: “Interesting times evokes the idea of challenging or even menacing times, but it could also simply be an invitation to always see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation, thus, that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear. And I believe that an exhibition of art is worth our attention, first and foremost, if it intends to present us with art and artists as a decisive challenge to all oversimplifying attitudes.”

Paolo Baratta, President of the Venice Biennale

The Exhibition will develop from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, and will include 79 artists from all over the world.

The Exhibition will also include 91 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. 4 countries will take part for the first time in the Biennale Arte: Algeria, Ghana, Madagascar and PakistanDominican Republic and The Republic of Kazakhstan will participate for the first time with a pavilion of their own.

The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, supported and promoted by Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali, Direzione Generale Arte e Architettura Contemporanee e Periferie Urbane, will be curated by Milovan Farronato (Director and Curator of the Fiorucci Art Trust. [Text: Paola Molteni – Photo: Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia]