Photo Diary from the 58th Venice Biennale

Photos by Anna Russ // May 17, 2019

With nearly 80 international artists in the main exhibition, 90 national participants with pavilions and more than 20 official collateral events, it’s no wonder that the Venice Biennale is often deemed the “Olympics of the art world.” This year, Ralph Rugoff curated the group exhibition under the title ‘May You Live in Interesting Times,’ stating that “in an indirect fashion … art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in ‘interesting times.’ The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking.”

Spread across the Giardini and Arsenale, this show certainly gives insight into the art of today, featuring international artists including Ed Atkins, Alexandra Bircken, Ian Cheng, Jesse Darling, Cyprien Gaillard, Arthur Jafa (who won one of this year’s coveted Golden Lion awards), Lee Bul, Jon Rafman, Anicka Yi and Tomás Saraceno, to name just a few. Also spread throughout the Giardini and Arsenale are the famed National Pavilions. This year, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, Pakistan and the Dominican Republic are participating for the first time. Ghana’s pavilion in particular has drawn much attention with its David Adjaye–designed space and inclusion of artists like El Anatsui, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and John Akomfrah.

Between sipping spritzes along the canals and hopping from one water taxi to another, we photographed some of our favorite scenes.

Cathy Wilkes: ‘Cathy Wilkes,’ British Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys: ‘Mondo Cane,’ Belgian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

Stanislav Kolíbal: ‘Stanislav Kolíbal. Former Uncertain Indicated,’ Czech and Slovak Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

Natascha Süder Happelmann, German Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

El Anatsui’s work in the Ghanaian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė: ‘Sun & Sea (Marina). Opera-performance for 13 voices,’ Lithuanian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

Ingela Ihman’s work at the Nordic Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz: ‘Moving Backwards,’ Swiss Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019

Alex da Corte: ‘Rubber Pencil Devil,’ 2018, installation at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Arsenale

Kemang Wa Lehulere: ‘Dead Eye,’ 2018, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Arsenale

Liu Wei: ‘Microworld,’ 2018, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Arsenale

Martine Gutierrez: from the series ‘Body En Thrall,’ 2018, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Arsenale

Slavs and Tatars: ‘Dillio Plaza,’ 2019, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Arsenale

Yin Xiuzhen: ‘Trojan,’ 2016–17, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Arsenale

Apichatpong Weerasethakul: ‘The Vapour of Melancholy,’ 2014 work at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Giardini

Cyprien Gaillard: ‘L’Ange du foyer (Vierte Fassung),’ 2019, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Giardini

Korakrit Arunanondchai: ‘with history in a room filled with people with funny names 4 (garden), 2019, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Giardini

Korakrit Arunanondchai: ‘with history in a room filled with people with funny names 4 (garden), 2019, detail, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Giardini

Ryoji Ikeda: ‘spectra III,’ 2008, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Giardini

Shilpa Gupta: ‘Untitled,’ 2009, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Giardini

Sun Yuan and Peng Yu: ‘Can’t Help Myself,’ 2016, installation view at the Venice Biennale 2019 main exhibition in the Giardini

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