Opening of the 60th Venice Biennale

A celebration of the foreign

The latest edition of the Venice Biennale opens on April 20: for the 60th time, the most important international art exhibition is attracting visitors from all over the world to the famous Italian city. The event, entitled Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, is curated by Brazilian Adriano Pedrosa.

April 20, 2024
Kay WalkingStick, South Rim, 2016
Courtesy the Artist and Hales, London and New York / Photo by JSP Art Photography / © Kay WalkingStick
Kay WalkingStick (Syracuse, United States, 1935 - Lives in Pennsylvania), South Rim (2016), Oil on panel in two parts, 91.4 x 182.9 x 6.3 cm

»The expression Foreigners Everywhere has several meanings,« says curator Adriano Pedrosa, explaining the concept of the art event. »First of all, that wherever you go and wherever you are you will always encounter foreigners – they/we are everywhere. Secondly, that no matter where you find yourself, you are always truly, and deep down inside, a foreigner.« Venice is the perfect place to apply the concept. Refugees from various regions of the Roman Empire founded the city of Venice, where previously only a few settlers lived. Today, Venice is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations – strangers are everywhere here, as Pedrosa points out. The Brazilian is Artistic Director of the São Paulo Museum of Art and the first South American curator of the Biennale. For his edition of the renowned Venice Biennale, he chose the title Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere, inspired by a series of works of the same name by the artist collective Claire Fontaine, who work in Palermo. The neon sculptures with the text Stranieri Ovunque already exist in 53 languages, including some indigenous and some extinct ones. The 60th Venice Biennale focuses on artists who have never before been presented in the International Exhibition. The numerous events and national pavilions will be on display from April 20 to November 24, 2024.

A total of 88 national pavilions are taking part in the Biennale this year. The Republic of Benin, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, which has only been independent since 2002, are taking part for the first time ever, while Nicaragua, the Republic of Panama and Senegal have their own pavilions for the first time. The city of Venice is also represented with its own pavilion. The international exhibition is divided into two sections: Nucleo Contemporaneo (contemporary core) and Nucleo Storico (historical core). Lesser-known areas of global art history will take center stage here: the first section will primarily present queer and indigenous artists as well as so-called outsiders. The selection of artists ranges from Brazil to New Zealand. The Nucleo Storico focuses on Latin American, African, Arab and East Asian artworks and artists of the 20th century. Pedrosa presents modern art developments from the Global South, some of which were in exchange with European art movements and developed their own styles. In total, works by over 300 artists will be on display in Venice.

This year's International Jury is headed by President Julia Bryan-Wilson, a US curator and Professor of Contemporary Art and LGBTQ+ Studies at Columbia University. The jury also consists of Alia Swastika, an Indonesian curator and writer, Chika Okeke-Agulua, a Nigerian curator and art critic, Elena Crippa, an Italian curator, and María Inés Rodríguez, a French-Colombian curator. The jury will decide on the Golden and Silver Lions and has the right to award special mentions in the National Pavilions and International Exhibition sections. The prizes will be awarded on April 20.Art.Salon

Claire Fontaine, Foreigners Everywhere (Italian), 2004
Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Studio Claire Fontaine Copyright Studio Claire Fontaine Courtesy of Claire Fontaine and Galleria T293, Rome
Installation view: Cité internationale des arts Paris, Monmartre, Paris, 2004. Claire Fontaine, Foreigners Everywhere (Italian), 2004. Suspended, wall or window mounted neon, framework, electronic transformer and cables.

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