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58th International Art Exhibition

The Gardens and Arsenal in Venice will house the 58th International Art Exhibition entitled May You Live In Interesting Times curated by Ralph Rugoff, starting Saturday 11 May and closing Sunday 24 November 2019.

The 58th International Art Exhibition is spread across the central pavilion, the Gardens and Arsenal, showcasing 79 artists from all over the world. The exhibition includes 90 national guests in the historic pavilions of the Gardens, Arsenal and historic centre of Venice. Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan are newcomer countries on show at the Art Biennale, while the Dominican Republic will have its own pavilion for the first time at this unmissable contemporary art event that takes place in the unique city of Venice.

The title of this exhibition can be read as an omen: ‘interesting times’ evokes a challenging and threatening era. But it can also be an invitation to see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation that seems particularly timely to us in times when too often things are excessively simplified, due to conformity and fear. 

May You Live in the Interesting Times includes works of art that reflect on the precarious aspects of current existence, including the many threats to our founding traditions, institutions and relations of the post-war order. In an indirect way, however, perhaps art can offer a guide to help us live and think in these ‘interesting times’. The 2019 Biennale Arte will not have a theme in itself, but will highlight a general approach to making art and its social function, including both pleasure and critical thinking. The exhibition will focus on the work of artists who question existing thought categories and awaken us to a new reading of objects and images, gestures and situations. A similar type of art arises from the propensity to observe reality from multiple viewpoints, taking into consideration apparently contradictory and incompatible concepts, and juggling with different ways of interpreting the world around us.