Page 11 - La Biennale di Venezia issue of World of Art Magazine
P. 11

In times of great change, we have all realized that we must pay attention
                                             to the evolution of the world and of the world of art. I must admit that,
                                             at the helm of La Biennale di Venezia, we are facilitated in this task since
                                             we are active in various artistic sectors – Theatre, Music, Dance, Film, and
                                             Architecture – and the stimuli, challenges, and incentives never lack. How
                                             have we reacted?
                                             To keep it short: we try to be sensitive to the spirit of the times but also
                                             firm on a number of points. First of all, we are an international exhibition, a
                                             complex international exhibition, in which numerous exhibitions promoted
                                             by participating countries dialogue with each other, and, together, dialogue
                                             with the international exhibition we organize in collaboration with our
                                             curator. In turn, our exhibition must be open and without any boundaries.
                                             To this end, I remember how the word “open,” more than any other,
                                             resounded in us in the early years and it characterized our choices in 1999
                                             and 2001: to be “open” to new spaces; to “open” our exhibition, in order to
                                             represent art as a phenomenon of humanity (the title of our first Biennale
                                             was “APERTO overALL,” the second was entitled “Plateau of Humankind;”
                                             these two titles became the motto for all the following editions of the

                                             Then as now, we consider this method, founded on our independence
                                             and that of the curator, the most effective one for making our exhibition
                                             an instrument of knowledge, imperfect yet dynamic, able to navigate the
                                             complexity, aware of the ambivalence which lies within every phenomenon
                                             but without repudiating it through ambiguous remedies.

                                             To navigate the complexity means to not reduce something to schema and
                                             formulas - something which, by its very nature, is manifold and cannot be
                                             traced back to a unicum, unless at a high cost.
                                             Twenty years ago, this choice of “openness” was our response to the
                                             many critics who accused the Biennale and its “pavilions of countries” of
                                             being old-fashioned; in those years, cosmopolitanism and globalization
                                             were in vogue. Now, twenty years later, some people raise the doubt
                                             that cosmopolitanism might also have been a way for dominant societies
                                             and economies to exert a sort of soft power. But once again, I believe
                                             that the attention given to minority artists as a consequence of these
                                             preoccupations must develop in the direction of further openness, rather
                                             than along the ambiguous pathways of the celebration of local identities.
                                             And, in any case, it must not merely re-propose just a new trend.

                                             In our activity, we must give meaning to historical evolution without
                                             necessarily following the parabolic-physiological model that everything is
                                             born, grows, and decays. We must foster the permanent revolution which
                                             is brought to us by the works and the artists, all the while avoiding models
                                             which turn the artist into a one-dimensional subject, a direct agent of
                                             history and political evolution.
                                             We must not fall into the trap of letting ourselves be guided by the market,
                                             but instead must make free choices and, by all means, avoid humoring
                                             the diktats of prevailing trends. If necessary, we must go against the
                                             mainstream of the moment, fully aware that the market exists and the
                                             information which a Biennale offers also ends up contributing to its

                                             What we do has many by-products and many side effects, which are in
                                             part contradictory, and this exposes us to the criticism of those who
                                             nearsightedly see the side effects and confuse them with the main
                                             objectives. We, too, must pay great attention to our primary mission and
                                             hope that the commentators will be sufficiently willing to discern the

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