An interview with Bice Curiger, the Director of the 54th International Art Exhibition "ILLUMInations", Venice Biennale 2011
Bice Curiger is an art historian, critic and curator of international exhibitions. Her curatorial activity at Kunsthaus Zurich parallels her important work in the publishing sector. In 1984, she cofounded the prestigious art magazine “Parkett”, of which she is editor-in-chief. She has been publishing director of London Tate Gallery’s magazine “Tate etc” since 2004.
The exhibition ILLUMInazioni – ILLUMInations will be laid out in the Central Pavilion in the Giardini and in the Arsenale, forming a single itinerary, featuring 83 artists from all over the world, including 32 young artists born after 1975, as well as 32 women artists. The director asked four participating artists to create “parapavilions”, architectural and sculptural structures erected in the Giardini and the Arsenale to house the works of other artists.
As usual, the Exhibition will be paralleled by 89 National Participations, a record for the Art Biennale (they were 77 in 2009), housed in the historical Pavilions in the Giardini, in the Arsenale, as well as in other locations around the city. The Padiglione Italia in the Arsenale, organized by the Ministry for the Cultural Heritage and Activities together with PaBAAC – General Direction for landscape, fine arts, architecture and contemporary art, will be curated by Vittorio Sgarbi. The countries that will be participating for the first time will be Andorra, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Haiti. Other countries will be participating after a long period of absence: India (1982), Congo (1968), Iraq (1990), Zimbabwe (1990), South Africa (1995), Costa Rica (1993, afterwards with IILA), Cuba (1995, afterwards with IILA). There will be 37 Collateral Events arranged by international organizations and institutions, that will set up their exhibitions and initiatives in various locations around the city on the occasion of the Biennale.
“La Biennale di Venezia is one of the world’s most important forums for the dissemination and illumination of current developments in international art – Bice Curiger stated. The title of the 54th International Art Exhibition, ILLUMInations, literally draws attention to the importance of such endeavours in a globalized world. As the biggest and oldest Biennale, la Biennale di Venezia has always been buoyed by an international spirit, and even more so now in an age in which artists themselves have become multifaceted, discerning migrants and cultural tourists”.
“ILLUMInations emphasizes the intuitive insight and the illumination of thought that is fostered by an encounter with art and its ability to sharpen the tools of perception – the director underlined. While the last Biennale ‘Making Worlds’ highlighted constructive creativity, ILLUMInations will focus on the ¢light’ of the illuminating experience, on the epiphanies that come with intercommunicative, intellectual comprehension. The Age of Enlightenment also resonates in ILLUMInations, testifying to the enduring vibrancy of its legacy”.
On the occasion of the 54th Exhibition, three online competitions will be launched through the website www.labiennalechannel.org:
· ILLUMInations – Photography: the best photograph of the Exhibition (competition open only to accredited photographers)
· ILLUMInations – Essay: the best critical essay on the Exhibition
· ILLUMInations – Video clip: the best video about the Exhibition