Six exhibitions to see in Venice during the Biennale

From 13 May to 26 November, a dense programme has been scheduled at Venice for the 57th Biennale. From Xavier Veilhan’s “Merzbau musical” to Mark Bradford’s social project, we take a little look at the openings not to miss. This year, the Venice Biennale is being steered by a Frenchwoman, Christine Macel, curator of the department of contemporary and prospective creation at the Centre Pompidou. The event’s theme, “Viva Arte Viva”, covers the capacity of artists to “invent their own universes” and “inject vitality into the world we live in”, in the words Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale foundation. This faith in art and the future is a deliberate choice on Baratta’s part after a beautiful but austere 2015 vintage, curated by Okwui Enwezor (“All the World’s Futures”). The Italian city will be welcoming numerous exhibitions and national pavilions simultaneously. Much to see, to hear, and to reflect on…   French Pavilion: a new-generation recording studio This year, the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is being overseen by Xavier Veilhan, and shouldered by curators Lionel Bovier (director of the MAMCO in Geneva) and Christian Marclay (artist and musician). Veilhan, as successor to Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, is setting up a project called “Merzbau musical” which plays on the volumes and decors of the French Pavilion’s space, drawing inspiration from a recording studio. The exhibition’s title is a nod to Kurt Schwitters whose “Merzbau” consisted of a habitable construction of variable dimensions, composed of salvaged objects. Schwitters’ project, initially intended to be named “Cathédrale de la misère érotique” (Cathedral of Erotic Misery), started in Hannover, then continued in Oslo and New York, throughout the artist’s life. In the French Pavilion, Xavier Veilhan places at the public’s disposal all types of musical instruments – some existing, others invented for the...

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Farewell Boy with Frog!

Venice, 8 May 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The statue Boy with Frog, a work by artist Charles Ray installed in Venice at Punta Della Dogana, will soon be moved. The sculpture measuring 2.4m and painted in white steel was set between the Grand Canal and the Guidecca in Venice four years ago, and will be replaced by a reproduction of the 19th-century street light that was at the same location in the past. “I knew things were getting serious when a friend of mine sent me a petition to keep Boy with Frog,” Mr Ray explained in an interview conducted by the New York Times. French businessman and collector François Pinault ordered Ray’s sculpture after signing a lease with the city for the restoration and transformation of the former customs office of Dogana into a...

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The Venice International Biennale of Architecture

This year, the 13th edition of the Venice International Architecture Biennial, one of the largest contemporary architecture events, will be held on Giardini and Arsenale sites from 29 August to 25 November 2012. It will present projects by some of the most important architects in the world. Fifty-five countries are participating in this year’s edition, including Kosovo, Kuwait, and Turkey for the first time. The general management was given to British architect David Chipperfield. Aged 61, this internationally famous architect has offices in London, Berlin, and Milan as well as a liaison office in Shanghai. Chipperfield advocates a coherent philosophical approach in order not to make people uncomfortable without renouncing to modernism. In his constructions, he always seeks to make references to the local architectural history looking for the perfect balance between context, modernism and harmonisation. This year, the imposed theme is “Common Grounds”. The exhibition will consist in 69 projects by architects, photographers, artists, art critics, and scholars. Among them, lots have had interesting propositions and installations especially created for the biennial. There will be 119 participants. This year’s predominant idea is to associate the practical side of urban architecture with the harmonisation of public spaces. In our society where individualism is increasing, the notion of community and public spaces is everyday harder to define. It is important de redevelop this collective identity through an architectural set merging urban and rural spaces. The idea of who we are comes with the representation of those public spaces. Today, regulation prevails over this harmonisation. It is important to give them an identity, to overtake commercial and social constraints, to merge the institutional and professional constraints with the needs and desires of individuals. Yves Lion, international reference in terms of urbanism, will represent the French Pavilion. He received the Urbanism Grand...

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