Venice Biennale 2024 Curator

Venice Biennale 2024 – ‘Foreigners everywhere’

Culture News

The Venice Biennale 2024 opened yesterday (20th April) and runs until 24th November 2024 at the Giardini and Arsenale venues.

Entitled ‘Foreigners Everywhere,’ the Venice Biennale 2024 delves into the exploration of identity. Organised into national pavilions, the international exhibition prompts reflection on the relevance and validity of this traditional division.

At the core of numerous national pavilion exhibitions lies the intricate and often contentious concept of nationality and belonging.

Curated by Adriano Pedrosa, the exhibition derives its title from the Turin collective ‘Stranieri Ovunque,’ which challenged racism and xenophobia in Italy. According to Pedrosa, the phrase signifies the omnipresence of foreigners and the perpetual sense of being a foreigner, regardless of location.

“The expression Stranieri Ovunque has several meanings,” explains Pedrosa. “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.”

Two sections to the exhibition

The exhibition is structured into two sections: Nucleo Contemporaneo and Nucleo Storico. The former delves into the etymology of ‘foreigner’ and explores various related themes, such as queer identities, outsider artists, and indigenous perspectives. Meanwhile, the latter showcases 20th-century artworks from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, shedding light on lesser-known modernisms outside Euroamerica.

“The exhibition unfolds and focuses on the production of other related subjects: the queer artist, who has moved within different sexualities and genders, often being persecuted or outlawed; the outsider artist, who is located at the margins of the art world, much like the self-taught artist, the folk artist and the artista popular; the indigenous artist, frequently treated as a foreigner in his or her own land,” says Pedrosa.

“We are all too familiar with the histories of modernism in Euroamerica, yet the modernisms in the Global South remain largely unknown,” contiued Pedrosa.

Nationality and belonging

Across the national pavilions, the theme of nationality and belonging takes centre stage. For instance, Australia features First Nation artist Archie Moore, highlighting the disparity between Australia’s colonial history and Aboriginal heritage. Brazil presents Glicéria Tupinambá’s exhibition, celebrating Tupinambá Indigenous culture and its resilience against marginalization.

Denmark’s pavilion showcases Inuuteq Storch’s installation, which juxtaposes historical photographs with contemporary snapshots to narrate Greenland’s visual history. France’s exhibit by Julien Creuzet explores French-Caribbean identity, while Chile’s show by Valeria Montti Colque delves into multi-sited nationhood.

Furthermore, pavilions like Serbia, United Republic of Tanzania, and North Macedonia tackle the concept of foreignness and belonging through diverse artistic expressions, prompting introspection on national identity and international dialogue.

Amidst the thought-provoking exhibitions, questions arise about the Biennale’s conventional division into national pavilions. Perhaps there is the need for a model that fosters broader interconnectedness and global discourse.

The 60th Venice Biennale, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, invites visitors to engage with these multifaceted explorations of identity from 20th April to 24th November.

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