May 9th marks the first day of the 56th Venice Biennale, titled All the World’s Futures, which will remain on view until November 22nd. Curated by renowned Nigerian art critic Okwui Enwezor and organized by a committee chaired by Paolo Baratta, Biennale Arte (as the Italians call it) provides a platform for artists from 89 countries to exhibit art in various media on an international stage. These artists display and install their work at various sites throughout the city, making for a lively dialogue amongst creators, critics, and observers. Here are three not-to-miss exhibitions if you’re lucky enough to make it to Italy for the 2015 Biennale di Venezia.
Mario Merz Retrospective: Città Irreale
On view at Gallerie dell’Accademia, 1050 Campo della Carità, Venice
At this year’s Biennale, the late Italian conceptual artist Mario Merz will be honored in the first major retrospective of his work since 2005. Città Irreale (Unreal City) pays tribute to one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. It is organized chronologically so that viewers can observe Merz’s creative progression and exploration of the material world. The show ends with Merz’s captivating large-scale environmental installations made with metal, plastic, paper, fluorescent lights, and organic materials.
Jimmie Durham’s Venice: Object, Work and Tourism
On view at Fondazione Querini Stampalia, 5252 Castello, Palazzo Querini Stampalia, Venice
American-born sculptor Jimmie Durham’s installation in the Spazio Carlo Scarpa is comprised of unexpected combinations of elements and narratives found in Venice. The exhibition explores the connections between Venice’s intellectual history, tourist industry, and cultural dynamics. According to the artist, “Venice is the embodiment of this confluence: a place where object becomes most evident as the cornerstone of cultural and intellectual life, and a place where this seemingly static symbol of culture and intellectuality is constantly being modeled and refined through handling and everyday labor.”
Minjung Kim’s The Light, The Shade, The Depth
On view at Ca’ Boto, 1643 Via Garibaldi, Venice
Korean artist Minjung Kim’s ethereal landscapes are created out of collaged painted rice paper and various other components. Throughout her body of work, Kim’s background in traditional Korean calligraphy and watercolor is combined with her deep understanding of Western abstract expressionism gleaned during her studies in Milan. This stylistic juxtaposition makes for an exhibition that is as relevant (in terms of globalization, aesthetic mixing, etc.) as it is breathtaking.
For more information on the Venice Biennale, visit thier official site.