Female artists dominate the Venice Biennale for 1st time


VENICE, Italy (AP) — For the first time in the 127-year history of the Venice Biennale, the world’s oldest and most important contemporary art fair features a majority of female and gender non-conforming artists under the curatorial direction of Cecilia Alemani. ,

The result is a biennale that puts the spotlight on artists who have long been overlooked despite prolific careers, while also examining topics including gender norms, colonialism and climate change.

Alemani’s main show, titled “The Milk of Dreams,” opens with 80 national pavilions on Saturday after a year-long pandemic delay. The art fair runs till November 27. It is only the fourth of the 59 editions of the Biennale, which is under the women’s period.

The preponderance of women among the more than 200 actors Alemani selected for the main show was “not a choice, but a process,” New York-based Italian curator Alemani said this week.

“I think some of the best actors today are female actors,” she told the Associated Press. “But it must also not be forgotten that throughout the long history of the Venice Biennale, the predominance of male actors in previous editions has been surprising.”

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“Unfortunately, we still haven’t resolved many issues related to gender,” Alemani said.

During the coronavirus pandemic and as Europe opens up to war, Alemani acknowledged that art can seem “superficial” at such times. But he emphasized the Biennale’s role for decades as “the seismologist of history … to absorb and record the traumas and crises beyond the contemporary art world.”

In a powerful reminder, the Russian Pavilion remains closed this year after the artists withdrew following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nearby, sandbags are made in the center of the Giardini by the curators of the Ukrainian PavilionAnd the two-month-old is surrounded by stylized posters of fresh artwork by Ukrainian artists representing the horrors of war.

Among the women who have received arrears for a long time Recognize This Biennale is American Sculptor Simone LeighJoe in mid-career is both leading the American Pavilion and setting the tone in the main exhibit with a colossal statue of a black woman, which Alemani originally commissioned for the High Line urban park in New York City.

A pioneer of conceptual art in Turkey, Fusun Onur, 85, has filled a Turkish pavilion with husky cats and rats set in storyboard floats that face modern threats such as pandemics and climate change. Taking pride in his role representing Turkey and the work done during the pandemic at his home while watching the Bosphorus, he acknowledged that the honor was too late to arrive.

“Why this is so I don’t know,” Fusan said over the phone from Istanbul. “Women actors are working hard, but they are not always recognized. It is always the man first. ,

New Zealand is represented by third gender artist Yuki Kihara, whose setting, “Paradise Camp”, tells the story of Samoa’s Pfaifine community, who do not accept the gender they were assigned at birth.

The exhibition features photographs by post-Impressionist French artist Paul Gauguin of feminine mimicking paintings of Pacific Islanders, reclaiming the images in a process the artist refers to as “upcycling”.

Kihara said, “Paradise Camp is really about envisioning a phaefin utopia, where it shuns colonial hetero-normality to make way for an indigenous world view that is inclusive and responsive to changes in the environment.” sensitive.”

A hyper-realistic sculptural image of a futuristic female satirist who rises in contrast to her satirical companion, who has hanged herself, sets a grim post-apocalyptic tone in the Danish pavilion created by Uffe Isolotto.

The Nordic Pavilion offers a more optimistic path out of the apocalypse, with artwork and exhibits depicting the struggle against colonialism by the Sami peoples who live in Russia’s Murmansk Oblast across a wide swath of northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, while their Celebrate traditions too.

“We kind of figured out how to live in a post-apocalyptic world and do it, you know, maintaining our spirits and our beliefs and systems of value,” said co-curator Lisa-Ravanna Feinbog.

This year’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Awards goes to German artist Katharina Fritsch, whose life-like elephant sculpture stands in the rotunda of the main exhibition building in the Giardini, and Chilean poet, artist and filmmaker Cecilia Vicuna, whose A portrait of a mother’s eyes graces the Biennale catalog cover.

Vicuna painted the picture during the family’s exile after the violent military coup in Chile against President Salvador Allende. Now 97, her mother accompanied her to the Biennale.

“You see that his spirit is still there, so in a way the painting is like a victory of love against dictatorship, against oppression, against hate,” Vicuna said.

Charlene Pele contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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