At a press conference held today, February 2, Roberto Cicutto, president of the Venice Biennale, and curator Cecilia Alemani – already head of the Italian Pavilion during the 57th edition – presented the next 59th International Art Exhibition entitled The Milk of Dreams, officially open to the public from 23 April to 27 November.
Articulated between the Central Pavilion at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the 213 selected artists will interpret a theme directly inspired by a book of fairy tales. “The exhibition takes its title from the book The Milk of Dreams by Leonora Carrington,” explains Cecilia Alemani “in which the surrealist artist describes a magical world in which life is constantly reinvented. The exhibition chooses Carrington’s fantastic creatures, along with many other figures of transformation, as companions on an imaginary journey through the metamorphosis of bodies and definitions of the human.”
Commissioned at the height of the pandemic, the exhibition project stems from Alemani’s many conversations with artists, from which many questions dominating science and the arts emerge, such as those regarding the very survival of humanity threatened by the experience of the precise moment in history. “How is the definition of human changing? What are the differences that separate the plant, the animal, the human and the non-human? What are our responsibilities towards our fellow human beings, other life forms and the planet we inhabit? And what would life be like without us?”.
In pursuit of these questions, the curatorial path will be divided into three thematic areas: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; and the links between bodies and the Earth.
Distributed along the exhibition route in the Central Pavilion and the Corderie, five small thematic exhibitions of a historical nature form a series of constellations in which works of art, found objects, artefacts and documents are brought together to address some of the fundamental themes of the exhibition. Conceived as time capsules - in an installation curated by FormaFantasma - these micro-exhibitions provide tools for in-depth study. “The thematic capsules enrich the Biennale with a trans-historical and transversal approach that traces similarities and legacies between similar methodologies and artistic practices, even generations apart, creating new layers of meaning and short circuits between present and past: a historiography that proceeds not by filiations and conflicts but by symbiotic relationships, sympathies and sisterhoods”.
Opening image: I Giardini della Biennale di Venezia. Photo Claudia Corrent