A Guide To Venice's Biennale

A Guide To Venice's Biennale

Out of the countless reasons to visit Venice, here is yet another to add to the list: La Biennale.  Occurring every two years, this contemporary art show transforms the city into an art lover’s paradise. Running from May 13th to November 26, this year’s show “Viva Arte Viva,” marked the 57th exhibition.

The internationally renowned exhibit runs from May to November, every other year on odd years (2017, 2019), alternating with the Biennale of Architecture (held on even years). While the main exhibits are in the Giardini and Arsenale areas, smaller exhibitions, statues and installations can be found smartly placed around the city. The main exhibition areas can easily be reached via public transportation (ACTV stop Aresenale, or ACTV stop Giardini Biennale).

Visitors are invited to explore a route that unfolds “over the course of nine chapters or families of artists, beginning with two introductory realms in the Central Pavilion in the Giardini, followed by seven more realms to be found in the Arsenale and the Giardino delle Vergini.” There is no physical separation between the various pavilions. As Head Curator Christine Macel explains, “From the Pavilion of Artists and Books to the Pavillion of Time and Infinity, these nine episodes tell a story that is often discursive and at time paradoxical with detours that mirror the world’s complexities… The exhibition is intended as an experience, an extrovert moment from the self to the other, toward a common space beyond defined dimensions.”

The internationally renowned event features 120 artists, with 103 of them participating for the first time. In the words of Paola Baratta, the President of La Biennale, “this year’s Biennale is inspired by the kind of humanism that celebrates mankind’s ability to avoid [through art] being dominated by the powers that govern world affairs; which if left to their own devices can greatly affect the human dimension for the worse… the artistic act is an act of resistance, of liberation and of generosity.”

Whether you are an art aficionado or just passing through during a visit to Venice, there are many ways to get involved. The fair offers guided tours for visitors (in Italian or English), as well as creative workshops for families. Every week, the artists host an Open Table (Tavola Aperta) to meet visitors over a casual lunch to discuss their works in an open forum.

Biennale Venice Italian Concierge

Many of the exhibits themselves encourage active participation, including the “Intuition” show at Palazzo Fortuny. The palazzo holds 4 floors of mixed medium displays. On the ground level visitors can watch video clips, enjoy interactive displays and interact with the installations, and are even invited to take part in the creative process. On the 3rd floor of the ancient palazzo, visitors will find a long table filled with clay balls, and are encouraged to mold their own ball and add it to the communal table.

The Head Curator, Christien Macel, reflects “Today, faced with a world full of conflicts and shocks, art bears witness to the most precious part of what makes us human, at a time when humanism is precisely jeopardized. Art is the ultimate ground for reflection, individual expression, freedom, and for fundamental questions. The role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are more crucial than ever, within the framework of cotemporary debates.”

If you are interested in attending, we at the Italian Concierge suggest you book well in advance. With the international popularity of the event every growing, hotels book up months, even years in advance. A visit to the Biennale can be combined with visits to nearby Milano, Lake Como, Lake Garda, or even Florence, Rome, and Tuscany. Venice will host the Biennale of Architecture in 2018, and the Biennale of Art again starting May 2019.  Whether you are an aficionado of art, architecture, or simply luxury travel, contact the Italian Concierge to start planning your dream trip to Italy.

Practical Information:
Opening Hours: 10 am - 6 pm on Tuesday- Sunday 
Last admission: 5:45 pm
Closed: Closed on Mondays (except Oct. 30th and Nov. 20th)
Tickets: Eu 25 for 1 day pass, 20 reduced (over 65), Eu 48 for 2 day pass
Accessibility: The Aresnale exhibition area is fully accessible thanks to wheelchairs ramps, elevators and uniform outdoor itineraries. The Giardini area has ramps and stair lifts but some areas may not be accessible.
For more information on the organization, featured artists, agenda, and more, visit the Biennale di Venezia’s official website: http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/2017


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