The next Venice Biennale—also known as the Art Olympics—won’t begin until May of 2019, but news of the chosen artists has been steadily trickling in over the past few months. Before the art world officially disbands for the summer, we’ve assembled a list of the individuals and collectives who’ve signed on to show at the event’s many national pavilions. (Next year’s central exhibition will be curated by Ralph Rugoff, the director of London’s Hayward Gallery.) One early trend we’re seeing is an uptick in the number of female artists, including Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost, who will represent France, Cathy Wilkes representing Great Britain, and Renate Bertlmann for Austria.
We’ll keep updating this list as more information becomes available, so keep checking back.
VENUE: Arsenale, Artiglierie
ARTIST: Driant Zeneli
CURATOR: Alicia Knock
FUN FACT: The exhibition is titled “Maybe the cosmos is not so extraordinary” and draws from the Albanian sci-fi author Arion Hysenbegas book, On the way to Epsilon Eridani (1983).
VENUE: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi
ARTIST(S): Mariana Telleria
CURATORS: Florencia Battiti
NEED TO KNOW: The work will be titled “The name of a country” which was also the title of Telleria’s first solo show.
ARTIST: Angelica Mesiti
CURATOR: Juliana Engberg
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Since her early work with performance collective The King Pins, Angelica has developed a sophisticated solo practice characterized by large-scale video works. She is known for using cinematic languages and performance to explore deeply personal stories of the individual and the collective, grappling with the complex dimensions of human experience.”
FUN FACT: To create one of her best-known videos, The Calling, Mesiti traveled to the far reaches of Turkey, Greece, and the Canary Islands to document an ancient whistling language that was once used to communicate across large expanses.
ARTIST: Renate Bertlmann
CURATOR: Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “The Austrian contribution for 2019 shall again be a starting point for a lively, internationally oriented discussion and certainly will clearly underline the worldwide presence and importance of Austria’s arts and culture.”
FUN FACT: Bertlmann’s performance Pregnant Bride With Collection Bag—in which she dressed up as a pregnant bride and asked onlookers to donate to the upkeep of an important relic, which turned out to be a sculpture of a dildo—was censored by the Centre Pompidou in 1979.
ARTIST: Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys
CURATOR: Anne-Claire Schmitz
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “I am convinced that this trio has all the qualities to grace our national pavilion with a project that, I hope, will give people the desire to discover the excellence of creation in the French Community and more broadly, in Belgium”
NEED TO KNOW: The duo were nominated for this years BelgianArtPrize, which was roundly protested for its lack of diverse nominees. All of the finalists for the were white men, and all of them withdrew their names from contention for the Prize.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
ARTIST: Danica Dakić
CURATOR: Anja Bogojević, Amila Puzić, and Claudia Zini
VENUE: Palazzo Ca’Bernardo, San Polo
NEED TO KNOW: The title of the show is “ZENICA TRILOGY” and is produced in collaboration with producer Amra Bakšić Čamo, composer Bojan Vuleti, and photographer Egbert Trogemann, and features protagonists from the cities of Zenica and Serajevo. The curators say, “Dakić investigates the heritage of modernity, from Bauhaus to the utopian paradigms of international and Yugoslav socialist modernism…In dialogue with the grand architecture of the lsited Palazzo Francesco Molon Ca’Bernardo exhibition venue, Zenica Trilogy will generate complex new meanings.”
ARTIST(S): Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca
CURATOR: Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: Of the artists, curator Perez-Barreiro said, “pointing to the way in which popular culture absorbs and interprets the images and phenomena of everyday life and the mass media, incorporating them to their own reality.”
ARTIST(S): Inuit artist collective Isuma, led by filmmakers Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn
CURATORS: Asinnajaq, Catherine Crowston, Barbara Fischer, Candice Hopkins, and Josée Drouin-Brisebois
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Isuma’s participation in Venice also marks the first presentation of art by Inuit [artists] in the Canada Pavilion. I am convinced that the international art world will be inspired by the insights that Kunuk and Cohn’s collaborative work will elicit at the next Venice Biennale.”
FUN FACT: The word “Isuma” means “to think, or a state of thoughtfulness” in Inuktitut. The group, founded in 1990, is Canada’s first Inuit video production company.
VENUE: Cantieri Navali, Castello, 40 (Calle Quintavalle)
ARTIST(S): David Bestué, Marcel Borràs, Albert Garcia-Alzórriz, Tiziano Schürch, Dolors Magallón
CURATOR: Pedro Azara
NEED TO KNOW: The artists participating in the show come from a diverse background of practices; David Bestué, Marcel Borràs, and Albert García-Alzórriz are visual artists who are joined by architect Tiziano Schürch, and documentary filmmaker Dolors Magallón, to create the project, titled Losing Your Head (Idols).
VENUE: Arsenale, Artiglierie
ARTIST(S): Voluspa Jarpa
CURATORS: Agustín Pérez Rubio
NEED TO KNOW: The project is called “Altered Views” and uses historical paintings and other artworks that the artist has recontextualized to demonstrate the hegemony of race, gender, and power.
VENUE: Associazione Culturale Spiazzi, Castello
ARTIST(S): Christoforos Savva
CURATOR: Jacopo Crivelli Visconti
FUN FACT: Cyprus is paying tribute to the late artist Christoforos Savva, who is notable not only for his varied practice and experiments with all sorts of materials, but also for his co-founding of the first independent cultural center of Cyprus, following its declaration of independence from Britain in 1960. Savva was also among the first artists to represent Cyprus when it first participated in the Biennale, back in 1968; to encapsulate all of these elements, the show is titled “Untimely, Again.”
ARTIST(S): Stanislav Kolíbal
CURATOR: Dieter Bogner
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “By selecting the project by Stanislav Kolíbal, the jury honors the outstanding pioneer of Czech avant-garde art and acknowledges his groundbreaking oeuvre which, spanning seven decades, speaks the fundamental language of both the late modern and contemporary times and keeps influencing young generations of artists. In doing so, the art of Kolíbal combines the formative past and the ambiguity of the present as well as it anticipates the unknown of the future.”
ARTIST(S): Larissa Sansour
CURATORS: Nat Muller
NEED TO KNOW: Sansour’s work engages with the contemporary conflict between Israel and Palestine, but is articulated in a surreal, futuristic world.
ARTIST: Kris Lemsalu
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “The jury was convinced by Lemsalu’s deep sense of place and her intention to create a whole piece of work from the pavilion area and its context.”
FUN FACT: During the 2015 edition of Frieze New York, Lemsalu memorably lay under a massive ceramic turtle shell at the booth of Temnikova & Kasela Gallery for up to four hours at a time.
ARTIST(S): Miracle Workers Collective
CURATOR: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “It is a great honor to work with… [the] collective of intelligent and diligent individuals that make up the Miracle Workers Collective in order to re-imagine the Finnish pavilion in Venice as a space of encounters and discourses, a space of negotiation and reconciliation, a space for frictions and rehabilitation, a space in which aesthetics and ethics co-exist.”
FUN FACT: The collective includes a broad range of creatives, including writer and filmmaker Hassan Blasim, choreographer Sonya Lindfors, artist and musician Leena Pukki, artist and activist Martta Tuomaala, cinematographer Christopher L Thomas, and storyteller Suvi West.
ARTIST(S): Laure Prouvost
CURATOR: Martha Kirszenbaum
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: Her international career is “a reflection of the dynamism of the French art scene.”
ARTIST(S): Anna K.E.
CURATORS: Margot Norton, a curator at the New Museum in NYC
NEED TO KNOW: The title of the pavilion’s project is “REARMIRRORVIEW, Simulation is Simulation, is Simulation, is Simulation…,”
ARTIST(S): Natascha Süder Happelmann (Natascha Sadr Haghighian)
CURATORS: Franciska Zólyom
FUN FACT: The politically-minded artist will be taking on the alias Natascha Süder Happelmann for the duration of the show—it is an amalgamation of misspellings of her real name, as generated through machines.
VENUE: Arsenale, Artiglierie
CURATOR: Nana Oforiatta Ayim
ARCHITECT: Sir David Adjaye OBE
FUN FACT: This is the first time Ghana is participating in the Biennale, and they’re pulling out all the stops with a multi-generational panel of big-name artists. The title, “Ghana Freedom” is taken from a 1957 song that debuted on the evening of the country’s independence from Britain.
ARTIST: Cathy Wilkes
CURATOR: Zoe Whitley
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: Cathy Wilkes “has built a considerable reputation for sculptural installations of profound and mysterious intensity, which often evoke interiors and places of loss.”
NEED TO KNOW: Wilkes’s melancholic sculptures, which were the subject of an exhibition at MoMA PS1 last year, bring together humble materials ranging from worn sheets to a tea-ringed saucer to a rotting jar of jam.
ARTIST: Panos Charalambous, Eva Stefani, and Zafos Xagoraris
CURATOR: Katerina Tselou
VENUE: Palazzo Albrizzi, Cannaregio
ARTIST: Billy Gerard Frank, Dave Lewis, Shevone Neckles, Amy Cannestra
CURATOR: Daniele Radini Tedeschi
FUN FACT: The exhibition is titled “Epic Memory,” a quote excerpted from Derek Walcott’s acceptance speech as a Nobel Laureate.
ARTIST(S): Shirley Tse
CURATOR: Christina Li
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Together, M+ and HKADC continue to make important contributions to the global visibility and resonance of Hong Kong artists and curators, and deepen our commitment to the arts in Hong Kong. Moreover, I am particularly pleased with the selection of a female artist to represent Hong Kong in Venice in 2019.”
FUN FACT: Tse spent much of her career working only with “synthetic polymer,” or plastic, materials. “I really wanted to address what kind of world we live in and I think that objects such as Styrofoam, or bubble wrap, have a huge significance in our world, because they are objects that are used in transportation, packing, as well as many other ways in the 21st century,” she has said.
ARTIST: Tamás Waliczky
CURATOR: Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák
CURATOR: Birta Guðjónsdóttir
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: Shoplifter was chosen out of 17 entrants, and upon receiving the designation she told the Icelandic Art Centre: “I’m going to make it so that when you enter the pavilion, a large space, you’ll never see the inside of the building. You’ll be surrounded by hair, it’s going to be a cave of hair stalactites.”
FUN FACT: The artist known as Shoplifter uses fluorescent hair to build sculptures and installations that look a bit like magical, day-glo fungus. She also created the mask of hair that Björk sports on the cover of the album “Medúlla.”
ARTIST: Nandalal Bose, Atul Dodiya, GR Iranna, Rummana Hussain, Jitish Kallat, Shakuntala Kulkarni, and Ashim Purkayastha.
CURATOR: Roobina Karode of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art
DETAILS: The group exhibition will center around Mahatma Gandhi, an iconic figure that looms over both the international imagination, and India itself; this is a continuation of India’s year-long celebration “150 Years of Gandhi.” This is the first time India will be participating in 8 years.
ARTIST: Handiwirman Saputra and Syagini Ratna Wulan
CURATOR: Asmudjo Jono Irianto. Co-curator: Yacobus Ari Respati
VENUE: Ca’De Luca, Corte del Duca Sforza, San Marco
ARTIST: Serwan Baran
CURATOR: Tamara Chalabi, Paolo Colombo
NEED TO KNOW: This is the first time Iraq’s pavilion will be represented by a solo artist.
VENUE: Arsenale, Artiglierie
ARTIST(S): Eva Rothschild
CURATOR: Mary Cremin
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “The Venice Biennale serves as a global showcase for artists and offers a prominent platform for Eva Rothchild as the selected Irish artist to engage with international audiences, curators, and gallerists and increase international opportunities and awareness of our strong visual arts sector.”
FUN FACT: Inspired by the language of Minimalism, Rothschild creates sculptures and tableaux that play with proportion and shape. “The ideal way to look at art is to be permanently confused,” she has said.
ARTIST: Aya Ben Ron
CURATOR: Avi Lubin
NEED TO KNOW: The project is titled “Filed Hospital X,” and proposes an application of art as a force to combat social ills and corruption; it is based on an earlier video by Ben Ron titled No Body, based on domestic abuse.
ARTIST(S): Enrico David, Chiara Fumai, and Liliana Moro
CURATOR: Milovan Farronato
ARTIST(S): Motoyuki Shitamichi, Taro Yasuno, Toshiaki Ishikura, Fuminori Nousaku
CURATOR: Hiroyuki Hattori
FUN FACT: The project is titled “Cosmo-Eggs”
ARTIST(S): Hwayeon Nam, Siren Eun Young Jung, Jane Jin Kaisen
CURATOR: Hyunjin Kim
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: Details provided by the Arts Council Korea stated that the project will incorporate “women and gender-diversified narratives that interrupt, break away from, and reconstruct previous understandings of modernization in the region of East Asia.”
ARTIST(S): Lina Lapelyte, Vaiva Grainyte, and Rugile Barzdžiukaite
CURATOR: Lucia Pietroiusti
FUN FACT:The pavilion will feature a live opera-performance, which is a collaboration between artists working in film, writing, and performance.
ARTIST: Marco Godinho
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: Godinho’s representation of Luxembourg will lead to an “ambitious and unprecedented artistic project and widen his artistic field in the years to come.”
FUN FACT: Godinho’s work often touches on themes of immigration, including his 2012 installation Forever Immigrant. He used a bureaucratic stamp to print the titular phrase across a wall over and over, creating cloudlike forms.
VENUE: Arsenale, Artigliere
ARTIST: Joël Andrianomearisoa
CURATOR: Emmanuel Daydé, Rina Ralay-Ranaivo
VENUE: Arsenale, Artiglierie
ARTIST(S): Vince Briffa, Klitsa Antoniou, Trevor Borg
CURATOR: Hesperia Iliadou
DETAILS: The title of the curatorial project is “Maleth / Haven / Port – Heterotopias of Evocation,” and focuses on the notion of Malta as an island as a cultural epicenter within the Mediterranean Sea, and the ongoing quest to find a haven, or port.
ARTIST: Pablo Vargas Lugo
CURATOR: Magalí Arriola
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: Vargas Lugo’s project is titled “God’s Actions,” and through representations of memory and history will “lead spectators beyond the limits and frontiers of knowledge by exploring those links that connect our social spaces with their cultural representations.” The work will use four perspectives introduced in the Gospels as a starting point for posing questions about faith, political discourse, and the social imagination.
CURATOR: Benno Temple
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “The three artists that will be presented have adopted an alternative approach towards identity and what binds us…They embrace being in flux. This seems not only a fruitful attitude for artists but also an example for a new approach to the discussions that currently dominates our society.”
FUN FACT: Jungerman will create new work that fuses the modernism of De Stijl with the history of Suriname, while Kensmil will create portraits of black utopias through a collaboration with the Black Archives, an archive dedicated to the history of black Dutch people.
ARTIST(S): Dane Mitchell
CURATOR: Zara Stanhope and Chris Sharp
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Dane’s response to ‘space’ will push the boundaries of what’s expected of an exhibition at the Biennale Arte—continuing New Zealand’s legacy of being an innovative country with a great diversity of arts practice.”
NEED TO KNOW: Mitchell attracted controversy in 2009 when he won a $15,000 art award for Collateral, an installation that comprised nothing but the discarded packaging from the other works submitted to the competition.
ARTIST(S): Artist duo Maria Teeri & Janne Nabb aka nabbteeri from Finland; Ane Graff from Norway; Ingela Ihrman from Sweden. The title of the collective project is “Weather Report: Forecasting Future.”
CURATOR: Leevi Haapala, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and curator Piia Oksanen.
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Human actions have led to significant changes in the environment and the climate of the whole planet, climate being the common environment of all terrestrial ecosystems. The featured artists examine the complex interrelations between humanity and nature all aware of climate sensitivity and the inherent unpredictability in forecasting.”
ARTIST: Cristian Bendayán
CURATOR: Gustavo Buntinx
DETAILS: Bendayán is a painter and photographer whose colorful works show the daily life and culture within the Amazonian region. Instead of idealizing the tropical jungle as an exotic locale where savages hold court, the artist offers a unique perspective on the accessibility of individuals lives, and probes common themes.
CURATOR: Tessa Maria Guazon
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “From social realist leanings to magical realist strains, his practice has evolved and grown into multi-media configurations that seek to explore the nature and reality of perception.”
FUN FACT: Justiniani has been representing the Philippines since 1992; his work incorporates themes of mass media, memory, and the impact of history on contemporary culture through installation and multi-media works.
ARTIST: Roman Stańczak
CURATOR: Łukasz Mojsak, Łukasz Ronduda
DETAILS: The Warsaw-based artist will be showing a new sculpture titled Flight, which consists of an airplane turned inside-out, so that it is only vaguely identifiable by its shape.
ARTIST: Bleu-Simion Fainaru, Dan Mihaltianu, and Miklós Onucsán
CURATOR: Cristian Nae
DETAILS: The project is called “Unfinished Conversations on the Weight of Absence,” and revisits installations and sculptures that the three artists made earlier in their careers, when much of Eastern Europe was still in the midst of communist rule. The evolution of the artists and their experiences around the world will add a new dimension to the works.
CURATOR: St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum
FUN FACT: This is the first time an institution is taking the curatorial reigns for a national pavilion, and the title is “Lc. 15: 11-32″—a reference to the Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke.
ARTIST(S): Charlotte Prodger
CURATOR: Linsey Young with Cove Park
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Charlotte is a remarkable artist who is making important and compelling work that resonates with audiences nationally and internationally.”
FUN FACT: Prodger, whose films meditate on identity, history, landscape, and queerness, shoots much of her footage on an iPhone.
ARTIST: Song-Ming Ang
CURATOR: Michelle Ho
FUN FACT: Ang’s practice is centered on music, and how it brings people together from various cultures and backgrounds. The pavilion will be called “Music for Everyone: Variations on a Theme,” and will include a selection of new and archival works.
ARTIST(S): Marko Peljhan
CURATOR: Igor Španjol
FUN FACT: Peljhan’s work fusing art and science is so advanced that we think the best way to give you a taste is to quote directly from his official bio: “Marko has also been the flight director of ten parabolic experimental flights in collaboration with the Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research initiative and the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, creating conditions for artists to work in alternating gravity conditions.”
ARTIST(S): Itziar Okariz and Sergio Prego
CURATOR: Peio Aguirre
FUN FACT: Both Okariz and Prego are Basque artists, and their project will focus on the “political economy of the body.”
ARTIST(S): Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz
CURATOR: Charlotte Laubard
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Challenging notions of gender, Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz question the norms that govern our representations and our life in society. What lends their work such force is that it moves beyond mere criticism or deconstruction.”
FUN FACT: The duo, a favorite of the biennale circuit, often revisit and reconsider historical moments in their films. In a recent project on view on the High Line, Silent, the musician Aérea Negrot performs John Cage’s score 4’33” in the center of Oranienplatz in Berlin, which was home to a refugee protest camp from 2012 to 2014.
VENUE: Palazzo delle Prigioni, near Palazzo San Marco
ARTIST(S): Shu Lea Cheang
CURATOR: Paul B. Preciado
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “In recent years Taiwanese artists and art institutions have elevated their participation in the global art community, generating a more refined and complex network of connections. For this reason, the nominating committee employed a greater level of strategic thinking, coloring their artist recommendations with stronger overtones of global strategy. Shu Lea Cheang, a pioneer of net art, not only in Taiwan but around the world, emerged as the first choice.”
FUN FACT: Cheang’s web artwork BRANDON (1998–1999) was the first web-based artwork commissioned and collected by the Guggenheim Museum.
ARTIST(S): İnci Eviner
CURATOR: Zeynep Öz
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Eviner explores the formation of subjectivity, and her work touches on the workings of power and the politics of representation, especially with regards to the female body. The complex set of relations that Eviner forms between video technologies and painting tradition proposes a different kind of perception.”
FUN FACT: In her 2009 film Harem, Eviner, one of Turkey’s most influential artists, took inspiration from 19th-century engravings by a German artist who was invited by Sultan Selim the Third to chronicle the court of Constantinople. Eviner replaced the original figures with animations of women performing repetitive, mundane tasks.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
ARTIST: Poet and filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem
CURATORS: Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “Through their extensive professional experience in the region, Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath have already contributed to the nuanced conversations defining the UAE’s contemporary art scene. We look forward to sharing their unique perspective with the Biennale’s global audiences through an engaging, creative and insightful exhibition.”
ARTIST(S): Martin Puryear
CURATOR: Brooke Kamin Rapaport
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS SAY: “For more than five decades, Puryear has created a body of work distinguished by a complex visual vocabulary and deeply-considered meaning.”
FUN FACT: The exhibition is being sponsored by the Madison Park Conservancy; this is the first time that a public art institution is in charge of curating the event, and comes on the heels of Puryear’s Bling Ring installation in Madison Square Park.
ARTIST: Yamandú Canosa
CURATOR: David Armengol, Patricia Bentancur
DETAILS: Canosa explores the limits and possibilities of representing landscape, by pushing the horizon line to a literal new dimension, creating compositions in three-dimensions.
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