Venice Biennale 2022: Here Are All the Artists Confirmed to Represent Their Countries at the Event (So Far) [Updated]
Keep checking back for updates as we get closer to the art-world Olympics.
The influx of emails announcing which artists are representing their respective countries at the 2022 Venice Biennale has been a steady trickle since at least 2019, when the previous edition closed, and has carried on through 2020 now that the so-called “art world Olympics” has been delayed another year due to the global pandemic. The 59th edition of the show, which will be under the direction of High Line chief curator Cecilia Alemani, will run in Venice from April 23 through November 27. The title of the show is “The Milk of Dreams,” a name taken from Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington’s absurdist book initially published in the 1950s and released in English in 2017.
We will keep updating this list as more nations announce their artists, curators, themes, and venues.
Artist: Lumturi Blloshmi
Curator: Adela Demetja
What to know: Blloshmi died in 2020 from complications due to COVID-19, and curator Adela Demetja, who founded the Tirana Lab Center for Contemporary Art in 2010, will select around 10 works by the late artist to show at the Biennale. In April, a documentary film about the artist produced will be released along with a digital archive of her work to coincide with the show’s opening. The artist is renowned for her performance-activated installations, which incorporate photography and sculpture along with “hints of painting.”
ArgentinaArtist: Mónica Heller
Curator: Alejo Ponce de León
What to know: For the first time, the Argentinian pavilion will be the venue for a video installation, courtesy of artist Mónica Heller. The Buenos Aires-born artist has focused on 3D animations for most of the past 15 years, peppering her installations with fantastical paintings.
Artist: Andrius Arutiunian
Curator: Anne Davidian, Elena Sorokina
Venue: Castello 2125, Campo Tana, Venezia (in front of Arsenale’s main entrance)
What to know: Armenian-Lithuanian born Andrius Arutiunian is a sound artist based in The Hague whose work focuses on hybrid media including found audio, new technologies, and displaced sound and music.
Artist: Marco Fusinato
Curator: Alexie Glass-Kantor
Fun Fact: Fusinato, a Melbourne native, amplifies sensory experiences by blurring the boundaries between music, sound, and visual art. In a work shown at the Syndey Biennial, he invited visitors to thwack a baseball bat at a plaster wall. The sound of bat-on-wall was amplified by hidden microphones the artist attached to a sound system, turning it up to 11.
Artists: Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl
Curator: Karola Kraus, director of the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
Fun Fact: Kraus has said that the installation will “lack neither humor nor satire,” something visitors have come to expect in the work of the artists, who frequently collaborate. The work will include a multitude of materials including photographs, paintings, video and audio works, and holograms meant to destabilize “conventional ideas of museum presentations.”
Knebl worked as a geriatric caretaker for a decade before turning to visual art, anf has since collaborated with the likes of Raf Simons at the University of Applied Arts. Scheirl has worked in experimental film, but more recent projects have focused on painting.
Artists: Narmin Israfilova, Infinity, Ramina Saadatkhan, Fidan Novruzova, Fidan Akhundova, Sabiha Khankishiyeva, and Agdes Baghirzade
Curator: Emin Mammadov
Venue: Procuratie Vecchie San Marco 153/a/139
Artists: Jamal Uddin Ahmed, Mohammad Iqbal, Harun-Ar-Rashid, Sumon Wahed, Promity Hossain, Mohammad Eunus, Marco Cassara, Franco Marrocco, Giuseppe Diego Spinelli
Curator: Viviana Vannucci
Venue: Palazzo Rossini, San Marco 4013
Artist: Francis Alÿs
Curator: Hilde Teerlinck
What to Know: Alÿs, whose films and installations have appeared at past biennales, in 1999, 2001, 2007, and 2017, will return to represent Belgium with a new work that continues his 2017 video Children’s Games #19: Haram Soccer, which focused on children who, under the rule of the Islamic State, were banned from participating in the sport, but continued playing nonetheless.
BrazilArtist: Jonathas de Andrade
Curators: Jacopo Crivelli Visconti; José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
What to know: Jonathas de Andrade works in film, photography, installation, and sculpture, often addressing power dynamics within society, and how institutions affect the individual. His work often responds directly to the geography and culture of Recife, Brazil, where he lives and works.
Artist: Michail Michailov
Curator: Irina Batkova
Venue: Spazio Ravà, San Polo 1100
Artist: Francis Nathan Abiamba (Afran), Angele Etoundi Essamba, Justine Gaga,Salifou Lindou, Shay Frisch, Umberto Mariani, Matteo Mezzadri, Jorge R. Pombo, NFT (Kevin Abosch, Joao Angelini, Marco Bertin [Berxit], Cryptoart Driver, Lana Denina, Alberto Echegaray Guevara, Genesis People, Joachim Hildebrand, Meng Huang, Eduardo Kac, Giulia Kosice, Julio Le Parc, Marina Nunez, Miguel Soler-Roig, Miguel Angel Vidal, Burkhard von Harder, Gabe Weis, Clark Winter, Shavonne Wong, Wang Xing, Alessandro Zannier, ZZH)
Curator: Paul Emmanuel Loga Mahop, Sandro Orlandi Stagl
Venue: Liceo Artistico Guggenheim San Polo 2186 and Palazzo San Bernardo San Polo 2186
What to Know: Cameroon’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale marks the introduction of NFTs to the global stage. The focus on the new technology “represents a possible way out and development for the young Cameroon generations, exploring the emerging world of NFTs in an international key,” pavilion co-curator Sandro Orlandi Stagl said in a statement.
Artist: Stan Douglas
Fun Fact: The Vancouver-based artist creates multimedia installations that blend fact and fiction, often with diverging narratives that propose alternate realities. Douglas has shown at the Venice Biennale multiple times, though this is the first time he’s representing his home country.
Artist: Lara Fluxà
Curator: Oriol Fontdevila
What to Know: Fluxà will present work for a project titled Llim (Silt), which explores ideas ranging from Donna Haraway’s notion of situated knowledge to the physical substance of environments, particularly in Venice and its surrounding canals.
Artist: Ariel Bustamante, Carla Macchiavello, Alfredo Thiermann, and Dominga Sotomayor
Curator: Camila Marambio
Venue: Sale d’Armi of the Arsenale
What to Know: For the Chilean pavilion, a group of artists will present work under the title “Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol,” which translates to “heart of the peatlands.” The phrase which is in the language of the indigenous Selk’nam people, from Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia, references the peat bogs that are at the heart of the land, and how they are affected by the climate crisis. The project will take the shape of an immersive experience that “is rooted in the material and ancestral experience of the Patagonian peat bogs, encompassing a large multi-sensory installation and a scientific experiment.”
Artists: Liu Jiayu, Wang Yuyang, Xu Lei, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Institute of Sci-Tech Arts and Tsinghua Laboratory of Brain and Intelligence (TLBI) Group Project
Curator: Zhang Zikang
Artist: Tomo Savic-Gecan
Curator: Elena Filipovic
Venue: Various locations
What to Know: Tomo Savic-Gecan, a conceptual artist who often exhibits “nothing,” will entirely do away with Croatia’s physical pavilion. Instead, he will feed AI with a randomly selected news story from a random source, and an AI algorithm will interpret it and feed out specific locations, duration, and movement patterns to five performers who will act them out around Venice. The subtle yet poignant conceptual performance piece will occur four times a day across the entire seven months of the biennale.
Artists: Rafael Villares, Kcho, and Giuseppe Stampone
Curator: Nelson Ramírez de Arellano Conde
Venue: Isola di San Servolo
What to Know: Villares, one of the country’s most notable emerging artists, has participated in the Havana Biennial and the Vancouver Biennial with work that focuses on nature.
Artist: Uffe Isolotto
Curator: Jacob Lillemose
What to know: The Copenhagen-based artist, who changed his last name from Holm to the Italian word Isolotto (meaning “island” in English), was chosen from 190 artists to represent Denmark. Isolotto co-founded the artist-run space Toves Galleri (2010–17) and now runs the platform Age of Aquarius with curator and director Nanna Starck. The artist’s work stands at the intersection between physical and digital relationships.
Artist: Mohamed Shoukry, Weaam El Masry, Ahmed El Shaer
Curator: Heba Youssef, Mohamed Shoukry
What to Know: Shoukry, El Masry, and El Shaer are among the most prominent contemporary artists working in Egypt today. All three work in different media, ranging from photography to painting and animation.
Artists: Kristina Norman and Bita Razavi, based on the story and works of Emilie Rosalie Saal
Curator: Corina Apostol
Venue: Pavilion of the Netherlands, Giardini
What to Know: For the 2022 event, Estonia is taking over the Dutch pavilion thanks to an invitation from the Mondriaan Fund. Norman and Razavi’s project is titled “Orchidelerium: An Appetite for Abundance,” and is based on the works of artist Emilie Rosale Saal (1871-1954).
Artist: Pilvi Takala
Curator: Christina Li
Fun Fact: Takala, who was born in Helsinki, creates video works based on interventions she creates for both mainstream public and private institutions alike. In The Stroker, Takala took on the role of a “wellness consultant” at a popular co-working space in East London, where she was employed to “provide touching services in the workplace.” The reactions of workers ranged from obvious discomfort to grudging acceptance of the atypical intimacy of strangers.
Artist: Zineb Sedira
Curators: Yasmina Reggad and artReoriented (Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath)
Fun Fact: Sedira is the first artist of Algerian descent to represent France at the Venice Biennale. Born in Paris, the artist’s work draws largely on her experiences as the daughter of Algerian immigrants and raising a child in London’s multicultural Brixton neighborhood. In works such as Mother Tongue (2002), the artist acted as an interpreter as she, her daughter, and her mother attempted to speak to one another in their native languages.
Artist: Maria Eichhorn
Curator: Yilmaz Dziewior
What to Know: Berlin-based artist Maria Eichhorn is best known for work that addresses institutional power structures, blending academic studies with playful humor. “The German Pavilion is symbolically charged and presents a challenge to artists on several very different levels,” Eichhorn said in a conversation with curator Yilmaz Dziewior. “With every attempt at deconstruction you’re confronted with that fact, but it also makes it fun.”
Artist: Na Chainkua Reindorf, Afroscope, and Diego Araúja
Curator: Nana Oforiatta Ayim
What to Know: Ghana is returning to Venice after its highly acclaimed debut at the Biennale Arte 2019. The group exhibition “Black Star – The Museum as Freedom” will consider Ghana through the symbol of the black star, which represents the connection of Africa with its diasporas.
Artist: Sonia Boyce
Fun Fact: Boyce is the first Black woman chosen to represent Britain in Venice. She said of the news, “you could have knocked me down with a feather when I got the call.” The artist is a professor at the University of the Arts in London and rose to prominence in the 1980s with work that interpreted personal and social relationships through the lenses of race, gender, and class.
Artist: Loukia Alavanou
Curator: Heinz Peter Schwerfel
What to Know: Filmmaker Loukia Alavanou presents a 15-minute VR film that takes on the subject of an ancient Sophocles drama set in a shantytown and narrated by an offscreen chorus. In the story, Oedipus is cast off from Thebes, and decides to end his days on Colonus, defying the gods. The presentation is intended as an allegory of the contemporary struggles of the Roma people, who live a nomadic life without official citizenship.
Artists: Cypher Art Collective of Grenada: Oliver Benoit, Billy Gerard Frank, Ian Friday, Asher Mains, Susan Mains, Angus Martin, Samuel Ogilvie, Giancarlo Flati, Identity Collective, Anna Maria Li Gotti, Nino Perrone, Rossella Pezzino de Geronimo, Marialuisa Tadei
Curator: Daniele Radini Tedeschi
Venue: Il Giardino Bianco Art SpaceVia Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1814
What to Know: The Cypher Art Collective of Grenada was born from the pandemic, when a group of artists got together in an effort to streamline the open-call process for applications to represent Grenada. The disparate group of artists is now planning to continue working together even after the Biennale, to “explore other aspects of Caribbean culture to share with the world.”
Artist: Christian Escobar “Chrispapita”
Venue: SPUMA – Space For The Arts Giudecca 800/R
What to Know: Artist Christian Escobar was trained as a dentist before committing himself to fine art. He is self-taught, and said his interest in hyperrealistic painting stems from research he began on the influence of lighting on color selection in odontology.
Artist: Angela Su
Curator: Freya Chou
Venue: Campo della Tana, Arsenale, Castello 2126
What to Know: Su has the distinction of being the first female artist to represent Hong Kong with a solo exhibition at the international event, which comes on the heels of years of tumult and protests over China’s growing clampdown on the region. Su’s work spans drawings and documentary work, that owes much to her academic pursuits in biochemistry. Her scientific background merges with an interest in social constructs to create unnerving works.
Artist: Zsófia Keresztes
Curator: Mónika Zsikla
What to Know: The project for the Hungarian pavilion is mysteriously titled “After Dreams, I Dare to Defy the Damages,” and may well feature the pastel, biomorphic sculptures that Keresztes is known for. The artist’s interest in the overlapping realms of reality and virtual reality are expressed through the use of a mosaic style descried as “pixels,” which nod to internet culture, while existing firmly in the physicality of her works.
Artist: Sigurður Guðjónsson
Fun Fact: The Helsinki-born artist began his career working in experimental artist-run venues in Reykjavik with self-described “dark and hypnotically moody videos” that engage the viewer’s senses, challenging the links between vision and hearing. The artist often collaborates with musicians, and his most recent work, titled Enigma, was created in partnership with composer Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. The work has been performed around the world by the SpektralQuartet group, accompanied by a video inspired by the view of fragmented coal seen through an electron microscope.
Artist: Niamh O’Malley
Curator: Clíodhna Shaffrey and Michael Hill
What to Know: O’Malley’s sculpture and video works are marked by a quiet minimalism that is in part related to Irish landscape painting. The materials she chooses, such as glass, change based on the time of day, or how people interact with it. A description of her work on the Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin website reads: “Her moving image works deliberately mark the observational tone or document of the film as subjective and delimited. The partial or the glimpse can be enough.”
Artist: Ilit Azoulay
Curator: Shelley Harten
What to Know: Ilit Azoulay will present her new project Queendom, curated by Shelley Harten, who is the curator for contemporary and modern art at Berlin’s Jewish Museum, where the artist also lives. The project will address questions of cultural appropriation, the sovereignty of art, and transregional histories via large-scale panoramic photomontages and a sound installation.
Artist: Gian Maria Tosatti
Curator: Eugenio Viola
What to Know: The Italian pavilion will focus on the state of the country in 2022, following years of myriad difficulties including the debilitating pandemic, which hit Italy particularly hard, as well as a rash of climate change-induced issues like historic flooding. The show will “propose a reflection on these urgencies,” according to curator Eguenio Viola, “suggesting keys to interpretation and above all to resolution and redemption.”
Artist: Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Abdoulaye Diarrassouba dit Aboudia, Armand Boua, Saint Etienne Yéanzi dit Yeanzi, Laetitia Ky, and Aron Demetz
Curator: Massimo Scaringella, Alessandro Romanini
Venue: Magazzino del Sale 3, Dorsoduro 264
Artist: ORTA collective (Alexandra Morozova, Rusten Begenov, Darya Jumelya, Alexander Bakanov, Sabina Kuangali)
Venue: Spazio Arco, Dorsoduro 1485
What to Know: The inaugural Kazakh pavilion presentation in 2019 was canceled two months before it was set to open over allegations of corruption. This year, the organizers opted to do without government funding, and hope to use the event as a way to “promote the exciting creative scene” in the country.
Artist: Dumb Type (Shiro Takatani, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ken Furudate, Satoshi Hama, Ryo Shiraki, Marihiko Hara, Yoko Takatani)
Curator: Organized by the Japan Foundation
What to know: The Japanese art collective Dumb Type was founded in 1984 and comprises artists working across video, computer programming, music, dance, and visual arts. The non-hierarchical group addresses themes of individual and society through gender, race, AIDS activism, and information society. Its work at the Biennale will focus on “post-truth” and “how we understand, live, and die in such times.”
Artist: Jakup Ferri
Curator: Inke Arns
What to Know: Jakup Ferri’s paintings, tapestries, and woven rugs incorporate images of bodies in motion, as children, athletes, animals, and musicians populate the colorful hand-woven carpets.
Artist: Skuja Braden (Ingūna Skuja and Melissa D. Braden)
Curator: Solvita Krese, Andra Silapētere
What to Know: The artist duo Skuja Braden, which was formed in 1999, creates painted porcelain sculptures depicting human and animal forms that touch on philosophy and politics, often drawing inspiration from Buddhist texts. In their Venice presentation, the artists use the idea of a house as an organizing principle, with different rooms representing different aspects of private and public life.
Artists: Ayman Baalbaki, Danielle Arbid
Curator: Nada Ghandour
What to Know: Curator Nada Ghandour is using the capital city of Beirut and its rich cultural heritage as a microcosm to capture the “chaos and beauty” of the country as a whole.
Artist: Robertas Narkus
Curator: Neringa Bumblienė
Venue: Castello 3200 and 3206, Campo de le Gate
Artist: Tina Gillen
Venue: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi
What to Know: Brussels-based Gillen’s project is titled “Faraway So Close,” which is described as a sort of tableau vivant that is “a reflection on the relations between the inner space and the outer world and will take shape within a specific scenography device inspired by cinematographic sets.” The artist will create a suite of new paintings to accompany the installation.
Artists: Arcangelo Sassolino, Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci, and Brian Schembri
Curator: Keith Sciberras, Jeffrey Uslip
What to Know: According to a press statement, the artists, brothers Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci and Brian Schembri along with Arcangelo Sassolino, will create a work that revisits Caravaggio’s 17th-century painting The Beheading of St. John the Baptist (1608). The piece will draw on a long history of exchange between Malta and Italy, and “address global challenges such as inequality, justice, and peace.”
Artists: Mariana Castillo Deball, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Fernando Palma Rodríguez, Santiago Borja Charles
Curator: Catalina Lozano, Mauricio Marcín
Artist: Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav
Curator: Gantuya Badamgarav
Venue: Castello 2131
Artists: Dante Buu, Lidija Delić & Ivan Šuković, Darko Vučković, Jelena Tomašević, Art Collection of Non-Aligned Countries (Zuzana Chalupova, René Portocarrero, anonymous author from Iraq, and Bernard Matemera)
Curator: Natalija Vujošević
Venue: Palazzo Malipiero, San Marco 3078-3079/A, Ramo Malipiero
Artist: Tsherin Sherpa
Curator: Sheelasha Rajbhandari and Hit Man Gurung
Venue: Sant’Anna Project Space One
What to Know: For its inaugural presentation at the Venice Biennale, Nepal is presenting the work of Tsherin Sherpa, one of the country’s best-known contemporary artists, who will work with other artists to “draw upon materials from a shared history and incorporate accounts encoded in oral cultures, woven languages, and quotidian rituals to implicate an intersectional and intertwined past that problematizes contradictory conceptualizations of Nepal as well as the broader Himalayan region.”
Artist: Melanie Bonajo
Curators: Maaike Gouwenberg, Geir Haraldseth, and Soraya Pol
Venue: Chiesetta della Misericordia, Campo dell’Abbazia 3550, Cannaregio
Fun Fact: Bonajo creates lush videos, photography installations, and performances heavily influenced by the concept of the divine. A self-proclaimed eco-feminist, her works explore body politics, equality, and community, and particularly the ways these issues are impacted by technological advances and an increased sense of alienation. With colorful images, the artist probes how the millennial generation’s relationships with nature, domesticity, and identity have evolved.
Artist: Shigeyuki (Yuki) Kihara
Curator: Natalie King
Fun Fact: The Samoan and Japanese artist Yuki Kihara’s work explores the historic and contemporary representation of Pacific societies. One of their best known works is the photographic series “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” (2013), named after one of Paul Gaugin’s most famous paintings of Tahiti.
The series is based on staged postcards of the South Seas, in which they untangle the myth of a Pacific paradise by posing as a 19th-century Samoan woman posed at sites around Samoa in the aftermath of the devastating 2009 tsunami and 2012 cyclone.
Artist: Robert Jankuloski
Curator: Ana Frangovska
Artists: Anwar Sonya, Hassan Meer, Budoor Al Riyami, and Radhika Khimji, Raiya Al Rawahi
Curator: Aisha Stoby
What to know: This is the inaugural presentation of the Sultanate of Oman at the Venice Biennale, and will include the work of five artists from the past 50 years. Anwar Sonya, considered the “godfather” of Modern art in Oman, works primarily in painting; Hassan Meer, founder of the art collective Circle Group, works in video and photography, as does Budoor Al Riyami; Radhika Khimji works with textiles and sculpture; and works by the late artist Raiya Al Rawahi in sound installation will also be on display.
Artist: Herbert Rodríguez
Curator: Jorge Villarcorta
Nordic Pavilion – Sámi Pavilion
Sámi Artists: Pauliina Feodoroff, Máret Ánne Sara, Anders Sunna
Curator: Liisa-Rávná Finbog, Beaska Niillas, Katya García-Antón
What to Know: The Nordic Pavilion is recast as the Sámi Pavilion this year to honor the Indigenous artists whose work will fill the exhibition space. Curator Katya García-Antón said “At this pivotal moment, it is vital to consider Indigenous ways of relating to the environment and to each other.”
Artist: Gerardo Tan, Felicidad Prudente, and Sammy Buhle
Curator: Yael Buencamino Borromeo, Arvin Jason Flores
What to Know: The exhibition, titled “All of us present, This is our gathering / Andi taku e sana, Amung taku di sana,” is inspired by the tradition of sogna, “sung extemporaneously to express the self to participants of a gathering,” which is often part of Madukayan events. Gerardo Tan is a multimedia artist whose work often responds to naturally occurring patterns, along with painterly interventions. For the Venice Biennale, he will collaborate with musicologist Felicidad Prudente and weaver Sammy Buhle.
PolandArtist: Małgorzata Mirga-Tas
Curators: Wojciech Szymański and Joanna Warsza; National Gallery of Art, Warsaw
What to know: Mirga-Tas’s work was selected for its “unusually attractive visual form” and for “proposing a new narrative” about “the constant migration of images and mutual influences between Roma, Polish and European cultures,” according to curators. The artist incorporates clothing worn by relatives and community members and focuses in part on scenes of domestic tranquility made possible by the strength of women like her mother and grandmother, who survived atrocities in Poland.
Artist: Pedro Neves Marques
Curator: João Mourão and Luís Silva; Direção-Geral das Artes
Venue: Palazzo Franchetti
What to know: Lisbon-born, New York-based artist Pedro Neves Marques makes films that collapse the boundaries between fiction and reality, touching on politics, gender, environment, and technology.
Artist: Adina Pintilie
Curator: Cosmin Costinas and Viktor Neumann
Venue: Giardini & New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and HUmanistic Research
Update: On February 27, the curator and artists withdrew from the Russian Pavilion, declaring: “There is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles, when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters when Russian protesters are getting silenced.” We leave the below infomation as a matter of record keeping.
Artists: Kirill Savchenkov and Alexandra Sukhareva
Curator: Raimundas Malašauskas
What to Know: Curator Raimundas Malašauskas says Kirill Savchenkov’s and Alexandra Sukhareva’s presentation is an attempt to address the complexity of our times. The pair’s presentation will evoke a transition from one state to another one, a twisted flow between future and past, and a suspended division between dead and alive.
Artists: Elisa Cantarelli, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Roberto Paci Dalò, Endless, Michelangelo Galliani, Rosa Mundi, Mouna Rebeiz, Anne-Cécile Surga, Michele Tombolini
Curator: Vincenzo Rotondo
Venue: Palazzo Donà Dalle Rose, Fondamenta Nove Cannaregio 5038 and Chiesa anglicana di San Giorgio, Campo San Voi, Dorsoduro 729/A
Artist: Muhannad Shono
Curator: Reem Fadda
Artist: Marijana Kolarić
Curator: Biljana Ćirić
Artist: Alberta Whittle
Curator: Glasgow International
Venue: Arsenale Docks, San Pietro di Castello
What to Know: Whittle, who is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, explores themes of colonialism, xenophobia, health inequalities, and climate change. Her works span film, installation, performance, and sculpture. “With so many urgent conversations on health, grief, refusal, race, and healing at the forefront of my mind, now is the moment to ask questions about how we can unlearn and be more actively reflective on a personal level as well as collectively,” she has said.
Artist: Shubigi Rao
Curator: Ute Meta Bauer
Venue: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi
What to Know: Rao, who is the current curator of the upcoming Kochi-Muziris Biennale, is best known for her layered installations that question systems of knowledge and power, especially as they are codified and disseminated. Per the artist’s own words, she is interested in “creating archaeological archives of garbage, writing ‘How To’ manuals for building a nation and a culture from scratch, discovering and diagnosing peculiar forms of urban malaise where digital dandruff and pixel dust accumulate like lint and cloud the contemporary brain, building immortal jellyfish, to pseudo-museums regenerating mechanisms of knowledge accumulation, storage, and destruction.”
Artist: Marko Jakše
Curator: Robert Simonišek
Artists: Roger Ballen, Lebohang Kganye, and Phumulani Ntuli
Curator: Amè Bell
What to Know: The South African presentation is organized under the theme “Into the Light,” a nod to both the isolation and separation imposed by the global pandemic and the benefits of solitude for creativity. Dr. Roger Ballen is a photographer who developed his own technique of coating and backlighting glass; Lebohang Kganye, who casts herself in the role of traditional Western fairy tales set in her native township; and Phumulani Ntuli, who employs self-portraiture incorporated in stop-motion animation. “Just as our featured artists have undertaken their own journeys of discovery in search of artistic truth and reimagined self-identity, we want to encourage visitors to our stand to embark on their own similar journeys. Through the creative use of lighting, dressing, and exhibition stand design, we aim to inspire and draw visitors into exploring unknown realms,” said curator Amé Bell.
Artist: Yunchul Kim
Curator: Youngchul Lee
What to Know: The title of South Korea’s pavilion, “Gyre,” is “a metaphor for the current swirling state of confusion the world is in,” according to artist Yunchul Kim. “A circle is a closed curve,” but “a gyre is open-ended in both directions.”
Artist: Ignasi Aballí
Curator: Beatriz Espejo
What to Know: The title of Aballi’s exhibition, “Corrección,” will take the form of a maze-like architectural installation “with impossible, absurd and unimaginable spaces, through which at some points it will not be possible to go through and at others, the openings, the corridors and all the rooms will change; it will be seen in a way that has never been seen,” according to the artist.
Artist: Latifa Echakhch in collaboration with composer Alexandre Babel
Curator: Francesco Stocchi
What to Know: The Moroccan-born artist currently lives in Switzerland and has been racking up international accolades and prizes, including the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2013. Echakhch’s work deconstructs symbols and objects inherently linked to specific cultures and places to upend the viewer’s assumptions.
Syrian Arab Republic
Artists: Saousan Al Zubi, Ismael Nasra, Adnan Hamideh, Omran Younis, Aksam Tallaa, Giuseppe Amadio, Marcello Lo Giudice, Lorenzo Puglisi
Curator: Emad Kashout
Venue: Isola di San Servolo
Curator: Patrick Flores; Taipei Fine Arts Museum
Venue: Palazzo delle Prigioni
What to know: Artist Sakuliu Pavavaljung was chosen to represent Taiwan at the international art event, but organizers pulled the artist from the show after he was accused of sexual assault. Although no charges have been filed, prosecutors are investigating, and the removal of Pavavaljung comes shortly after Documenta suspended the artist’s participation in the Kassel-based event.
Artist: Füsun Onur
Curator: Bige Örer
Venue: Arsenale, Sale d’Armi
What to Know: Istanbul-based Onur is a Turkish modernist who “explores the fundamental orientations of conceptual art through her own poetry. The installations of Füsun Onur stand out with their ability to erase the universally defined boundaries such as identity, culture and language, and to linger as a musical note in living beings, regardless of place and space.”
Artists: Acaye Elizabeth Pamala Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo
Curator: Shaheen Merali
Venue: Palazzo Palumbo Fossati San Marco 2597
Artist: Pavlo Makov
Curator: Lizaveta German, Maria Lanko, Borys Filonenko
United Arab Emirates
Artist: Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim
Curator: Maya Allison; Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation
What to know: The project for the UAE pavilion features a sculptural installation of biomorphic, brightly colored forms that are both human and abstract. Ibrahim, who is known for his experimental interests, creates work that evokes the landscape of his hometown of Khor Fakkan, which abuts the Al Hajar mountain range.
Artist: Gerardo Goldwasser
Curator: Laura Malosetti Costa and Pablo Uribe
Artist: Simone Leigh
Curator: Jill Medvedow and Eva Respini
What to Know: In another first for the so-called “art world Olympics,” Simone Leigh is the first Black woman to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. The appointment “disrupts 400-plus years of Black women being excluded from this global platform and from our history,” Medvedow said in a statement to Artnet News. The sculptor has been on a fast track to superstardom since she began exhibiting her gargantuan figures that present larger-than-life female figures who stand as autonomous works rendered in bronze, ceramic, and raffia.
Leigh’s public work for the inaugural commission of the New York High Line Plinth, a towering sculpture that is part of her “Anatomy of Architecture” series, positions female figures whose shape is informed by the architectural styles from West Africa and the American South.
Curators: Space Caviar (Joseph Grima, Camilo Oliveira, Sofia Pia Belenky, Francesco Lupia) and Sheida Ghomashchi
Exhibition design: Space Caviar (Joseph Grima, Sofia Pia Belenky, Camilo Oliveira, Francesco Lupia)
Soundscape: Charli Tapp and Abror Zufarov
Organizers: Art and Culture Development Foundation of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Venue: Arsenale, Quarta Tesa
Artist: Palmira Correa, César Vázquez, Mila Quast,Jorge Recio
Curator: Zacarías García
Artists: Ronald Muchatuta, Kresiah Mukwazhi, Terrence Musekiwa, and Wallen Mapondera
Curator: Fadzai Muchemwa
What to Know: The artists bring diverse perspectives to Zimbabwe’s national pavilion: Mukwazhi’s work is inspired by the global #Metoo movement and addresses sexual assault within South Africa, while Mapondera addresses social relationships through intricate installations made from textiles, often commenting on power structures.
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.