The 53rd International Art Exhibition, entitled Making Worlds, directed by Daniel Birnbaum, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, and chaired by Paolo Baratta, will open to the public from Sunday June, 7th to Sunday November, 22nd 2009 in the Giardini (50,000 m2) and the Arsenale (38,000 m2) as well as in various other locations around the city. The Director of the 53rd Exhibition, Daniel Birnbaum, has been Rector of the Staedelschule Frankfurt/Main and its Kunsthalle Portikus since 2001. Making Worlds, presented in the renewed Palazzo delle Esposizioni in the Giardini and in the Arsenale, is a single, large exhibition that articulates different themes woven into one whole. It is not divided into sections. Considering collectives, it comprises works by over 90 artists from all over the world and includes many new works and on-site commissions in all disciplines.
“The title of the exhibition, Making Worlds – says Director Daniel Birnbaum – expresses my wish to emphasize the process of creation. A work of art represents a vision of the world and if taken seriously it can be seen as a way of making a world. The strength of the vision is not dependent on the kind or complexity of the tools brought into play. Hence all forms of artistic expression are present: installation art, video and film, sculpture, performance, painting and drawing, and a live parade. Taking ´worldmaking´ as a starting point, also allows the exhibition to highlight the fundamental importance of certain key artists for the creativity of successive generations, just as much as exploring new spaces for art to unfold outside the institutional context and beyond the expectations of the art market. Making Worlds is an exhibition driven by the aspiration to explore worlds around us as well as worlds ahead. It is about possible new beginnings—this is what I would like to share with the visitors of the Biennale.”
For the direction of the exhibition Daniel Birnbaum is supported by Jochen Volz, artistic organization. Additional advice is provided by an international team of correspondents consisting of Savita Apte, Tom Eccles, Hu Fang, and Maria Finders.
On occasion of the 53rd International Art Exhibition – the Foundation La Biennale di Venezia inaugurates a number of important structural and organisational developments:
At the Arsenale, the Italian Pavilion has been enlarged from 800 to 1,800 square meters, now opening out to the Giardino delle Vergini and adjacent to a new public entrance. Here a newly constructed bridge links the far side of the Arsenale to the Sestiere di Castello. This renewed Italian Pavilion will be reserved for exhibitions organised by the Italian Ministry for Cultural Affairs. The Italian participation at the 53rd International Art Exhibition is curated by Beatrice Buscaroli and Luca Beatrice. Furthermore, the Arsenale’s exhibition spaces have been extended by developing a larger part of the Giardino delle Vergini (Garden of the Virgins), now measuring 6.000 square meters and offering an enchanting new exhibition space for the main exhibition.
In the Giardini, the historic Italian Pavilion has been renamed Palazzo delle Esposizioni della Biennale and extensively transformed, now providing a permanent exhibition and multi-functional venue opened to the public throughout the year. The transformed Palazzo delle Esposizioni includes a newly refurbished wing housing the library of the Historic Archive of Contemporary Arts (ASAC), made available again to the public after ten years of closure. The Archive comprises documents, books, catalogues and periodicals, freely consultable by researchers and exhibition visitors. Apart from exhibition spaces, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni also comprises a new bookstore, a new café and new spaces for educational activities, respectively designed by three artists participating in the main exhibition. The Palazzo delle Esposizioni will therefore become an important platform for the Foundation’s permanent activities and a point of reference for the other Pavilions in the Giardini.
Ca’ Giustinian, the beautiful 15th century palace on the Canale Grande near San Marco and the traditional site of the Foundation’s headquarters, will reopen in June after several years of renovation. Apart from housing the offices of the Biennale, it will then also become an “open house” for the general public, among others boasting a café on the Grand Canal.
The National Participations of the 53rd International Art Exhibition, presented in the historical Pavilions in the Giardini, in selected areas of the Arsenale and in numerous venues throughout the city, are this year amounting to the record number of 77 Nations participating, including first-time participations of Montenegro, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Gabon, Union of Comoros, and United Arab Emirates.
Furthermore there is a record number of 44 Collateral Events, proposed by international organizations and institutions, which will organize their own exhibitions and initiatives in Venice during the occasion.
An exhibition dedicated to the venetian artistic glass will be held at the Venice Pavilion. The exhibition organized by the Region of Veneto, in concomitance with the 53rd Exhibition and curated by Ferruccio Franzoia, is titled … fa come natura face in foco.
Inaugurating the renovated headquarters of the Biennale as yet another exhibition venue, The Vision Machine: Futurists in the Biennale will be presented at Ca’ Giustinian from June to November 2009. The exhibition explores the presence of Futurist artists, ideas and works in the Biennale. Curated by IUAV, International Semiotics Laboratory Venice, it is the result of a research undertaken at the Historic Archive of the Contemporary Arts (ASAC).