Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Between Sunrise and Sunset. Image Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE La Biennale di Venezia. Photo by John Varghese

The 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, titled The Milk of Dreams, will open to the public from Saturday April 23 to Sunday November 27, 2022, at the Giardini and the Arsenale; it will be curated by Cecilia Alemani and organised by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Roberto Cicutto.

The Exhibition will also include 80 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the city centre of Venice. Five countries will be participating for the first time at the Biennale Arte: Republic of Camerun, Namibia, Nepal, Sultanate of Oman, and Uganda. Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Kirghizistan and Republic of Uzbekistan participate for the first time with their own pavilion. Here’s a guide to the 59th Venice Biennale – National Participation

Location: Arsenale

Albania Pavilion

Lumturi Blloshmi will be representing Albania’s pavilion. The artist, unfortunately, passed away a year ago from COVID-19 and in order to honour her life’s work, curator Adela Demetja said that the process of selection for 10-12 of her works, which will make up Albania’s pavilion in Venice is underway. In addition, she said that there will be an additional two contributions to this pavilion, as a tribute to Blloshmi.

Argentine Pavilion

Mónica Heller will represent Argentina, her 3D-video installation immerses the viewers in a sensory landscape designed to shake their perception of sociomaterial reality, as it invites them to question themselves about the bodily, imaginary and cognitive limits of the human, in times dominated by the suspicion of its decline as a civilisational paradigm. Curated by Alejo Ponce de León, the exhibition consists of 15 independent audiovisual modules, composed of projections and LED screens of different sizes. The installation is completed by a surround sound system, ambient lighting and an original soundtrack. Also, in an unprecedented way for Argentina, the catalog of the exhibition includes the participation of fellow artists, making it an autonomous work of experimental and collective nature that expands the representative possibilities of the current Argentine art scene.

Mónica Heller, El origen de la substancia importará la importancia del origen (The Importance of the Origin will be Imported by the Origin of the Substance). Multi-channel 3D animation video installation, 2022. Courtesy of Mónica Heller and Galería Piedras.
Mónica Heller, El origen de la substancia importará la importancia del origen
(The Importance of the Origin will be Imported by the Origin of the Substance). Multi-channel 3D animation video installation, 2022. Courtesy of Mónica Heller and Galería Piedras.

Chile Pavilion

Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol is a collective project which, in this age of climate crisis, seeks an experimental path toward raising awareness of and preserving peatlands, the wetland ecosystem that most efficiently captures carbon from the atmosphere yet remains one of the least researched. The pavilion is curated by Camila Marambio. Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol brings together an interdisciplinary team of Chilean artists: sound artist Ariel Bustamante, art historian Carla Macchiavello, filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor, and architect Alfredo Thiermann. These artists were guided by co-curatorial scriptwriters Bárbara Saavedra, an ecologist specialising in biodiversity and Selk’nam writer Hema’ny Molina, assisted by cultural producer Juan Pablo Vergara, and joined creatively by many others: Rosario Ureta (design), Mateo Zlatar (web design), Carola del Río (web design), Freja Carmichael, Caitlin Franzmann, Christy Gast, Randi Nygård, Renee Rossini, Karolin Tampere, Agustine Zegers, Simon Daniel Tegnander Wenzel (scent), Sebastián Cruz (museography), Nicolás Arze (art direction), Benjamín Echazarreta (photography direction), Isabel Torres (voice), Constanza Güell (catalog), Fernanda Olivares (Selk’nam guide), Nicole Püschel (climate change and biodiversity), Antonia Peón-Veiga (lighting), Susanne

Turba Tol, Karukinka, 2022. Credits Ricardo Gallo
Turba Tol, Karukinka, 2022. Credits Ricardo Gallo

China Pavilion

The exhibition META-SCAPE is curated by Zhang Zikang with exhibitors: Liu Jiayu, Wang Yuyang, Xu Lei, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Institute of Sci-Tech Arts+Tsinghua Laboratory of Brain and Intelligence (TLBI) Group Project

Ghana Pavilion

Following its highly acclaimed debut at the 2019 Biennale, Ghana will present the exhibition Black Star—The Museum as Freedom. The pavilion exhibition examines new constellations of this freedom across time, technology and borders. It includes large-scale installations by Na Chainkua Reindorf, Afroscope and Diego Araúja, in an exhibition designed by architect DK Osseo Asare, and curated by Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Director of ANO Institute of Arts & Knowledge in Accra and Director at Large of Ghana’s Museums and Cultural Heritage.

Na Chainkua Reindorf, Lara, 2021. Photo: Na Chainkua Reindorf.
Na Chainkua Reindorf, Lara, 2021. Photo: Na Chainkua Reindorf.

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Pavilion

Tina Gillen will represent the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with Faraway So Close. The exhibition, for which the artist has produced a new series of large-scale works, will take the form of an expansive painterly installation in the Luxembourg Pavilion, located within the historic premises of the Sale d’Armi in Venice’s Arsenale. In Faraway So Close, Gillen directs her attention to the connections between the interior space and the outside world. Christophe Gallois is curating the pavilion.

Sealevel IV, 2022. Acrylic on canvas, 270 x 440 cm. Photo: Florian Kleinefenn ©Tina Gillen / Courtesy of the artist
Sealevel IV, 2022. Acrylic on canvas, 270 x 440 cm. Photo: Florian Kleinefenn ©Tina Gillen / Courtesy of the artist

Iceland Pavilion

Reykjavík based contemporary artist Sigurður Guðjónsson will present Perpetual Motion, a large-scale, multisensory sculpture, which will offer a poetic exploration of materiality at the edge of the boundaries of perception. Powerfully combining moving imagery and sound, the artwork will activate the exhibition space, creating an entrancing, meditative experience for visitors. The Pavilion of Iceland is curated by Mónica Bello. Perpetual Motion will include a visceral soundtrack, developed by Guðjónsson and Icelandic musician Valgeir Sigurðsson, which responds to the granulated texture of the matter in the moving images, using stacked electromagnetic sounds, that have been manipulated via granular synthesis. The soundscape will fill the Pavilion space, enveloping visitors as they enter the artwork, creating a deeper connection with the frequencies of the metal dust as it moves and pulsates across the screens’ surface.

Sigurður Guðjónsson, Still from Perpetual MOTION, 2022, courtesy of the artist and BERG Contemporary
Sigurður Guðjónsson, Still from Perpetual MOTION, 2022, courtesy of the artist and BERG Contemporary

Ireland Pavilion

The pavilion presents Gather by artist Niamh O’Malley, curated by the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Curatorial Team. “Gather” begins in Niamh O’Malley’s workspace in Temple Bar Gallery + Studios (TBG+S), Dublin, where stone, steel, wood and glass are shaped, composed and assembled. To do so, to make solid and visible is a particular compulsion of O’Malley’s, a silent but physical response to a precarious time. She is interested in negotiating between the surfaces of the world, how objects and spaces can speak, and how an exhibition can somehow anchor, contain and describe distance. There is comfort in touch, in knowing the edges of things and, during a period of time when we are so much in our heads, O’Malley reminds us that we are also, acutely and collectively, in the world. Ireland at Venice 2022 will continue as a National Tour curated as a multi-venue exhibition and public engagement programme during 2023.

Niamh O’Malley, Ireland at Venice, Courtesy of Ireland pavilion
Niamh O’Malley, Ireland at Venice, Courtesy of Ireland pavilion

Italy Pavilion

History of Night and Destiny of Comets, curated by Eugenio Viola, for the first time in the history of the Italian Pavilion, presents the work of a single artist: Gian Maria Tosatti. The curator has chosen to propose a project that works as a powerful statement on contemporaneity, capable of restoring a courageous reading of the present and giving Italy a unique voice. “History of Night and Destiny of Comets” is configured as a large environmental installation designed specifically for the spaces of the Tese delle Vergini, occupying the entire surface, and proposes a vision of the current state of humanity and its future prospects. The work is configured as an intermediary device that contains within itself and blends a plurality of languages as usual in Tosatti’s research, from literary references to the visual arts, from theater to music and performance. A complex experiential narrative machine that leads the visitor on a sensitive path, sometimes familiar and partly unsettling, with the aim of offering a new awareness and generating concrete reflections on the possible destiny of human civilisation, poised between dreams and errors. of the past and the promises of a future still partly to be written.

Eugenio Viola, curator of the Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 and Gian Maria Tosatti, artist Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 Photo by Elena Andreato
Eugenio Viola, curator of the Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 and Gian Maria Tosatti, artist Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 Photo by Elena Andreato

Kosovo Pavilion

The Republic of Kosovo is taking part for the fifth time in the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia with a major solo exhibition of Jakup Ferri. The Kosovo Pavilion will be curated by Inke Arns. “Jakup Ferri” presents paintings, embroideries and carpets at the Biennale Arte 2022 – in an exhibition entitled The Monumentality of the Everyday. Ferri’s drawings are mostly depicting everyday scenes involving animals, children, acrobats, musicians, and sports activities (like swimming, snorkeling, bicycling). And then there is this aspect of the vernacular turning into the surreal, or magic, like animals speaking or making music, people turning into birds, people making music for animals or even becoming animals or hybrid creatures. Very often, there’s poetic interactions between people, animals, and objects, looking at each other, thus creating lines of sight – like silent dialogues.

Courtesy of Kosovo Pavilion
Courtesy of Kosovo Pavilion

Latvia Pavilion

Skuja Braden, an international artistic collaboration, born in 1999, between Ingūna Skuja from Latvia and Melissa D. Braden from California, USA presents a multilayered installation that maps the mental, physical, and spiritual areas within the artists’ home. The ideals and affiliations of its inhabitants are revealed, and insight is offered into different readings of the history of a region to test the readiness of its society to live up to the challenges of the present day. In the exhibition, home is echoed by images in porcelain, a material which Skuja Braden has mastered superbly. Their porcelain comes to life in everyday objects, fountains, bendy hoses, and different bodies.

Courtesy of Latvia Pavilion
Courtesy of Latvia Pavilion

Lebanese Pavilion

Placed under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and organised by the Lebanese Visual Art Association (LVAA), the Lebanese Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2022 presents the works of filmmaker and video maker Danielle Arbid – from the diaspora and based in Paris – and visual artist Ayman Baalbaki – who lives and works in Beirut – with scenography conceived by Aline Asmar d’Amman, architect and founder of Culture in Architecture.

The Lebanese Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, curated by Nada Ghandour, illustrates the perpetual action of the human imagination on the reality of the world. In the exhibition The World in the Image of Man, fiction inspires and nourishes our daily lives. Its project invites us on a symbolic journey into the contemporary world through a theme, a city, and two artists, Danielle Arbid and Ayman Baalbaki, who maintain a political and aesthetic dialogue from a distance, by presenting artworks that are so far and yet so close.

Ayman Baalbkai, Janus Gate, installation, detail. Courtesy of Basel Dalloul
Ayman Baalbkai, Janus Gate, installation, detail. Courtesy of Basel Dalloul

Malta Pavilion

Curators Keith Sciberras and Jeffrey Uslip, through the creative collaboration of Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci, Arcangelo Sassolino and the composition of renowned Maltese conductor and musician Brian Schembri, will be re-articulating Caravaggio’s seminal altarpiece The Beheading of St John the Baptist (1608). For the Malta Pavilion, they will be creating “a conceptual, immersive, site-specific installation that bridges biblical narratives with contemporary culture”. Brothers Giuseppi Schembri Bonaci and Brian Schembri, together with Arcangelo Sassolino, shall transpose the zeitgeist of the Oratory of the Decollato in Valletta onto the Malta pavilion, re-situating Caravaggio’s immanent themes within modern life.

The Beheading of St John the Baptist (1608). Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Beheading of St John the Baptist (1608). Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Mexico Pavilion

Until the Songs Spring, collective exhibition project will represent Mexico pavilion. Under the curatorship of Catalina Lozano and Mauricio Marcin, this proposal offers a collective approach, from a decolonial perspective, reflecting on worldviews, technologies, territories, and the reconfiguration of gender subjectivities. The artists Mariana Castillo Deball, Naomi Rincón Gallardo, Fernando Palma Rodríguez and Santiago Borja Charles, offer allegories to imagine a coexistence based on complex relationships of reciprocity and respect. To construct a paradigm that addresses the mystery of regenerative coexistence of the most heterogeneous cultures, and not that of the exclusion of other living beings, both human and non-human.

Courtesy of Mexico Pavilion
Courtesy of Mexico Pavilion

New Zealand Pavilion

With a growing reputation for work that is engaging, visually striking and topical, Yuki Kihara’s Paradise Camp speaks to the shared histories between New Zealand and the Pacific, and provides a relevant and timely intersection with global concerns such as decolonisation, small island ecologies, intersectionality, queer rights and climate change. The exhibition concept was first inspired by an essay by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku presented at the Paul Gauguin Symposium held at the Auckland Art Gallery in 1992, and was further developed after Kihara viewed Gauguin paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York on the occasion of her solo exhibition at the MET in 2008.
By reflecting on pertinent local and global issues of our times, through the unique lens of Fa’afafine, Kihara draws on the untold histories of her own community of Faʻafafine in Sāmoa and highlights New Zealand’s historical and ongoing social, political and cultural engagement with the Pacific.

Yuki Kihara, Ulugali‘i Sāmoa: Sāmoan couple, 2004/2020 Courtesy of Yuki Kihara and Milford Galleries Dunedin and Queenstown, Aotearoa, New Zealand
Yuki Kihara, Ulugali‘i Sāmoa: Sāmoan couple, 2004/2020 Courtesy of Yuki Kihara and Milford Galleries Dunedin and Queenstown, Aotearoa, New Zealand

Oman Pavilion

The opening exhibition displays works of three generations of Omani artists, whose activities span 50 years in visual and contemporary arts. The exhibition provides a model for the broad global range of Oman’s cultural history and unique traditions in visual arts. The participating artists represent a continuous stream of influence in Omani art and they include Anwar Sonya, Hassan Meer, Budoor Al Riyami, Radhika Khimji and the late Raya Al Rawahi.

Peru Pavilion

Titled Peace is a Corrosive Promise,  the exhibition is curated by Jorge Villarcorta with Herbert Rodriguez exhibiting.

Philippines Pavilion

All of us present, This is our gathering/Andi taku e sana, Amung taku di sana will feature the collaborative work of artist Gerardo Tan, musicologist Felicidad A. Prudente, and accomplished weaver Sammy Buhle. The exhibition involves an interdisciplinary approach to transmitting culture with sound and textile, weaving the customary and the contemporary across the archipelago. It presents a highly mediated process of generating sound, performance, image, and object.

Courtesy of Philippines Pavilion
Courtesy of Philippines Pavilion

Saudi Arabia Pavilion

Saudi artist Muhannad Shono will be representing the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia, working with curator Reem Fadda, and assistant curator Rotana Shaker.
Shono is based in Riyadh and is inspired by his childhood memories and his family’s long history of migration which has left an impactful paradox in his work. These events have defined his relationship to space by creating a sense of freedom that crosses cultural constituents allowing him to search through the different concepts, materials, and techniques. Shono’s inimitable style, which is versatile and uninhibited in medium and form, has manifested in works that range from intimate drawings, large- scale sculptural works, and robotic and technological pieces.

Muhannad Shono. Courtesy Marwah AlMugait
Muhannad Shono. Courtesy Marwah AlMugait

Singapore Pavilion

Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book exhibition is conceived by Shubigi Rao, in collaboration with curator Ute Meta Bauer, who together form the first-ever women-led team to represent Singapore at Biennale Arte 2022. A glorious tribute and haunting elegy to shared humanity and communities of print, “Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book” marks the midpoint of Shubigi Rao’s evocative 10-year project, Pulp, which explores the history of book destruction and its impact on the futures of knowledge.

Film still, 16th century edition of Petrarch's work, censored in 4 different ways. Courtesy of the artist.
Film still, 16th century edition of Petrarch’s work, censored in 4 different ways. Courtesy of the artist.

Slovenia Pavilion

Marko Jakše is representing Slovenia at the 59th Venice Biennale, the international art exhibition taking place from 23 April to 27 November 2022. Jakše’s exhibition will comprise canvases from the artist’s various periods. This year, the Director of Moderna galerija, Aleš Vaupotič, PhD, has been appointed the Commissioner, and Robert Simonišek, PhD, the curator. The Pavilion of the Republic of Slovenia will be in the final segment of the Arsenale building, the central exhibition venue of the main Biennale exhibition.

Marko Jakše, Happy to work, (Na delo veselo!), 2016. Mixed media on canvas, 183 x 250 cm.
Marko Jakše, Happy to work, (Na delo veselo!), 2016. Mixed media on canvas, 183 x 250 cm.

South Africa Pavilion

South Africa’s national exhibition for Biennale Arte 2022 reflects the theme ‘Into the Light’ which complements the overarching theme ‘The Milk of Dreams’. The pavilion will exhibit works by photographer Roger Ballen, visual artist Lebohang Kganye and multidisciplinary artist Phumulani Ntuli. The exhibition curator is Amé Bell and the artworks will be showcased around the theme of ‘Into the Light’.Standing (L to R): Thuli Mlambo-James (Project Coordinator), Amé Bell, Lebohang Kganye Seated: Roger Ballen, Phumulani Ntuli, Grace Rapholo (Project Manager)

Courtesy of South Africa Pavilion
Courtesy of South Africa Pavilion

Turkey Pavilion

Once upon a time, a new installation by the pioneer of Turkish contemporary and conceptual art, Füsun Onur, will be presented at the Pavilion of Turkey at the 59th International Venice Biennale. The exhibition is curated by Bige Örer. In Once upon a time, Füsun Onur tells an evocative story using a minimalist approach and silent intimations of music, turning a critical eye on the contemporary condition and inevitably the pandemic, both of which pose threats to the future of the world. Onur depicts a struggle waged by cats and mice, united against the governing logics of anthropocentrism, which harms nature and the planet by arrogantly ruling over them. Figures made by bending and twisting metal wire dance, make music, travel, and fall in love. While some are suspended in space, others seem to re-enact a fairy tale or fable with their ping-pong-ball heads and colourful clothes made from crepe paper. Devised like the scenes of a stage play, the installation opens the door onto a new and exciting world. In a time when everyone’s life has been turned upside down, when all known truths are being questioned, Onur once again casts aside all expectations to establish her own scale, offering a masterwork about conceiving alternative worlds, creating new languages, learning from nonhumans, and loving and living together.

Courtesy of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV)
Courtesy of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV)

Ukraine Pavilion

The National Pavilion of Ukraine at the 59th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia is the result of a collaboration of three independent curators: Maria Lanko, Lizaveta German and Borys Filonenko. They were united by the desire to represent Ukraine at the Biennale Arte 2022 and to reintroduce the practice of Ukrainian artist Pavlo Makov to the world. “Fountain of Exhaustion. Acqua Alta” is an attempt to talk about global modernity within the Ukrainian context. One of the curators’ plans is to show how the local agenda has become consistent with the rest of the world, exhausted by the pandemic, environmental issues and military conflicts.

“Fountain of Exhaustion. Acqua Alta” is an exhibition project. It presents a new 3.5-meter (10 ft) version of Pavlo Makov’s fountain and reveals its 27-year history through archival materials. Fountain of exhaustion is an object consisting of a system of funnels, each of which has two exits and splits the water flow into two. Arranged one under the others, 12 rows of funnels direct the water from top to bottom, so that the water flow gradually diminishes. Unlike spurting fountains, the Makov’s Fountain is exhausting itself.

Photo by Eugene Nikiforov
Photo by Eugene Nikiforov

Uzbekistan Pavilion

Curated by Joseph Grima and Space Caviar (Camilo Oliveira, Sofia Pia Belenky, Francesco Lupia) and Sheida Ghomashchi, featuring new collaborative work by Abror Zufarov and Charli Tapp along with a robust program of workshops organised with the Center for Contemporary Arts in Tashkent, Dixit Algorizmi—The Garden of Knowledge marks the country’s first pavilion in the Biennale Arte, and opens less than a year after Uzbekistan’s debut at the the 17th International Venice Architecture Biennale.

Photo: Courtesy Space Caviar
Photo: Courtesy Space Caviar

UAE Pavilion

Titled Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim: Between Sunrise and Sunset, the exhibition will present a new body of work created for the National Pavilion UAE by Emirati artist Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim, a veteran of the experimental art community in the UAE. Curated by Maya Allison, Executive Director of The New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery, Between Sunrise and Sunset is an installation of human-sized, abstract and organic sculptural forms. The work draws from Ibrahim’s deep connection to the local environment of his hometown, Khor Fakkan – a city harbouring the rocky Al Hajar mountains on the east coast of the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Image Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE La Biennale di Venezia. Photo by John Varghese
Image Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE La Biennale di Venezia. Photo by John Varghese

Info is extracted from the press releases of the pavilions

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