Venice Biennale 2024 Main Exhibition: ‘Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’ at the Giardini & Arsenale

The 60th International Art Exhibition, titled ‘Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere,’ opens from April 20 to November 24, 2024, at the Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice. Curated by Adriano Pedrosa and organised by La Biennale di Venezia, this exhibition promises an exploration of contemporary art within a global context.

Claire Fontaine (Founded in Paris, France, 2004 – Based in Palermo, Italy) Foreigners Everywhere – Spanish (2007)
Suspended, wall or window mounted neon, framework, electronic transformer and cables – installation view
98 × 2.16 × 45 cm. The Traveling Show, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, La Colección Jumex, Mexico / Photo by Studio Claire Fontaine / © Studio Claire Fontaine / Courtesy Claire Fontaine and Mennour, Paris

In line with its commitment to environmental sustainability, La Biennale di Venezia aims to achieve “carbon neutrality” certification for all its activities, building on previous successes such as the Venice International Film Festival and the International Architecture Exhibition. The theme of decolonisation and decarbonisation permeates the exhibition’s ethos, reflecting a conscientious engagement with pressing global issues.

The Curator’s International Exhibition will unfold in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini and the Arsenale, featuring two sections: the ‘Nucleo Contemporaneo’ and the ‘Nucleo Storico’. Notably, the Biennale Arte 2024 prioritises artists who have not previously participated in the International Exhibition, with an emphasis on outdoor projects and performance art.

‘Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’ Venice Biennale.

“Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere,” inspired by the works of the Claire Fontaine collective, explores the concept of foreignness across languages and cultures. The title embodies the universality of the human experience as perpetual outsiders, resonating with the struggles against racism and xenophobia.

The ‘Nucleo Contemporaneo’ focuses on the themes of strangeness and queerness, encompassing diverse artistic expressions from indigenous, queer, and outsider artists. Notable installations include the Mahku collective’s mural and the Maataho collective’s large-scale installation, amplifying marginalised voices and perspectives.

‘Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’ installation image.

A special section in the Corderie will showcase the Disobedience Archive, curated by Marco Scotini, highlighting the intersections between artistic practices and activism. The exhibition delves into diaspora activism and gender disobedience, featuring works from 39 artists and collectives spanning decades.

The ‘Nucleo Storico’ delves into 20th-century modernisms from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, challenging Eurocentric narratives. Portraits and abstractions take center stage, showcasing the rich tapestry of artistic expressions that transcend geographical boundaries.

Mohamed Chabâa (Tangier, Morocco, 1935-2013, Casablanca), Composition (1974), Acrylic on canvas, 94 x 220 cm. Photo Maria and Mansour Dib / Courtesy of Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation.

Textiles emerge as a recurring motif, reflecting artists’ interests in craft and tradition, while familial ties underscore the transmission of knowledge and practices across generations. The exhibition fosters a dialogue between past and present, weaving together narratives of identity, resistance, and cultural exchange.

MAHKU – Movimento dos artistas Huni Kuin (Founded in Kaxinawá Indigenous Land, Brazil, 2013 – Based in Kaxinawá Indigenous Land) Kapenawe pukenibu (2022) Acrylic on canvas 140 x 115 cm. Acelino Huni Kuin (Terra Indígena do Alto Rio Jordão, Jordão, Acre, Brasil, 1975) / Movimento dos Artistas Huni Kuin (MAHKU) / Ibã Huni Kuin (Terra Indígena do Alto Rio Jordão, Jordão, Acre, Brasil, 1964) / Photo: Daniel Cabrel / Courtesy of Museu de Arte de São Paulo – MASP

The Nucleo Storico delves into 20th-century modernisms from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, challenging Eurocentric narratives. Portraits and abstractions take center stage, showcasing the rich tapestry of artistic expressions that transcend geographical boundaries.

Textiles emerge as a recurring motif, reflecting artists’ interests in craft and tradition, while familial ties underscore the transmission of knowledge and practices across generations. The exhibition fosters a dialogue between past and present, weaving together narratives of identity, resistance, and cultural exchange.

Samia Halaby (Jerusalem, Palestine, 1936 – Lives in New York City, United States), Black is Beautiful (1969) Oil on canvas 167.5 x 167.5 cm. Courtesy of the Artist; Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut and Hamburg.

Through a diverse range of artworks, performances, and installations, “Stranieri Ovunque” prompts viewers to confront their preconceptions and biases, fostering empathy and understanding across cultural divides. It challenges the notion of a homogeneous “us” versus “them” and celebrates the richness of diversity in our globalised world. The exhibition offers an exploration of the complexities of human migration, cultural exchange, and belonging. It invites viewers to embrace the diversity that surrounds them and to recognise the shared humanity that transcends borders and boundaries.

Location: The Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice.

Dates: April 20 to November 24, 2024.

‘Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’ installation image.
Inji Efflatoun (Cairo, Egypt, 1924-1989) Portrait of a Prisoner (1963) Oil on wood 50 x 38 cm. Photo Maria and Mansour Dib/ Courtesy Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation
‘Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere’ installation image.

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