55th Edition of the Biennale

Azzurra Giorgi (March 21, 2013)
In Venice, the International Art Exhibition celebrates its 55th anniversary, embracing 88 countries from all over the world. This year's edition will be named "The Encyclopedic palace," and it will mix different inspirations, inflections and movements together.

Known as a major art exhibition, the 'Biennale di Venezia' celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. Since 1998, the Biennale of Art and Architecture is not just confined within the national barriers, but has expanded into an International exhibition, which is now displayed in eighty-eight countries.

The Biennale occurs every two years and the 2013 edition is entitled 'Il Palazzo Enciclopedico’ or ‘The Encyclopedic Palace.’ It is curated by Massimiliano Gioni and organized by Paolo Baratta, Biennale's chairman.

In the past two editions, the Biennale has tried to create relationships between artists, as well as between artists and their audience, in order to form a sort of “geography of the art,” as Baratta stated. 'Il Palazzo Enciclopedico' is taking a step forward in this direction. In fact, the exposition will not present solely contemporary works, but also art from the past, mixing references, inspirations and history. In this sense, the exhibition can also be considered a research of art and its characteristics. 

To achieve this mission, the Biennale welcomed countries that have never participated before; some of these, like the Republic of Kosovo, see this manifestation as a chance to be recognized internationally, while others, like the Holy See, the island of Tuvalu, the Kingdom of Bahrain and others, want to become known for their creativity in the arts, and not just for their Geo-political situations. 

The name of the Biennale, 'Il Palazzo Enciclopedico,' is inspired by Marino Auriti's 'Encyclopedic Palace of the World,' a plan for a 136- floor building, occupying sixteen city blocks, that was supposed to be built in Washington D.C - a project that was never realized. The Palace, meant to be an imaginary museum that would include all the different fields of knowledge, is now taken as an inspiration because of its ability to encapsulate many themes of the exhibition, like the obsessive pursuit of complete knowledge. 

The Biennale also includes special sessions and meetings. The 'Biennale Session' takes place for the fourth time and is offered to institutions developing research and training in the field of arts, as well as Universities and Academies of Fine Arts. 'Meetings on Art,' on the other hand, includes a series of conversations with Marco Paolini, titled 'Opifices.' Offered during the summer and autumn months, it focuses on the topic of the myth of self-taught artists. Other educational activities will be organized for individuals and groups of students of all grades, universities and academies who desire to become more involved in the Biennale's itineraries. 

The curator, Massimiliano Gioni, is currently the Artistic Director of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan, as well as the Associate Director and Director of Exhibitions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York

Gioni's task was to pick a theme to promote through the artists, works and the exhibitions themselves. He chose to conduct an 'anthropology of art,' mixing together movements, inflections and countries, so that everyone could act as an influence and in turn be influenced by others. 

At the presentation of the 55th edition of the Biennale at the Institute of Italian Culture, Gioni exposed some of the exhibition’s works, moving from photos to sculptures, to illustrations, films, drawings and portraits. In this way, every single form of art is represented, thus drawing closer to the 'obsession of knowledge' that Auriti aimed to convey with his plan for the “Encyclopedic Palace of the World.” 

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