Biennale Arte 2017

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Viva Arte Viva

The largest international visual arts exhibition, the Venice Biennale, is celebrating its 57th edition this year and its position and location make it easily reachable to numerous visitors who spend their time sailing across the Adriatic Sea. Located near the Istrian marinas, just a few hours away from the central Adriatic, the Biennale is an ideal addition to your summer sailing holidays and its relaxing atmosphere makes it an excellent idea for an interesting weekend at sea.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Venice’? Romantics probably imagine one of the most beautiful cities in the world, reflected in its canals, the city that Predrag Matvejević wrote one of his most touching novels about, the location of celebrity weddings. Others imagine the Carnival or Piazza San Marco with its coffee shop where you have to sit at least once in your lifetime in order to become part of history, even if it is for fifteen minutes. For artists, Venice is represented by the Venice Biennale, the most important festival of contemporary visual arts in Europe. Venice was the first in row, followed by large exhibitions such as Documenta, Skulptur Projekte Münster, as well as smaller, but equally important Manifesta (European Biennale of Contemporary Art). 2017 is the year of Venice, Documenta and Skulptur Projekt. Venice remains the first in this series and indicates the crown event for every artist and curator’s career or a turning point to take their careers to a higher level. The Venice Biennale, as its name suggests, takes place every two years, and this year’s edition, open to the public from 13 May until 26 November, is titled Viva Arte Viva and it will present works by 87 national participants. The curator is Christine Macel, responsible for the organisation of La Biennale di Venezia headed by Paolo Baratta. The Biennale’s artistic director commented on the idea behind the exhibition and the Biennale’s topic: ‘Today, in a world full of conflicts and shocks, art bears witness to the most precious part of what makes us human. Art is the ultimate ground for reflection, individual expression, freedom, and for fundamental questions. Art is the last bastion, a garden to cultivate above and beyond trends and personal interests.

Venecijanski bijenale
Biennale Arte 2017 is curated by Christine Macel who has called it an exhibition inspired by humanism

It stands as an unequivocal alternative to individualism and indifference.’ In order to emphasize that art is also a call for dialogue, ‘Tavola Aperta’ will be organized during the Biennale, where artists will have the opportunity to present their work in the relaxed atmosphere of a joint lunch. Another interesting project is the ‘Artist Practice Project’, consisting of videos in which artists talk about their art practice, which will be shown on large LED screens. The formal part of the Biennale is held at the Giardini di Castello Park, where there are thirty permanent national pavilions (the number changes every year), and in the Arsenale, which was created as an addition to the Giardini, focusing on young artists and artists on the rise. These two areas are the centre of the Venice Biennale, and a series of churches, palaces and squares throughout Venice are covered and filled with artistic interventions by contemporary artists. There is no city as fit as Venice for linking the old and the new, for exploring and roaming the streets and bridges while seeking premises with the works of contemporary artists and discovering the incredible interiors and exteriors. The central exhibition at the Giardini, the only one that does not function as a national pavilion system, will present works by 120 international artists including Mladen Stilinović, Croatian artist who passed away recently. Starting this year, the Croatian Ministry of Culture, will rent a 94-square metre space in the space of the Arsenale for the curatorial concept of Branka Benčić, chosen as the Croatian pavilion selector as an independent cultural worker. Branka is known for her curiosity, expertise and perseverance on the Croatian and international scene, and she chose Tina Gverović and Marko Tadić, two middle generation artists and her peers for a joint exhibition titled ‘Horizon of Expectations’.

Venecijanski bijenale
Viva Arte Viva is an exhibition designed with artists, by artists and for artists

In ‘Phantom Trades: Sea of People’ installation, involving paintings, video and objects, Tina Gverović explores different processes, history and materiality, bodies in transit, as moving masses or geopolitical entities. Marko Tadić develops a narrative of loosely connected scenes framing abandoned or forgotten locations, remnants of frozen time, a visual panorama suspended between history, memory and future projections. Curatorially speaking, the exhibition combines two artists with similar aesthetics, but with different starting points who complement each other on the associative and intellectual bases in their joint exhibition. Dealing with issues of uncertainty, tension or collapse, they constitute a space that re-examines exhibition structures and observers’ perception. Ever since it was founded in 1895, the main idea behind the Biennale has been promoting an avant-garde, new art form, and one of the main objectives is establishing a new market for contemporary art. An office owned exclusively by Biennale used to serve this purpose, but nowadays Biennale coincides with the largest commercial contemporary and modern art fair, Art Basel in Switzerland. Of course, it is not just about the money; in Venice, the focus is primarily on a great celebration of art and the demonstration of its power. Or as Christine Macel says: ‘Viva Arte Viva is an exclamation, a passionate outcry for art and the state of the artist.’

An artistic workshop
Eliasson Olafur
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