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The 59th International Venice Biennale


Text by Shalini Passi

Anish Kapoor, Mount Moriah at the Gate of the Ghetto, Palazzo Manfrin, 2022

Several Foundations and Museums inhabit the Italian slice of artistic haven. Running parallely with the 59th International Venice Biennale, these foundation and museum shows, enrich the entire Venetian experience where each site narrates its own history. From larger than life sculptures by Anish Kapoor at the Palazzo Manfrin and Galleria dell’Accademia, to Anselm Keifer’s exhibit at Doge Palace, each exhibit envelops one, in it’s aura.

Anish Kapoor Foundation at Palazzo Manfrin and Galleria dell’Accademia

Illustrious of his colossal artworks igniting the exhibited space, Kapoor takes over Venice’s historic sites in 2022. The show celebrates the artist’s career with an elaborate exhibit of 60 artworks, making it historic for British artscape. In a solo, his works are exhibited across Galleria dell’Accademia and Palazzo Manfrin. The artist recently acquired the historic Palazzo Manfrin which is an 18th century Venetian Palace. Once you enter Palazzo Manfrin Mount Moriah at the Gate of the Ghetto (2022) seems to coalesce with the architecture as if it inhabits the historic space. Further ahead, the Symphony for a Beloved Sun envelops the entire hall space with striking red color and it’s scale. Running parallel with the 59th Venice Biennale, the solo shows certainly add to the Venetian artscape.

2) On Fire at Giorgio Cini Foundation

The Giorgio Cini Foundation is known for their well curated exhibits, sometimes holding multiple parallel exhibits at once. Running parallely with the Biennale, Cini foundation is hosting three parallel exhibits at Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, namely – On Fire, Mostra Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence and Fontana Arte. The former exhibit, On Fire, takes inspiration from one of nature’s most intriguing elements which is devoid of shape, weight or density. Many artists throughout history have explored it’s possibilities in the process and inception of art making. The Fondazione Giorgio Cini exhibition is curated by Bruno Corà, organized in collaboration with Tornabuoni Art.

Installation View, On Fire, Giorgio Cini Foundation

The exhibition features works of renowned artists like Arman, Yves Klein, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Alberto Burri and Claudio Parmiggiani. The artists’ artworks traverse the possibilities of fire, using various materials like gas cylinders and other combustibles. Several art institutions and collectors have loaned the works to make this rare exhibit possible, from across the continents.

3) Parasol Unit’s Uncombed, Unforeseen, Unconstrained at Conservatory of Music

Uncombed, Unforeseen, Unconstrained is a group exhibit by Parasol Unit featuring diverse artists like Darren Almond, Oliver Beer, Rana Begum with Hyetal, Julian Charrière, David Claerbout, Bharti Kher, Arghavan Khosravi, Teresa Margolles, Si On, Martin Puryear, and Rayyane Tabet. Their practice in the contemporary artscape spans across various mediums, concepts and geographies. The show runs parallely with the 59th Venice Biennale at the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello .

Julian Charriere, Not all who wander are lost, Conservatory of Music Venice, Parasol Unit, 2019

The exhibit contextualizes global to regional issues like global warming, climate crisis and racism , all of the coinciding concerns in a capitalist world. All the artists have responded in their own artistic language to the above issues. The show is curated by Ziba Ardalan, who is the Founder and Director – Parasol Unit.

4) Georg Baselitz at Palazzo Grimani

Georg Baselitz is a renowned artist, widely known for his post war, expressive artworks. His works are strong and powerful. In this exhibit, the artist pays tribute to Venice and it’s rich culture and artistic heritage. The title of the exhibition Archinto takes inspiration from an artwork by master Titian, painted in the year of 1588 which was a portrait of Cardinal Filippo Archinto. The exhibition is curated by Mario Codognato in collaboration with Gagosian and Musei Veneto. There are overall twelve paintings exhibited and painted exclusively for Sala del Portego.

Georg Baselitz, Surrealismus die Filzluge, Palazzo Grimani, 2020

5) Anselm Keifler at Doge Palace

Anselm Kiefer, Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finally un po' di luce, Doge Palace The iconic Anselm Keifer is one of the most popular German artists of current times. He has exclusively created works for Palazzo Ducale during the pandemic. Keifer’s work pleasantly overwhelms you when you enter the hall. Sala dello Scrutinio sets a tone for his artworks through it’s magnificence and historic, thirty three paintings inhabiting the space. He was born when World War II was nearly ending; he was, along with Georg Baselitz, Richter, Polke, and Immendorff, one of the architects of the renaissance of German painting in the 1970s. The exhibit is exemplary of global current themes , layered with contemporary art expression and philosophies.

Shalini Passi viewing the Anselm Kiefer paintings at Doge’s Palace

Images Courtesy : Shalini Passi and Gagosian Find out more about the art and artists:

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