The 2022 Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition takes its title, "The Milk of Dreams," from a book by surrealist artist Leonora Carrington describing a magical world that is constantly being reimagined. "It is a world where everyone can change, be transformed, become something or someone else; a world set free, brimming with possibilities," said exhibition curator Cecilia Alemani.
Artist Yuki Kihara presents the exhibition "Paradise Camp" from the perspective of "fa'afafine," a third gender that moves fluidly between man and woman that is part of the culture of the Polynesian Samoan culture. The installation comprises 12 color tableau photographs that reimagine paintings by Paul Gauguin to address decolonization, intersectionality and the climate crisis in the Pacific.
Fusun Onur, who has pioneered conceptual art for more than 50 years, here presents figures fashioned from metal wire that dance, make music, travel and fall in love, while others reenact the scenes of a stage play. Titled "Once upon a time," Onur's latest work creates alternative worlds and new languages from a community of non-humans. The pavilion curator is Bige Orer (above).
The "Fountain of Exhaustion" by artist Pavlo Makov comprises 72 copper funnels arranged in the form of a pyramid. Water flows downward from one stream into another but slows to a trickle. First conceived in the mid-90s as statement of the struggle afflicting post-Soviet societies, Makov says this "metaphor of exhaustion" is still playing out in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In "Eden-Like Garden," a surreal installation by Mohamed Shoukry, Ahmed El Shaer and Weaam Ahmed El Masry, the human is enthralled by an eternal struggle between its instinct and will. The large floating pink bodies on which digital images are projected are described by the artists as "both sacred and profane … An eternal being of temptation and desire … A fragile, never-ending struggle."
Berlin-based artist Maria Eichhorn has exposed the underfloor of the German pavilion to explore its architectural transformation under the Nazis in 1938. Despite post-war modifications, the pavilion still retains an intimidating appearance, and Eichhorn invites visitors to contemplate the architectural elements of fascism and to embark on city tours to places of remembrance and resistance.
This half-human, half-animal installation evokes a hybrid world blending historical Danish farm life with a sci-fi, trans-human tomorrow. "We Walked the Earth," by Danish artist Uffe Isolotto, depicts the home of a family of three, including their belongings, food and working tools, but the world they live in is strange and impossible to demystify — perhaps a symbol of a radically changing world.
Swiss artist Latifa Echakhch creates a time-travel experience amid folk-inspired sculptures. Visitors enter rooms where the atmosphere changes via shifting unheard musical textures and rhythms; the light also alternates from brightness to darkness, evoking impermanence. Visitors should feel as if they're leaving a concert, "that this rhythm, those fragments of memory, still echo," the artist said.
US artist Simone Leigh's "Satellite" sculpture is part of a series of bronzes and ceramics that explore artistic traditions in Africa and among the African diaspora. Entitled "Sovereignty," the works incorporate diverse histories from the ritual performances of the Baga peoples in Guinea to early Black American culture in South Carolina to the landmark 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition.
The curator and artists of the pavilion of the Russian Federation resigned in February, thereby cancelling their participation in the 59th Biennale. La Biennale "expresses its complete solidarity for this noble act of courage," exhibition organizers said. Nonetheless, there have been antiwar protests outside the closed Russian pavilion, including by Russian conceptual artist Vadim Zakharov.


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