The Venice Art Biennale 2017

THE VENICE ART BIENNALE 2017: the 57th International Art Exhibition

The Venice Art Biennale. The Venice Art Biennale is the most important international art exhibition in the world.
The first edition dates back to 1895, and since then, the Venice Art Biennale, every two years, has gathered in Venice the most important contemporary artists causing quarrels, scandals, protests, inspirations, and much more.

READ ALSO: Visiting the Venice Biennale: 5 things to know.

The greatest artists have exhibited their works of art at the Venice Art Biennale, including: Gustav Klimt, Henry Matisse, Modigliani (in 1922, two years after his death, a retrospective exhibition was arranged, which provoked several debates), De Chirico, Dalì, Kandinsky, Pollock, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Maurizio Cattelan, just to mention a few.

In this post you’ll find all the updates 😉

Awards of the 57th International Art Exhibition

Last update 15 May 2017 – Award of the 57th International Art exhibition 

The dates of the Venice Art Biennale 2017

The 57th edition of the Venice Art Biennale is scheduled to run from May 13th to November 26th 2017.

READ ALSO: Venice Biennale tickets: how to visit it.

READ ALSO: 5 things to know about Saint Mark’s Square.

The curator of the Venice Art Biennale 2017

Christine Macel will be the curator of the Venice Art Biennale 2017.
She’s just the fourth woman to have directed the prestigious Venice Art Biennale since 1895, after Maria de Corral, Rosa Martinez and Bice Curiger. Since 2000 French Christine Macel has been Chief Curator at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and as President Paolo Baratta declared: “Her experience in the Department of “Création Contemporaine et prospective” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris has long offered her a vantage point rich in potential from which to observe new energies coming from various parts of the world”.

The title chosen for the 57th International Art Exhibition (UPDATE 12 OCTOBER 2016)

The title chosen by Christine  Macel for the 57th International Art Exhibition is: VIVA ARTE VIVA.
Viva Arte Viva is also an exclamation, an expression of the passion for art and for the state of the artist.
A Biennale designed with the artists, by the artists and for the artists. It deals with the forms they propose, the questions they pose, the practices they develop and the forms of life they choose.
The Exhibition organically evolves in a sequence of pavilions, rooms and stanze, offering the spectator an experience, i.e. a journey, from the interiority to the infinity.
These pavilions which gather artists of all generations and origins, sinuously follow one another like chapters of a book. From the “Pavilion of artists and books ” to the “Pavilion of time and infinity”, a dozen universes tell a conversational and sometimes paradoxical story, concerning the complexity of the world and the variety of positions and practices.
The Exhibition also aims to be an experience, representing an extroversion movement towards the other, towards a common place and towards the most indefinable dimensions, opening the pathways to a neo-humanism.
Every week, during the six months of the exhibition, the artist and his public will participate to an Open Table (Tavola Aperta) where they can have lunch together and where they can dialogue and talk about the artist’s practice.


The Exhibition offers a route that unfolds over the course of nine chapters or families of artists:

  • two introductory realms in the Central Pavilion;
  • seven across the Arsenale through the Giardino delle Vergini.

Christine Macel has called it  – «an Exhibition inspired by humanism. This type of humanism is neither focused on an artistic ideal to follow nor is it characterized by the celebration of mankind as beings who can dominate their surroundings. If anything, this humanism, through art, celebrates mankind’s ability to avoid being dominated by the powers governing world affairs. These powers, if left to their own devices, can greatly affect the human dimension, in a detrimental sense.»

Each of the nine chapters or families of artists of the Exhibition «represents a Pavilion in itself, or rather a Trans-Pavilion as it is trans-national by nature but echoes the Biennale’s historical organisation into pavilions, the number of which has never ceased to grow since the end of the 1990s.»

READ ALSO: Works by Titian: 2 days in Venice.

The Nine Trans-Pavilions

The Pavilion of Artists and Books opens on a tension between action and inaction, between laziness and active engagement. This section of the exhibition looks at ways of being an artist, the reasons, both good and bad for “making art” today, looking also – with a hint of sarcasm – at the art milieu itself.

The Pavilion of Joys and Fears explores the relationship between the individual and his own existence, his emotions and feelings or the ones he tries to generate. In a world shaken by conflicts, wars, and increasing inequality that lead to populism and anti-elitism, subjective emotions resurface, now more than ever.

Next on our journey, The Pavilion of the Common greets us in the Arsenale around the work of artists exploring the notion of the common world and the way to build a community, as a way to counter individualism and self-interests, which represent a worrisome threat in today’s troubling climate.

Likewise, The Pavilion of the Earth is centred onenvironmental, animal and planetary utopias, observations and dreams. From communitarian utopias reminiscent of the ecological or esoteric ideas typical of the 1970s, to current theories about the ties between climate and capitalist strategies, as well as individual fictions; all conjure both a sense of melancholy and a profound joy.

The Pavilion of Traditions. Traditions that were once rejected in the 18th century by the Enlightenment and later by secular modernity, have re-emerged in the worst sense, , namely fundamentalism and conservatism, sparking rejection and nostalgia for the past believed to be better.

In The Pavilion of the Shamans, many artists subscribe to the definition of the artist as a “shaman”, and there are also those who become “missionaries”, as per Duchamps’s definition, stirred by an internal vision. This figure, which Joseph Beuys made his own, from which few managed to recover, and was mostly -in retrospect- underestimated, takes on today a new dimension, at a time where the need for care and spirituality is greater than ever.

The Dionysian Pavilion celebrates the female body and its sexuality, life and pleasure, all with joy and a sense of humour, and features numerous works created by female artists. The Pavilion is a hymn to sensuality and inebriation, combined with music, dance, singing, and trance as ways to access this dimension, where new states of consciousness seem possible.

The Pavilion of Colours. According to well-known neuroscientific studies, colours do not exist in themselves but are the result of a cognitive function performed by the human brain and eyes as they decipher reality. Colours thus appear to be a particularly subjective source of emotion, which calls to reconsider the relevance of the phenomenological approaches of art.
The Pavilion of Time and Infinity. Time as a flow of continuous mutations and impermanence that eventually lead to death, has inhabited the work of artists since the 1970s, when conceptual performance combined  thoughts on the length of time and the inevitable fall. Reformulated by artists since the 1990s at the time of “presentism”, or suspended time and “hyper-instantaneousness”, the notion of time re-emerges today


120 are the invited artists from 51 countries; 103 of these are participating for the first time.

READ ALSO: The Guggenheim Museum in Venice: The Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Parallel events

Open Table (Tavola Aperta): artists will be the guiding force behind VIVA ARTE VIVA and they will begiven the opportunity to be heard.
Every Friday and Saturdayof every week, during the six months of the exhibition, artists will host an Open Table(Tavola Aperta) and meet visitors over a casual lunch to hold a lively conversation about their practice.
The Open Table (Tavola Aperta) events will be streamed live on La Biennale’s website.
Artists Practices Project: a permanent space will also be created in both Exhibition venues for the Artists Practices Project, a series of short videos made by the artists about themselves and their way of working.
Starting from February 7th until the opening of the Exhibition, videos will be uploaded on la Biennale’s website, giving the public the opportunity to become familiar with the invited artists.
Unpacking My Library: the project titled Unpacking My Library, inspired by Walter Benjamin’s essay published in 1931, allows the artists of VIVA ARTE VIVA to compile a list of their favourite books.
This is both a way to get to know the artists better and a source of inspiration for the public. The list of books will be published in the exhibition at the Central Pavilion and in the catalogue. The books listed by all the participating artists will be available to visitors at the Stirling Pavilion in the Giardini.
Special projects and performances: Several special, site specific and performance projects have been commissioned especially for the Giardini, the Giardino delle Vergini and other venues around the city of Venice.
The performances will all be streamed live on La Biennale’s website. The videos will remain on view in a dedicated room of the Arsenale.

Collateral Events (UPDATE 28 March 2017)

A Bonsai of My Dream – Works by Wong Cheng Pou
Arsenale, Castello, 2126/A (Campo della Tana)
May 13 – November 12
Promoter: The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao S.A.R. Government;
The Macao Museum of Art

Alberto Biasi, Sara Campesan, Bruno Munari e altri amici di Verifica 8+1
Istituzione Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, galleria di Piazza San Marco, 71/c
July 28 – October 8
Promoter: Associazione Culturale Ars Now Seragiotto

Body and Soul. Performance Art – Past and Present
Palazzo Pisani, San Marco, 2810 (Campiello Pisani)
May 13 – November 26
Promoter: Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation

Catalonia in Venice_La Venezia che non si vede
Cantieri Navali, Castello, 40 (Calle Quintavalle)
May 13 – November 26
Promoter: Institut Ramon Llull

Doing Time
Palazzo delle Prigioni, Castello, 4209 (San Marco, Ponte della Paglia)
May 13– November 26
Promoter: Taipei Fine Arts Museum of Taiwan

Fernando Zobel Contrapuntos
Fondaco Marcello, San Marco, 3415 (Calle del Traghetto o Ca’ Garzoni)
May 13 – November 26
Promoter: Ayala Foundation/Ayala Museum

Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice 2017
Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo Polignac, Dorsoduro, 874 (Accademia)
May 12 – August 13
Promoter: Victor Pinchuk Foundation

James Lee Byars, The Golden Tower
Dorsoduro, Campo San Vio
May 13 – November 26
Promoter: Fondazione Giuliani

Jan Fabre – Glass and Bone 
Sculptures 1977–2017
Abbazia di San Gregorio, Dorsoduro, 172
May 13 – November 26
Promoter: GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo

Man as Bird. 
Images of Journeys
Palazzo Soranzo Van Axel, Cannaregio, 6099 (Fondamenta Sanudo)
May 13 – September 5
Promoter: The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Memory and Contemporaneity. China Art Today
Arsenale Nord, Tese n. 98-99
May 13 – November 26
Promoter: The Palace Museum, Beijing

THE Golden Lion (UPDATE 3 May 2017)

Carolee Schneemann is the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 57thInternational Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia – VIVA ARTE VIVA.

Christine Macel, who stated:
«Carolee Schneemann (born in Fox Chase, Pennsylvania, 1939, lives and works in the Hudson Valley, New York) has been one of the most important figures in the development of performance and Body Art.
She is a pioneer of feminist performance of the early 1960s. She has used her own body as the prevalent material of her art. In so doing, she situates women as both the creator and an active part of the creation itself.
In opposition to traditional representation of women merely as nude object, she has used the naked body as a primal, archaic force which could unify energies”.
Carolee Schneemann | Leone d'oro Biennale Venezia

Carolee Schneemann

READ ALSO: Architecture Biennale 2016: Reporting from the front.

The International Jury will award the official prizes of Biennale Arte 2017 (UPDATE 4 MAY 2017)

The Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta has appointed, upon recommendation by the Artistic Director Christine Macel, the International Jury of the 57th International Art Exhibition composed of the following members:
Borja-Villel has been appointed President of the Jury.
Francesca Alfano Miglietti (Italy), Milan-based curator of exhibitions, shows, and conferences. FAM’s research focuses on the issues connected with contemporary changes, as well as an art theorist and lecturer.
Manuel J. Borja-Villel (Spain), director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), and former director of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA).
Amy Cheng (Taiwan), Taipei-based curator and writer, co-founder of TheCube Project Space, which serves as an independent art space devoted to the research, production and presentation of contemporary art.
Ntone Edjabe (Cameroon), journalist and DJ, founder of Chimurenga (a pan-African publication of art, culture, and politics based in Cape Town) and the Pan African Space Station (PASS), and winner of the Principal Award of the Prince Claus Awards in 2011.
Mark Godfrey (Great Britain), Senior Curator, International Art at Tate Modern. He has organised several exhibitions on Sigmar Polke, Francis Alys, Richard Hamilton, and Abraham Cruzvillegas’s Turbine Hall commission. He won the 2015 Absolut Art Writing prize.
The International Jury will award the following official prizes:
· Golden Lion for best National Participation
· Golden Lion for best artist in the International Exhibition Viva Arte Viva
· Silver Lion for a promising young artist in the International Exhibition Viva Arte Viva
The Jury will also have the opportunity of awarding:
· a maximum of one special mention to National Participations
· a maximum of two special mentions to the artists in the International Exhibition Viva Arte Viva

THE Awards of the 57th International Art Exhibition (UPDATE 15 MAY 2017)

Golden Lion for Best National Participation to Germany for a powerful and disturbing installation that poses urgent questions about our time. It pushes the spectator to a state of anxiety. An original response to the architecture of the pavilion, Imhof’s work is also characterized by precise decisions about objects, images, bodies and sounds.
Venue: Giardini.
Special mention as National Participation to Brazil for an installation which produces an enigmatic and unbalanced space in which we cannot feel secure. Both the structure of the installation and the video by Cinthia Marcelle in partnership with filmmaker Tiago Mata Machado evoke the concerns of contemporary Brazilian society.
Venue: Giardini.
Golden Lion for the Best Artist of the 57th International Art Exhibition Viva Arte Viva to Franz Erhard Walther for his work, which brings together forms, colour, fabrics, sculpture, performance and continues to activate the viewer in engaging ways; for the radical and complex nature of his oeuvre that has an impact on our time and suggests a way of living in transit.
Venue: Arsenale – Corderie
Silver Lion for a Promising Young Artist to Hassan Kahn for the special and intimate relationship that his work establishes with the spectator, to whom he suggests a connection between voice, sound and the horizon. His Composition for a Public Park creates an immersive experience which beautifully intertwines the political and the poetic.
Venue: Giardino delle Vergini
This year, there are two Special Mentions awarded to the following artists:
Charles Atlas, for two videos of great visual splendour and sophisticated editing in which images of natural and artificial beauty are joined to words addressing questions of austerity and frustration, sexuality and class.
Venue: Arsenale – Corderie
Petrit Halilaj, for imaginative interventions in the architecture of the Arsenale and Central Pavilion, which create relationships between the history of Kosovo and childhood memories.
Venue: Arsenale – Corderie/Sale d’Armi G – Giardini/Central Pavilion

Giardini biennale | Padiglione Centrale

the 57th International Art Exhibition – The Venice Art Biennale 2017
13 maggio – 26 novembre 2017


Educational activities will again be offered for the year 2017, addressed to individuals and groups of students from schools of all levels and grades, from universities and fine arts academies, and to professionals, companies, experts, architecture fans and families. These initiatives aim to actively involve participants in both Guided Tours and Creative Workshops.
The official catalogue, titled VIVA ARTE VIVA, consists of two volumesVolume I is dedicated to the International Art Exhibition, and is edited by Christine Macel. Volume II is dedicated to the National Participations, the Special Projects and the Collateral Events. The Exhibition Guide is conceived to accompany the visitor through the exhibition.
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2 thoughts on “The Venice Art Biennale 2017

  1. Bonjours ,

    Merci pour toutes ces explications tres bien conçues , mais pour pouvoir visiter une ville comme Venise un petit plan , ou circuit possible serait le bien venu , car pensez que les visitateurs rencontrent enormes problemes de choix de transport . pour avoir un’information il faut attendre des heures , ecc , C’est tres beau , mais c’est ” fatiguant ” pas facile pour les personnes de + 70 ans …merci .

    • Buongiorno,
      non conosco il francese ma con n traduttore ho capito quello che vuoi dire.
      Spero che google traduttore faccia una buona traduzione della mia risposta 😉
      Sì, hai ragione. Venezia è faticosa da vivere come cittadino e soprattutto come turista.
      E’ una città diversa da tutte le altre e quando si arriva in laguna bisogna pensare slow.
      Io consiglio a tutti quelli che arrivano a Venezia di non utilizzare i mezzi pubblici per il trasporto soprattutto se si hanno bambini molto piccoli oppure se non si è energici come un tempo.
      Spostarsi a Venezia con un taxi è sicuramente più costoso ma evita tanti problemi ed è più rilassante.
      Per il resto Venezia va visitata non pensando alle comodità ma ammirando la bellezza.
      Je ne connais pas le français mais avec n traducteur je comprends ce que tu veux dire.
      J’espère que google translator fera une bonne traduction de ma réponse 😉
      Oui, tu as raison. Venise est fatigante à vivre en tant que citoyen et surtout en tant que touriste.
      C’est une ville différente de toutes les autres et quand vous arrivez à la lagune, vous devez penser lentement.
      Je recommande à tous ceux qui arrivent à Venise de ne pas utiliser les transports en commun pour le transport, surtout si vous avez de très jeunes enfants ou si vous n’êtes pas aussi énergique qu’autrefois.
      Se déplacer à Venise en taxi est certainement plus cher mais cela évite beaucoup de problèmes et est plus relaxant.
      Pour le reste, Venise doit être visitée sans penser aux commodités mais en admirant la beauté.

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