Venice Biennale 2017: why i didn’t like it and why you must visit it

Biennale Venezia | Padiglione Russia


It may seem a strange thing that I write a bad review of the Venice Biennale 2017, and at the same time I suggest that you visit it.
After the Biennale 2013, dedicated to artists and thinkers, and the Biennale 2015 characterized by fragmentation and all the world’s possible futures, in this edition curated by Christine Macel, entitled VIVA ARTE VIVA I expected a Venice Biennale 2017 made up of hopes and artists able to describe the dream of a better world.

Michelangelo Pistoletto | Biennale Venezia

I was disappointed!
The Venice Biennale 2017 is, as the curator said “a Biennale designed with artists, by artists and for artists, about the forms they propose, the questions they ask, the practices they develop and the ways of life they choose”.
Fine words, but the public? Did they think of us? No, they didn’t think of us, ordinary visitors, at all, and almost certainly it was for this reason that I felt like I didn’t understand anything (the exhibition has two venues as I wrote in the post containing 5 things to know about the Biennale, and I suggest that you read it before visiting it, in order to prevent the most common mistakes typical of first-time visitors to the Biennale.


I exited the Venice Biennale exactly the way I entered it.
No inspirations, no messages to bring home, after hours spent walking from a Pavilion to another, having the feeling that I was always losing something. I wrote a post to help you orient yourself, telling you where you can buy the tickets of the Venice Biennale, and to prevent you from making the mistakes typical of those who visit the Biennale.
I got the general impression that the artists are closed in their own visionary worlds we can’t understand because we are outside. And then, I found outside the Biennale the most interesting things, indeed.
In fact, this year outside the boundaries of the Biennale, Venice is the home of contemporary art, and there I found ARTE VIVA.


I found the most interesting artists in the space of the One Contemporary Art, located in an almost hidden place near the Chiesa del Redentore (Church of the Redentore).
I discovered Jack Jano, who made his life enter art, and art is his life.

I found the lives of the most fascinating artists in the Isola di San Giorgio, where you can find the works and the life of Michelangelo Pistoletto, of Alighiero Boetti, and of architect Ettore Sottsass, who dedicated his works to glass, the symbol of Venice.

I saw the most beautiful works of art along the Grand Canal: the hands by Lorenzo Quinn, the sculptures by Damien Hirst, which are the prelude to a spectacular exhibition I described with enthusiasm (read the post Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable to find out more about Damien Hirst’s exhibition in Venice). And n the Guatemala Pavilion where dream merges with poetry, and where you can admire an artwork by the Italian artist Andrea Prandi.


Princes and Popes don’t support the artists anymore, but in the 21st century leading brands play an important role in the world of art.
At the Venice Biennale 2017 both Swatch and Illy Caffè support the works and the projects of several artists who manage to enter our lives through ordinary objects.

Biennale Venezia | Swatch

Il Padiglione di Swatch alla Biennale di Venezia

Biennale Venezia | Illy caffè

Illy alla Biennale di Venezia, Magazzini del Sale

READ ALSO: Venice events, exhibitions and more.

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2 thoughts on “Venice Biennale 2017: why i didn’t like it and why you must visit it

    • Grazie Anna, la Biennale va vista perché ogni volta è diversa. E così deve essere affinché resti viva.
      Quest’anno c’è troppa la curatrice, i Padiglioni nazionali e gli artisti sono troppo autoreferenziali.
      L’idea di partenza non è neppure malvagia, ma è stata sviluppata da tutti in modo caotico.
      Per me la più bella Biennale di sempre resta quella di 4 anni fa, curata da Massimiliano Gioni.

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