The President of La Biennale di Venezia, Roberto Cicutto, and the Curator of the 59th International Art Exhibition, Cecilia Alemani – appointed as the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts Department by the former Board of Directors on January 10, 2020 –, announced the title and theme of the Biennale Arte 2022, which will be held from 23 April to 27 November 2022 (pre-opening on 20, 21, 22 April) in the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and at various sites around Venice.
The 59th International Art Exhibition will be titled The Milk of Dreams. This name is borrowed from a book by Leonora Carrington, in which, as Cecilia Alemani says, “the Surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination, and where everyone can change, be transformed, become something and someone else. The exhibition takes us on an imaginary journey through metamorphoses of the body and definitions of humanity.”
Cecilia Alemani explains her choice:
«The Exhibition takes its name from a book by Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington (1917-2011). In the 1950s, while living in Mexico, Carrington dreamed up and illustrated mysterious tales, first directly on the walls of her home, then in a small notebook called The Milk of Dreams. Told in a dreamlike style that seemed to terrify young and old alike, Carrington’s stories describe a world set free, brimming with possibilities. But it is also the allegory of a century that imposed intolerable pressure on the individual, forcing Carrington into a life of exile: locked up in mental hospitals, an eternal object of fascination and desire, yet also a figure of startling power and mystery, always fleeing the strictures of a fixed, coherent identity. »
«This Exhibition is grounded in many conversations with artists which took place over the past months. The questions that kept emerging seem to capture this moment in history, when the very survival of the species is threatened, but also to sum up doubts that pervade the sciences, arts, and myths of our time. How is the definition of the human changing? What constitutes life, and what differentiates animals, plants, humans, and non-humans? What are our responsibilities towards the planet, other people, and the other organisms we live with? And what would life and the Earth look like without us? »
«The exhibition focuses on three themes in particular: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth. »
President Roberto Cicutto also stated:
«Cecilia Alemani focuses her “imaginary journey through metamorphoses of the body and definitions of humanity” on a series of questions about the “doubts that pervade the sciences, arts, and myths of our time”.
The title of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition, curated by Hashim Sarkis, is also a question: “How will we live together?”.
These two choices are the product of the current times, which lack all certainty and burden humanity with immense responsibilities.
In 2020, Cecilia Alemani coordinated the work of the directors of all the departments of La Biennale (Art, Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music, Theatre) in organizing the exhibition Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses). When La Biennale Meets History.
The restiveness and assumption of responsibility inherent in the artistic act were the inspiration for the exhibition, which told much of the story of La Biennale. Today the starting point for the next Biennale Arte seems to be the reinvention of new and more sustainable relations between individuals and the universe we live in.
What better way could there be for Cecilia Alemani, than through these two experiences, to open new doors for the future Biennales?»
The 59th International Art Exhibition will also feature, as usual, the National Participations, with each country presenting its own exhibition in the Pavilions of the Giardini and the Arsenale, and in the historic centre of Venice. This edition will once again include a selection of Collateral Events organized by international institutions, which will hold their own shows and initiatives in Venice.
Download full statement by Cecilia Alemani