The 55th Venice Biennale takes place at the historic Giardini and Arsenale as well as at various venues throughout the city.
This year's event is curated by Massimiliano Gioni and is titled The Encyclopedic Palace, inspired by Italian-American artist Marino Auriti’s concept of an encyclopaedic museum of world culture in Washington DC that would be 136 stories tall and cover 16 city blocks.
Highlighting the more-than 150 artists from 137 countries, whose work spans a century, Gioni states: “the exhibition is structured like a temporary museum that initiates an inquiry into the many ways in which images have been used to organise knowledge and shape our experience of the world.”
Some of the best known artists include Nauman, Sherman and Serra while there are also a number of more obscure and younger artists from around the world. There is a significant amount of participating artists from the US, UK (mainly with a solo exhibition by Jeremy Deller but also with work by Scottish and Welsh artists), Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Poland, as well as further afield destinations such as Pakistan, Senegal, Nigeria, Argentina and Japan.
A novelty this year is the first-ever pavilion by the Vatican that will feature three themes and three artists; Creation by Studio Azzurro, Destruction by photographer Josef Koudelka, and Rebirth by Lawrence Carroll. Studio Azzurro is a studio of new media artists in Milan. Koudelka, a Czech-born photographer, made his name with his images of the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968. Carroll is an abstract painter from the United States, born in Australia. The Holy See’s participation has been organised by the Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as a renewed affirmation of the relationship between faith and art.