Trendwatching around the world: Tosilab @Biennale di Venezia 2017
You’ve almost certainly heard of the Biennale di Venezia, a magical event that – especially for those involved in the design world – always throws up a wealth of art and ideas, making it a must-see trendwatching destination.
The Biennale di Venezia is a contemporary art exhibition, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious. Originally established in 1895 as a cultural society (which organized the world’s first Biennial Art Exposition to promote artistic creativeness and stimulate the art market in Venice and Italy), the Biennale di Venezia still strives to set new trends and showcase artistic creativity, all in the context of a major international contemporary art exhibition. It’s easy enough to see where the ‘biennial’ tag comes from (the two-yearly cadence of the event). Over time, though, the word has taken on a deeper meaning, being used as a synonym for a great international event.
The history of the Biennale di Venezia
It all began back in 1893, when a group of intellectuals, headed by Riccardo Selvatico, then mayor of the regional capital of Venice, came up with the idea of establishing a biennial art exhibition. Today, the event is held at the Padiglione Centrale (Central Pavilion), the official headquarters of the main Biennale d’Arte exhibition located near the Biennale Gardens. The building was initially called Palazzo Pro Arte, then Padiglione Italia. Later buildings (from 1907 onwards)- the so-called National Pavilions (Padiglioni Nazionali)- were designed by famous architects (Scarpa, Stirling, Aalto, Giacometti, etc.) and give a taste of the world’s different architectures.
Key editions include the one in 1930, when the Biennale d’Arte effectively became autonomous and started focusing on European trends (not just those of the Veneto region and Italy); the 1980 edition, when the Corderie dell’Arsenale area of Venice was opened up to host the first edition of the Venice International Biennial Architecture Exhibition, directed by Paolo Portoghesi; then, in 2011/2012, a special edition celebrated the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.
Biennale di Venezia 2017
Open to the public from 13th May to 26th November 2017, the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale d’Arte has everything you’d expect from a great international event:
120 individual artists and collectives taking part
103 artists and collectives exhibiting at the Biennale for the first time
51 participating countries
85 national participations in the historic Padiglioni ai Giardini, the Arsenale and Venice’s historic city centre, including new entries Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati and Nigeria.
The concept underlying this edition of the Biennale di Venezia is the story of life: it is, just as the event’s curator, Christine Macel, wanted it, the keystone of the exhibition. Hence the title for this year’s show: VIVA ARTE VIVA. This is a big change of direction compared to previous editions. In recent years, in fact, works exhibited at the Biennale mainly revolved around abstract arguments such as ideological considerations or technological concepts. At this 57th edition, instead, the flesh-and-bone subject of Life takes centre-stage.
The exhibition promises to be new and exciting, also from an organisational standpoint: during the event there will be lunchtime meetings with the artists, round tables between audience and exhibitors (every Friday and Saturday), creating a constructive climate and providing enthusiasts with precious ideas and inspiration.
Needless to say, Tosilab’s trendwatching team – always on the lookout for new international trends and developments – was at the Biennale di Venezia: check out the photo gallery!
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