Press conference in
Berlin, 9 March 2005
For the first time in the110-year-long history of the Venice
Biennial, the artistic direction of the international exhibition is headed
by two people, and for the first time ever by women. The Spaniards María
de Corral and Rosa Martínez present two independent exhibitions
which complement one another, with artworks spanning from the
1970s up to the present, including new works created especially for the Biennial.
Scheduled for the fall of 2005, Robert Storr (USA) conceives an international
symposium on contemporary art. In 2007, Storr takes over the artistic direction
of the 52nd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennial.
In March 2005, at press conferences held in several major cities, the president
of the Biennial and the curators elaborated on the concepts and list of artists,
and publicized further details. In Berlin, where we participated, we were
rather surprised that María de Corral and Rosa Martínez played
down the expectations for showing the new. Martínez, who presents
in the arsenal the works of 49 artists, regretted not having more time for
research. For the Italian pavilion, in the Giardini, María de Corral
conceived a show, part retrospective, with 42 artists. She made clear from
the start that her concern was not today’s much-attempted universalism;
nor did she planned to incorporate as many artists as possible from so-called
peripheral regions. In her opinion, the major exhibitions of recent years
(such as Documenta11) have proven that exceptional artistic achievements
from Africa, Asia, and Latin America come from artists currently living in
western metropolises anyway. There seems to be a problem here with point
of view, but more about this appears on our pages devoted to the individual
Compared to the previous edition, the scope of both international exhibitions
for this year’s Biennial is considerably reduced. In 2003, as many
as 300 artists were represented in 10 exhibitions. While the meaning of the
Biennial generates debates in the international art scene for years now,
questioning in particular the national presentation, the number of countries
and regions represented in Venice, with their own pavilions or exhibitions,
steadily increases just the same. Included for the first time this year are
Afghanistan, Albania, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, and Belarus.
Like with our tours through the last two Biennials, this year’s report
also concentrates on artists whose cultural home is Africa, Asia, and
Latin America, this being, after all, the focus of our project Universes
in Universe - Worlds of Art.
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