Venice Biennale Names 213 Artists for ‘Transhistorical’ 2022 Edition.
Like many major art events, the Venice Biennale has faced challenges associated with the pandemic—this year’s edition was originally slated to take place in 2021 but was postponed a full year. When that delay was announced in 2020, Alemani made it clear that she did not want to curate what she called “the coronavirus biennial.” “Often, during times of crisis, there is a shift in artistic production, and if that happens, I want to try to capture it,” she told ARTnews at the time.
Because of the delay, this summer will offer a rare moment in which the Biennale will coincide with Documenta, a touted quinquennial in Kassel, Germany. Documenta this year is being organized by the Indonesian collective ruangrupa, whose artist list is largely devoid of people who show frequently at biennials in Europe.
By contrast, the Venice Biennale includes some artists who are well-known in the U.S. and Europe, including Barbara Kruger, Cecilia Vicuña, and Paula Rego. Still, the focus is primarily artists who are young or under-recognized.
And while the Biennale has long included dead artists in its main exhibition, Alemani’s edition is set to feature even more figures from bygone times than usual. At a press conference announcing the artist list on Wednesday, she said her exhibition would include what she called “time capsules,” which will be aspire to highlight themes and artists from the early 20th century.
Alemani called her Biennale “a transhistoric exhibition, creating a dialogue between the present and past and creating a dialogue between stories of exclusion.” Included in those capsules will be loans from various collectors and institutions, including Remedios Varo’s Armónia (Autorettrato Surgente), 1956, which was bought by Eduardo F. Costantini for a record-breaking $6.19 million in 2020. Across the show, and especially in the “capsules,” there will be an emphasis on Surrealism by women and gender nonconforming artists.
“The exhibition is rooted in posthuman thought,” Alemani said. “Many contemporary artists are imagining a posthuman condition challenging the presumed Western condition using the white man as a measure of all things. They propose difference alliances, fantastic bodies. This is why the exhibition includes a large amount of female and gender nonconforming artists.”