Collateral Events at the Venice Biennale 2024

Collateral Events at the Venice Biennale 2024

This year’s Venice Biennale not only provided an opportunity to explore the theme of Foreigners Everywhere but also fostered an ecosystem of collateral happenings that enriched the cultural dialogue, some extended beyond the Biennale’s themes while others completely diverted from it. Artvisor looks at a selection of some of these auxiliary events.

swell of spæc(i)es – LAS Art Foundation 

The Accademia di Belle Arti featured an immersive installation by Josèfa Ntjam (b.1992, France) installed in the courtyard. A union of multi-dimensional and AI footage entitled swell of spæc(i)es became ‘an alchemical process in perpetual agitation’. Accompanying the production is a soundscape composed by Fatima Al Qadiri that creates an ambient backdrop. 

The installation centres around the idea of future theories and alternate planes of existence. At its core, Ntjam relies on Dogon cosmology, a theory richly affiliated with the interconnectivity of the universe. The artist produces interspecies based on models of marine life scans of West African statuary and photographs of decolonial independence movements. Through these influences and visual interpretations, Ntjam reflects histories threatened by hegemonic erasure, offering marine and cosmic landscapes as a means of salvatory revival.

Josèfa Ntjam, Swell of Spæc(i)es, 2024, Film Render, Commissioned by LAS Art Foundation at The Accademia di Belle Arti, Venice Photo: Kitty Atherton

Artist: Josèfa Ntjam

Curator: Carly Whitefield, Sophie Korschildgen, Zoe Büchtemann

Exhibition Dates: 20 April – 24 November 2024

South West Bank – Landworks, Collective Action and Sound at Magazzino Gallery

This collaborative show located on the ground floor of the Palazzo Contarini-Polignac explores land, agriculture, and heritage in a shifting topography, calling upon themes of memory and traditions oriented around the idea of ‘home’.  

Dima Srouji (b.1990, Palestine), one of the artists and Artvisor collaborator, provided a powerful piece called Untitled (Onion Mask), depicting three Australian soldiers in gas masks sitting on bags of onion skins during the 1940 British Mandate in Gaza. Glasswork onion bulbs blown in Palestine hang in front of the canvas creating a symbolic effect evoking tear gas that was used at the time to enforce British occupation. 

Dima Srouji and Jasbir Puar, Untitled (Onion Masks), 2023, from the series Revolutionary Enclosures, Photo: Kitty Atherton

Artists: Samer Barbari, Adam Broomberg, Duncan Campbell, Rafael González, Isabella Hammad, Shayma Hammad, Chris Harding, Baha Hilo, Emily Jacir, Sebastián Jatz Rawicz, Benjamin Lind, Jumana Manna, Michael Rakowitz, Mohammad Saleh, Vivien Sansour, Andrea de Siena, and Dima Srouji. Participants from the Researching Palestine Zine Group coordinated by Chris Harding include Suzannah Henty, Raghad Hilal, Ramzi Nimr, Hanna Salmon, Laura Tibi and Marta Wodz.

Curator: Jonathan Turner

Exhibition Dates: 20 April – 24 November 2024

Lost Directions at N Contemporary

A new space for N Contemporary , whose sister gallery is located in Milan took over a converted location on the Giudecca for their inaugural show Lost Directions, a collaboration with Urs Lüthi (b.1947, Switzerland), Silvia Rosi (b. 1992, Italy) and Santiago Reyes Villaveces (b.1986, Columbia).Villaveces London show, Rarities, at Artvisor looks into the artist’s graphite works in a uniquely commissioned showcase. It furthers his questioning on the knowledge systems aimed at controlling and exploiting nature. 

Lost Directions bridges the personal research and practice of each artist with this new space. Located on a peninsula looking out onto the Punta della Dogana, this peripheral space is the perfect area to host the intersection of these three artists. Taking its name from Urs Lüthi’s own work, displayed on the entrance, this show unites interdisciplinary works in a manner that is both harmonious in its theme, and dissonant for their narrative resonances and material manifestations.

Installation View of Santiago Reyes Villaveces’ work at Lost Directions, N Contemporary, Venice, Photo: Kitty Atherton

Silvia Rosi explores cultural history and the post-colonial diaspora which traces her Togolese heritage and origins. The artist uses photos and videos to restore the identity of populations. The video work centres around the artist with books balanced on her head, often a practical mode of transport in African traditions, and a symbol of bearing knowledge, traced back to the artist’s most recent research on the Ewe and Minà languages, spoken in Ghana and Togo, which are being threatened with erasure through colonisation,. The structural resilience of the artist’s form in this video art reaffirms the solidity of the artist’s identity politics, and the hope for educational and postcolonial reforms. 

Santiago Reyes Villaveces explores the concept of collective identity in his exploration of knowledge systems used by humanity to commodify nature. In particular, his work ‘Meanders’, a graphite rendering of Colombian rivers, is conceived in a manner that is as organic as the river itself. The graphite composition explores how human intervention, much like Rosi’s work, can alter nature’s course, changing its direction. It offers a complimentary offset in its exploration of humanity’s imposition on nature, against Rosi’s more sociological inquiry. 

Providing a third dimension to the show, Urs Lüthi’s body art, a product of a lifetime of self portraiture further explores personal identity, inquisitive image making  sculpture, and installation. Honing in on the complexities of the individual, Lüthi complements the broader thematics of the exhibition.

Artists: Santiago Reyes Villaveces, Silvia Rosi, Urs Lüthi  

Curator: Valeria Conti

Exhibition Dates: 6 April – 18 May 2024

Estranged from Nature at Zuecca Projects

Located just outside the Arsenale grounds, this exhibition space was once a storage room for gondolas and has been transformed into an immersive space hosting large-scale paintings by Romanian contemporary artist Ioan Sbârciu (b.1948, Romania). 

The artist confronts themes of estrangement, loss and resilience in an exhibition that aligns with the thematics central to the Biennale. The three pieces entitled Cinder Forest, Transylvanian Lights and Infinite Landscape are breathtaking in their magnitude and embellish the walls in a manner that draws a likeness to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de L’Orangerie. The experience is somewhat cyclical in its return to nature as these canvases were transported via boat to a space that previously  hosted them. 

Using his neo-Romanticist expressionism approach, Sbârciu provides the impression of abstraction upon first glance, and yet encourages further investigation to unveil their likeness to a sublime bucolic landscape with a brooding undertone that calls into question more consequential themes like the manner in which humanity should proceed in their relationship with nature. The curator notes there is a ‘closeness of calamity’ and this is clear in the underlying visual darkness that permeates each earthly vision. There is vibrancy as well as an opportunity to meditate on the paintings’ depth and poetry.

Installation view of Ioan Sbârciu Estranged from Nature at the Zuecca Projects Venice, Photo: Kitty Atherton

Artists: Ioan Sbârciu

Curator: Maria Rus Bojan and Alessandro Possati 

Exhibition Dates: 16 April – 14 July 2024

Pierre Huyghe’s Liminal at the Pinault Collection

The Punta della Dogana hosted French artist Pierre Huyghe’s (b.1962, France)foreboding exploration of otherness. The exhibition space cast into darkness, transforms  it into a transitory state that hosts both human and non-human creatures. Video installations  perpetually transform and evolve, close to forming a likeness to human forms before disintegrating into an abstract matter. In this regard it calls into question contemporary relationships we have with one another and as mentioned in the press release whether we ‘become strangers to ourselves’. 

Throughout the show there are elements of futurism, whether materiality or through subject matter Huyghe uses this as a platform to explore fiction as ‘vehicles for accessing the possible or impossible’ by way of a speculative journey.

Installation view of Pierre Huyghe Liminal at the Pinault Collection, Venice, Photo: Kitty Atherton

Artists: Pierre Huyghe

Curator: Anne Stenne

Exhibition Dates: 17th March 2024 – 24th November 2024

The Sound of Many Waters at Roman Road

Thai painter Channatip Chanvipava (b.1993, Thailand) presents The Sound of Many Waters. Curated by Marisa Bellani and exhibited in a 17th-century Venetian intimate ‘dimora’. Chanvipava’s work investigates selfhood and transforms water into a symbol of connection and division, resonating with his focus on the complexities of queer identity.  

Chanvipava’s compositions are rich in their vibrancy and have a thick textural quality. The artist avoids preliminary sketches to achieve a result that is both meditative and energetic in what the curator describes as a ‘tapestry of recollections’. The pieces radiate beyond the canvas itself, onto the reflective mounts that allow the palette to dance in its reflection akin to the quality of water.

Installation view of Channatip Chanvipava The Sound of Many Waters, Venice, Photo: Kitty Atherton

Artists: Channatip Chanvipava

Curator: Marisa Bellani

Exhibition Dates: 17 April – 27 May 2024

Breasts at ACP Palazzo Franchetti

This iconic collaborative exhibition, showcasing over 30 groundbreaking artists both established and emerging, confronts ideas of sexuality, motherhood, controversy and more.

Amidst the sensitive studies of the organ, Olivero Toscani’s (b.1942, Italy) 90s United Colors of Benetton campaign stood as just one example of graphic agitation, collapsing the boundaries of expectation upon entering the space. Works include Artvisor collaborator  Nobuyoshi Araki (b.1940, Japan), who displayed 67Shooting Back, a union of the artists typical exploration of flowers paired with Japanese rope bondage introducing a suffocating contrast between themes of fertility, sensuality and censorship.

Artists: Nobuyoshi Araki, Charlotte Colbert, Hans Feurer, Lakin Ogunbanwo, Laura Panno, Aurora Pellizzi, Cindy Sherman, Chloe Wise, Bernardino del Signoraccio, Louise Bourgeois, Christopher Bucklow, Adelaide Cioni, Charlotte Colbert, Teniqua Crawford, Salvador Dalì, Giorgio de Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, Richard Dupont, Giovanni Ferrero Ventimiglia, Philippe Garner, Paa Joe, Allen Jones, Sherrie Levine, Prune Nourry, Laura Panno, Irving Penn, Laure Prouvost, Issa Salliander, Jacques Sonck, Masami Teraoka, Oliviero Toscani, Anna Weyant, Robert Mapplethorpe.

Curator: Carolina Pasti

Exhibition Dates: 18 April – 24 November 2024