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Venice Art Biennale 2024 Theme Announced

The curator and art director of the 60th Venice Biennale, Adriano Pedrosa, has announced the main theme of next year’s exhibition. Explores the notion of “being a foreigner” and will focus on all those who are often, figuratively and literally, outside the borders – exiles, emigrants, and outsiders.

Brazilian Adriano Pedrosa is the Biennale’s first Latin American curator and the first director from the Southern Hemisphere. He was the artistic director of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo. The choice of theme illustrates a situation where in a world rife with multiple crises that force people to move both inside and outside the borders of their countries, we will meet foreigners wherever we go. Pedrosa emphasizes that every person is a foreigner with their own traditions and culture. Thus, the concept of the show in 2024 has a double meaning for the curator. It is assumed that we meet everywhere those whom we perceive as foreigners, but also “no matter where you find yourself, you are always really and deep inside yourself a foreigner.” Pedrosa noted that this feeling is often characteristic of artists.

The title of the theme is taken from the Stranieri Ovunque (“Foreigners Everywhere”) series of works, launched in 2004 by the Claire Fontaine concept team from Palermo. The duo was founded in Paris by Italian artist Fulvia Carnevale and British artist James Thornhill. Their Aliens Everywhere series consists of simple neon signs with slogans written in various languages. In each case, it reads ambiguously and can be taken both as a fact and as a threat.

Pedrosa noted that “the backdrop for the work of Claire Fontaine is a world full of multiple crises related to the movement and existence of people in different countries, nations, territories, and borders, which reflect the dangers and pitfalls of language, translation, ethnicity. They express differences based on identity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, wealth and freedom.” The curator promises to focus on immigrant, expatriate, diaspora, exile, and refugee artists. However, the Italian translation of the word “foreigner” also means “stranger” in a broader sense. To this end, the exhibition will also feature all sorts of marginalized artists, as “often they are treated like foreigners in their own land”.

Artists are expected to “deep into more formal matters with their foreign accent”. The Biennale will show works reflecting this approach, as well as historical works of the 20th century from the underrepresented modernist movements that flourished in the global South. The focus will also be on the Italian artistic diaspora, which emigrated to Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Arab world, where it contributed to the development of modernism at the international level. In 2022, there were 80 national pavilions at the Biennale, and the number is likely to increase. Thus, the Republic of Benin will take part in the 60th Biennale for the first time.

Biennale di Venezia, April 20 to November 24, 2024.

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