125 years of history. Two world conflicts, social and political upheavals such as the ones during 1968, the collapse of the great Cold War blocks, the terrorism years, from the revolution imposed by computerized communication and by the new global borders, up to… the pandemic, which is still worrying the world.
While it is true that the Venice Biennale has had to forgo its great International Architecture Exhibition this year, it is also true that this Institution has reacted with strength, showing it is able to deal with the most complex and unsettling events in history once again.
Thus in September all of its venues, from the Gardens at Castello to the Arsenal to the Cinema Palace at the Lido, have been wholly reopened to the public, with the utmost attention for regulations and special precautions due to our times.
The International Film Festival, the Theatre and Music Festivals and, during this month of October, the Dance one, have been and will continue to be an emblem for the world of art and of the arts, as hubs in Venice for the top international art-scene productions and avant-garde.
Indeed, because even though the Biennale was born as an International Art Exhibition (in 1895), it has since evolved during the years, understanding that in order to really round-off the world of art, it had to deal with each one of its facets, or even better, with all the ones we may call its Muses.
Therefore, its various departments were born within the Biennale (so named due to its periodical occurrence), each representing a different art: Music in 1930, Cinema in ’32, Theatre in ’34; Architecture in 1980, Dance in ’99.
History, troubled Times, Arts, Muses…
This is where the idea for a new experience sprang from, a sort of exhibition that might act as a window and a dialogue for the six Biennale arts for the first time. So a special showcase has opened for its 125th foundation anniversary: The Disquieted Muses. When La Biennale di Venezia Meets History.
Firmly wished by Roberto Cicutto, the new Foundation President, overseen by all of its six artistic directors and made possible thanks to its impressive Historical Archive of Contemporary Arts (ASAC), it tells us about the Biennale’s long journey and its crucial moments through testimonies, vintage films and artworks.
In addition to this exhibition, only accessible to the public by means of online ticketing until 8 December, the Biennale features further important opportunities during this month, beginning with its Contemporary Music Festival, which will continue this month up to 4 October.
It will then be the turn of the International Dance Festival, directed by Canadian choreographer Marie Chouinard, which will attract the public’s attention from 13 to 25 October: two weeks of performances featuring 19 choreographers, authoring 23 titles, but also meetings and films, all unfolding along the suggestive circuit of the Arsenal.
Still at the Arsenal, up to 25 October, the Biennale will also offer a programme (only by booking) of free guided tours at an exhibition – The Biennale at the Arsenal 1998/2020 – showing the renovation and restoration work carried out by the Venetian institution within that area.
Another opportunity to be found instead at the Giardini venue, will be offered by the Venezia Pavilion through Special Openings, a series of meetings concentrated over the weekends, presenting special Guests to the public, on topics that will not only involve art but many other disciplines too.
Naturally, however, not only the Biennale exists. There are also many other parallel opportunities.
Among them, those offered by art exhibitions – we may recall those at the Rooms of Glass, at Palazzo Grassi, at Punta della Dogana, at the Casa dei Treoci – and by the main museums – from the Ducal Palace to the Correr Museum, from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to the Galleries of the Accademia – all of which have now reopened full-time.
Shows also include La Fenice Theatre and for sports enthusiasts, the Venice Hospitality Challenge, a true Grand Prix on water reserved for maxi-yachts; the Veleziana, a non-competitive regatta, an ideal closing festivity for the sailing season and also, finally, the prestigious VeniceMarathon, which will have the extra task this year of managing restrictive safety regulations.