Published on Tuesday 4 October 2016

The title was announced by Christine Macel during a meeting held on 22 September 2016 at Palazzo Ca Giustiniani, the headquarters of the Biennale di Venezia

The meeting was attended by representatives of 57 countries consisting of the commissioners of the National Pavilions, as well as the international curators. Arts Council Malta was represented by its Internationalisation Associate Dr Romina Delia along with the curators of the Malta Pavilion Dr Raphael Vella and Ms Bettina Hutschek.

Christine Macel, the fourth woman to direct the Venice Biennale, and also chief curator at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, explained the theme of the 2017 international art exhibition: “In a world full of conflicts and jolts, in which humanism is being seriously jeopardized, art is the most precious part of the human being”. She said that: “It is the ideal place for reflection, individual expression, freedom and fundamental questions. It is a ‘yes’ to life, although sometimes a ‘but’ lies behind. More than ever, the role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are crucial in the framework of contemporary debates.”

Christine Macel “is a curator committed to emphasizing the important role artists play in inventing their own universes and kindly injecting vitality into the world we live in”, President Paolo Baratta said in January 2016, on the day of Macel’s appointment. Last week, Baratta added that “by finding inspiration in a “humanist” vision and keeping the focus on the artist’s creative act the Exhibition will also promote a new and more intense conversation between visitors and many of the artists on display, through a programme of meetings specifically designed for the occasion.” 

The Exhibition organically evolves in a sequence of pavilions, rooms and stanze, offering the spectator an experience, i.e. a journey, from the interior to infinity. These pavilions or Trans-pavilions, which gather artists of all generations and origins, follow one another like chapters of a book. From the “Pavilion of artists and books ” to the “Pavilion of time and infinity”, a dozen universes tell a conversational and sometimes paradoxical story, concerning the complexity of the world and the variety of positions and practices. The Exhibition also aims to be an experience, representing an extroversion movement towards the other, towards a common place and towards the most indefinable dimensions, opening the pathways to a neo-humanism.

No artists have been announced for the show yet, but Christine Macel’s statement detailed the structure of “Viva Arte Viva.” In addition to this show, there will be a project called “Unpacking My Library.” Borrowing its name from a Walter Benjamin essay, this project will feature a list of the artists’ favourite books. Every week, during the six months of the exhibition, the artist and the public will participate in an Open Table (Tavola Aperta) where they can have lunch together and where they can dialogue and talk about the artist’s practice. Every day, during the weeks before the opening of the Exhibition, a video will be posted on the Biennale official website, giving the opportunity to uncover the artists even before the Exhibition”.

The 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, which will open on the 13th of May 2017 will also present, as is traditional, the National Participations with their own exhibitions in the Pavilions at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, and in the historic city centre of Venice.

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