In 2017, Anne Imhof rearranged the German Pavillion in order to create relationships between gesture, position, and the architecture of the space. The choreographed multi-performer durational performance titled “Faust” lasted seven months and won her the Golden Lion. In the French Pavillion, Xavier Veilhan emphasized the artistry of music by hosting musicians to both create new work and perform in front of biennial-goers. This year a series of performances are part of the biennial’s official public program, “Meetings on Art,” co-produced by the Delfina Foundation and Venice Biennale, commissioned by Arts Council England.
Ralph Rugoff, Artistic Director of the 58th Venice Biennale of Art, and Aaron Cezar, Director of Delfina Foundation, have selected Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, boychild, Paul Maheke, Nástio Mosquito, Florence Peake & Eve Stainton, Victoria Sin, and Zadie Xa to perform during the opening week. These artists interrogate identity politics through the concepts of nationality, gender, and intersectionality. They consider the architecture of representation and how language, as articulated through the body and the voice, can reaffirm or refuse conventions. According to Delfina Foundation’s press release, expanding on the theme of this year’s central exhibition, “May You Live in Interesting Times:” “The special performance programme will exemplify this kind of approach, testing aesthetic, behavioral and social conventions in a wide range of events.”
The Teatro Piccolo Arsenale will host scheduled performances and other performances that “will activate the ‘in between’ spaces of the biennale’s gardens and galleries in short and durational episodes, occurring at designated times or occupying space without notice.”
During the opening week, it is also possible to see many other performances. Tsedaye Makonnen, a D.C.-based artist, for instance, will be conducting a guerrilla performance at the Arsenale.
Closing the biennial, the second part of the biennial’s official program will take place during the final weekend of the Venice Biennale, 22-24 November 2019. It will present works by Vivian Caccuri, Cooking Sections, Invernomuto, Paul Maheke, Nkisi and Ariel Efraim Ashbel, Vivien Sansour, and Bo Zheng.
For those who are not attending the opening or the last week of the biennial to see the official performance program will be able to catch the opera “Sun & Sea (Marina)” at the Lithuanian Pavillion playing for the full duration of the biennial.
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Anna Mikaela Ekstrand is editor-in-chief and founder of Cultbytes. She mediates art through writing, curating, and lecturing. Her latest books are Assuming Asymmetries: Conversations on Curating Public Art Projects of the 1980s and 1990s and Curating Beyond the Mainstream. Send your inquiries, tips, and pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.