May You Live In Interesting Times – La Biennale De Venezia

Issue | 47
Compiled | Talha Ahmed Kehar
Photography | As mentioned

Venice Biennale opened to the public on May 11th 2019, the title for this iteration being “May You Live in Interesting Times”. The usage of “interesting times” immediately evokes a sense of hopefulness and dread, this sentiment was mirrored by the Biennale President Paolo Baratta.

“Where the expression ‘interesting times’ evokes the idea of challenging or even ‘menacing’ times, but it could also simply be an invitation to always see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation, thus, that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear”

In truth we do live in interesting times, so interesting that perhaps one may not know where and when to focus their attention. The exhibition facilitates conversation and discourse around diverse subject matter such as; climate change, the rise of jingoism, inequity in wealth, the pervasive power of social media, and other topics which for many are either off limits or alien.

According to curator Ralph Rugoff the exhibition “highlights artworks whose forms function in part to call attention to what forms conceal and the multifarious purposes that they fulfil.” Rugoff views the artworks as suggestions for how to live in and think in ‘interesting times’.  With this in mind each exhibit may be seen as short manifesto or guide on what it means to exist in the present day.


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