Curator Okwui Enwezor has outlined very exciting plans, and I’m looking forward to see how they will manifest. His work as a writer and curator is seminal — both for contemporary art in general, but for Africa and its diaspora in particular. I am keen to see the artists he puts forward and the questions he addresses. In 2013, Angola won the Golden Lion, and more and more African countries are joining in with the global dialogue that Venice creates. It will be interesting to see what Angola and other countries from the continent will present for the 56th edition.
I’m really looking forward to All the World’s Futures, Okwui Enwezor’s main exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Enwezor is a curator who manages to engage with contemporary art in a way that is really relevant to the times we’re living in.
I always try to look at art within the wider context of things, not in the narrow framework of art for art’s sake, and I find what Enwezor is doing very interesting in that respect. I’m anticipating an exhibition that will somehow chart current socio-political changes and radical historical ruptures — that will be an exploration of both social and material conditions today.
More importantly, I think it is going to be a project that will attempt to re-appraise the relationship between art and artists and the world today. Enwezor’s work echoes something that I’m really very interested in — a notion maintained by sociologist Paul Gilroy, namely that there is an urgent conversation taking place, with some of the most interesting, progressive and radical ideas being put forward by artists and cultural practitioners, as opposed to politicians and academics.
Italo Calvino referred to his need to be constantly on the move but to have places of familiarity that allow deep experience, which is how I think of Venice — being a guest, rather than a visitor. So I very much look forward to the 56th International Art Exhibition, especially since it’s curated by Okwui Enwezor. He brings huge intelligence and a global perspective that has helped alter the face of international contemporary art and our institutions.
The Biennale president Paolo Baratta referred to Enwezor’s interest in ‘the complex phenomenon of globalisation in relation to local roots’ and I will enjoy seeing that theme played out in Venice, together with pavilions that include wonderful artists, such as Joan Jonas, Fiona Hall, Paz Errázuriz and Lotty Rosenfeld, Sarah Lucas and herman de vries.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is contributing a collateral exhibition of work by Ursula von Rydingsvard in the midst of the Biennale, and Clare Lilley is curating a Jaume Plensa project in the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore.
The personal connection in Venice is particularly important to me and Okwui Enwezor has done a wonderful job in fostering this feeling for us all through his various interviews and presentations around the world.
For more features, interviews and videos from Venice, see our Venice Biennale Blog