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Biennale Arte 2022: The Milk of Dreams – Venice, Italy

23 Apr — 27 Nov 2022

The 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, titled The Milk of Dreams, will open to the public from Saturday, April 23 to Sunday, November 27, 2022, at the Giardini and the Arsenale; it will be curated by Cecilia Alemani and organised by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Roberto Cicutto. The Pre-opening will take place on April 20, 21 and 22; the Award’s Ceremony and Inauguration will be held on 23 April 2022.

In 2021, La Biennale di Venezia launched a plan to reconsider all of its activities in light of recognized and consolidated principles of environmental sustainability. For the year 2022, the goal is to extend the achievement of “carbon neutrality” certification, which was obtained in 2021 for the 78th Venice International Film Festival, to all of La Biennale’s scheduled activities, which include the 59th International Art Exhibition, the Theatre, Music and Dance Festivals and the 79th Venice International Film Festival.

The Exhibition will take place in the Central Pavilion (Giardini) and in the Arsenale, including 213 artists from 58 countries; 180 of these are participating for the first time in the International Exhibition. 1433 works and objects on display, 80 new projects are conceived specifically for the Biennale Arte.

The Milk of Dreams takes its title from a book by Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) – Cecilia Alemani stated – in which the Surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination. It is a world where everyone can change, be transformed, become something or someone else. The Exhibition The Milk of Dreams takes Leonora Carrington’s otherworldly creatures, along with other figures of transformation, as companions on an imaginary journey through the metamorphoses of bodies and definitions of the human.
This Exhibition is grounded in many conversations with artists held in the last few years. The questions that kept emerging from these dialogues seem to capture this moment in history when the very survival of the species is threatened, but also to sum up many other inquiries that pervade the sciences, arts, and myths of our time. How is the definition of the human changing? What constitutes life, and what differentiates plant and animal, human and non-human? What are our responsibilities towards the planet, other people, and other life forms? And what would life look like without us?
These are some of the guiding questions for this edition of the Biennale Arte, which focuses on three thematic areas in particular: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth.

“As visitors move through the Exhibition in the Central Pavilion and the Corderie, they encounter five smaller, historical sections: miniature constellations of artworks, found objects, and documents, clustered together to explore certain key themes. Conceived like time capsules, these shows within the show provide additional tools of investigation and introspection, weaving a web of references and echoes that link artworks of the past – including major museum loans and unconventional selections – to the pieces by contemporary artists in the surrounding space. This wide-ranging, transhistorical approach traces kinships and affinities between artistic methods and practices, even across generations, to create new layers of meaning and bridge present and past. What emerges is a historical narrative that is not built around systems of direct inheritance or conflict, but around forms of symbiosis, solidarity, and sisterhood.”

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