Venice has always been an important city at global level, especially thanks to its history as a hub of international trade between East and West. For the past 120 years, this beautiful lagoon town has placed itself at the center of the international arts world by hosting one of the most famous and prestigious cultural organizations in the world: Venice Biennale.
La Biennale di Venezia stands at the forefront of research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, and organizes exhibitions and research in the sectors of Arts, Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music and Theater. As the name suggests, it takes place every two years.
Right as we publish this post, Venice Biennale is hosting the 72nd Venice International Film Festival, which runs from 2nd to 12th September 2015. Did you know that this is the oldest film festival in the world?
Let’s take this opportunity to explore the contemporary spirit of Venice through the Biennale.
A bit of history
The history of the Venice Biennale dates back to 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. The hosting venue was Palazzo dell’Esposizione, built specifically for the event with a design by architect Enrico Trevisanato, and a neoclassical facade by Venetian artist, Marius De Maria.
The first exhibition, which opened on 30 April 1895 in the presence of King Umberto I and Queen Margherita di Savoia, eventually registered an outstanding 224,000 visitors!
New festivals were born in the 1930s: Music, Theater and Cinema. The Venice Film Festival in 1932 was the first film festival ever organized, and still today, it is considered as one of the most prestigious of the kind.
The first International Architecture Exhibition took place in 1980, while Dance made its debut at the Venice Biennale in 1999.
The Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts document the complete history of these majestic biannual events. This library features over 145,000 volumes regarding sources of interest inherent to the institutional disciplines of the Biennale: visual arts, architecture, film, music, dance, theater and mass media, over a period of time that goes from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.
Venice International Film Festival
The oldest film festival in the world has remained a prestigious event worldwide due to the quality of its selection and the recent refurbishing of its historic buildings and technological supplies.
The aim of the Festival is to raise awareness and promote the various aspects of international cinema in all its forms: as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue.
The 2015 festival involves the screening of a number of movies grouped under the following themes/competitions:
- Venezia 72: International competition of feature films, presented as world premieres
- Out of Competition: Important works by directors already established in previous editions of the Festival
- Orizzonti (Horizons): An international competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends in international cinema
- Venice Classics : A selection of restored classic films and documentaries on cinema, among which a restored version of Federico Fellini’s film Amarcord
- International Critics’ Week : a series of 7 films – debut works – independently organized by a commission nominated by the National Syndicate of Italian Cinema Critics (SNCCI)
- Venice Days : Independent section promoted by the Italian Association of Filmmakers ANAC and 100 Autori
- The Festival also hosts the “Biennale College – Cinema” which is a higher-education training workshop for the development and production of micro-budget feature-length films; and “Final Cut in Venice”, a workshop to support the post-production of films from Africa and the Middle East.
The Art Biennale has been recognised as the world leader in contemporary art exhibitions. The countries participating have increased from 59 in 1999 to 89 in 2015.
The 56th International Art Exhibition is titled “All The World’s Futures”. It was opened to the public on 9th May and lasts until 22nd November 2015, with the participation of over 136 artists. Of the works on display, 159 were realized especially for the 2015 Biennale.
Nigerian art critic, writer and educator Okwui Enwezor curates the art event. He was ranked 24 in the ArtReview list of the 100 most powerful people of the art world in 2014.
Another important and entertaining event that will be happening in 2015 under the wide Biennale umbrella is dedicated to music. Biennale Musica will take place from 2 to 11 October and feature 18 concerts with 31 new works, of which 16 are world premieres. The event will revolve around the theme of “Memory”.
Biennale Danza took place in June 2015, involving 105 selected artists in 11 workshops held by choreographers and contemporary dance experts. The 43rd International Theatre Festival was held from 30 July to 9 August, featuring 13 shows and 18 workshops to showcase young talents.
Finally, the Architecture Biennale also takes place every 2 years, but in even years. The 15th International Architecture Exhibition will be held from May 28th to November 27th 2016.
Venice Biennale and the next generation
The organizers of the Biennale have placed great importance in the involvement of the local community, and in particular of the younger generation.
This relationship has been strengthened through educational activities and guided visits, with the participation of a growing number of schools and universities. There is even an international project called Biennale College, which aims at granting more research and production opportunities addressed to young artists, directly in contact with recognised teachers. This is a great way to spread and inspire creativity among the new generation.
One fantastic example of how the organization tries to involve children is the creation of the International Kids’ Carnival, which reached its 6th edition in 2015. The goal of this educational project of La Biennale di Venezia is to inspire the creativity and participation of children with performances, exhibitions, workshops, the creation of masks and costumes. This not only stimulates the direct involvement of the participants, it also allows them to explore Venice and its Carnival traditions in a unique way.
What about you?
Have you ever witnessed a prestigious and historic art event such as La Biennale di Venezia? Whether you have or haven’t, you probably never thought of it as a great opportunity to spend quality, enriching time with your family and friends. Visit Venice in the mid or low season for an authentic experience, when there are less visitors around. And join hidden or less known activities that engage, educate and entertain both adults and children alike! If you would like to find out more, contact Italian Spacial Occasions now.
PHOTO CREDITS: all images are taken from www.labiennale.org and its social media pages