The 59th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale throws open its doors tomorrow and if we take a peep through the keyhole, as we have done over these past few days of previews, we get the feeling that it’s going to be an edition worthy of The Thousand and One Nights (AKA The Arabian Nights). This Biennale will feature ‘stories’, mostly told by women artists (191) from countries such as Dakar, Venezuela or Iran.
The inspiration comes from The Milk of Dreams, a children’s story-book written by artist Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) who was born in England, lived in Paris (where she bonded with the Surrealists, becoming one of them herself), and later chose to go and live in Mexico, a country she saw as a pure and green Eden and which, in turn, raised her to the status of a national heroine. Leonora’s biography exudes southern magic and sets the tone for this exhibition which unfolds between the Biennale Gardens and the Venetian Arsenal: 1433 works by 213 artists from 58 countries.
Accordingly, we’ve prepared a telescope with a feminine flavour (or shade) for this 59th Biennale, one that will allow us to look upwards at the stars: not only because that’s where dreams are to be found, but also so as to divert our eyes away from the present. After all, as the title of the Italian Pavilion featuring artist Gian Maria Tosatti reminds us, although we may be living through a “History of the Night”, there’s no doubt that a “Destiny of Comets” will follow. And we’d definitely like to start keeping a sharp lookout for this new Milky Way.