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The Venice Biennale has been for over 120 years one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world.

This year, the exhibition - also known as the Olympic Art Games - is curated by Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery in London and it includes 79 artists from all over the world. Divided into two distinct samples, one being the Arsenale and the other the Central Pavilion of the Giardini, both spaces spread around the city, showcase all artists works of sculpture, painting, films, videos, spatial and digital installations.

Here are the winners of 2019's edition:

 

 

 

Golden Lion for Best National Participation: SUN AND SEA (MARINA) by Lina Lapelyte, Vaiva Grainyte and Rugile Barzdziukaite. 

Sun & Sea (Marina) its a critique of leisure and of our times as sung by a cast of performers and volunteers portraying everyday people. The installation takes place on an artificial beach composed through light, architecture and music and exposes vacationers in colourful bathing suits lying next to each other on a sandy ground, while the audience observing them from above. Frivolous micro-stories slowly give rise to broader, more serious topics and grow into a global symphony, a universal human choir addressing planetary-scale climate change.

 

 

  

Special Mention to a National Participation: Mondo Cane by Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys

MONDO CANE presents itself as a local folkloric museum that displays the human figure. Silent, pale and frightened, the pavilion’s inhabitants appear as aestheticized shells, stuck in a loop of formal activity that the visitor perceives as odd and out of touch with contemporary reality. 

 

 

 

Golden Lion for Best Artist at the international exhibition: The White Album (2018) by Arthur Jafa 

The “White Album” is a timely and timeless groundbreaking exploration of whiteness from the perspective of an African-American filmmaker, based on a powerful collection of images and snippets of videos — from the internet, news broadcasts and other sources - meld in an unexpected and provocative montage, spliced together on a 40-minute loop in what might appear to the casual observer as a stream of conscious confusion.

 

 

Silver Lion for Best Young Artist: Haris Epaminonda

Epaminonda’s use of materials is careful and meticulous; the objects she selects are vehicles of meaning by virtue of their form as well as materiality, out of which Epaminonda weaves unimagined narratives. In this manner, materials and their treatment almost imperceptibly enrich her art with geographical, cultural, and, not least importantly, symbolic references.

 

 

 

Special Mentions: Teresa Margolles and Otobong Nkanga

Teresa Margolles Sierra is a photographer, videographer and performance artist. Her artistic work focuses on exploring the social causes and consequences of death, denouncing the violence that plagues Mexico with the aim of positioning murders on public debate tables. 

On this year's edition, she presented a wall of concrete blocks from a public school in front of which a reckoning with 4 people involved in organised crime took place in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

 

 

 

Otobong Nkanga explores the social and topographical changes of her environment, observes their inherent complexities and understands how resources such as soil and earth, and their potential values, are subject to regional and cultural analysis. 

 

 

Golden Lion for the Artistic Trajectory: Jimmie Durham

Lifetime Achievement to American-born, Berlin-based artist Jimmie Durham. Primarily known as a sculptor, creating pieces that incorporate both natural and inexpensive everyday materials. The artist, who also works in drawing, collage, photography, and video, consistently examines the ambiguity of identity and the way society aims to categorize individuals.

 

 

 

 

The exhibition is an invitation to see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear. The focus of this year’s celebration is our current “post-truth” era and how artists reflect it creating complex, multi-level spaces of thought, making possible to re-evaluate our terms of reference.

May 14, 2019 by La Boutik