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Venice Biennale: A Lacklustre Year

Published on , by Alain Quemin

Ralph Rugoff is head curator of the international selection of the 58th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art at the Arsenale and in the central pavilion, and both are disappointing.

Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976), For, In Your Tongue I Cannot Fit, 2017-2018, sound installation... Venice Biennale: A Lacklustre Year
Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976), For, In Your Tongue I Cannot Fit, 2017-2018, sound installation with 100 speakers, microphones, printed text and metal rods, "May You Live In Interesting Times", 58th Venice International Art Exhibition.
Photo Italo Rondinella - Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia
It is now a familiar pattern: every two years, the press reports on the limits of the Venice Biennale, and even on the frank disappointment it engenders. From a high mass, unfortunately the event has too often become a contemporary art fair. To stand out, showiness sometimes prevails over appropriateness or relevance, and the artistic dimension suffers accordingly. The 58 th Venice Biennale is no exception. This year, the disappointment is largely due to the boredom felt when roaming through the international selection in the Arsenale and, especially, the Giardini sections. Chaotic hangings increase…
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