The Venice Biennale

Anna M.

The Venice Biennale is one of the biggest art exhibitions in the world to date. And with its first exhibition dating back to 1895, it is Venice’s richest historical event.

This Art exhibition started when Napoleon gave Venice “The public gardens”. It was supposed to be used as a green space because all fashionable country capitols in Europe had one at the time. But in 1895, the mayor of Venice wanted to launch an international art exhibition. Countries were invited from all over Europe to showcase their work in buildings called “pavilions”. Now you have to take into account that these public gardens were massive. Big enough to have over 29 ofthese pavilions.Obviously not every single country has a pavilion in the gardens but most of the pavilions are from Europe and not all of them were directly inside the gardens, butwhen a new pavilion was built for a country, it wouldn’t be too far out.

Now you’re probably wondering what the Venice Biennale looks like today. Every two years, several countries send their finest artists to represent them on a world stage. This exhibition is very visually demanding, like an Olympics for the arts. Most of the pieces of art mirror the political and cultural attitude of the country in that time. The Biennale is such a big part of the world that its not so much what the world would be like without it, but more so how it has shaped the world around it. The curators alter their pavilions to suit their needs. The layout needs to be flawless and every corner of that pavilion needs to connect with what the artist is trying to portray. Sometimes just the tiles of the floor would be replaced, and other times they would knock the building down and start off from scratch.

Tourists are one component of the Venice Biennale that are extremely paradoxical. They alter Venice’s infrastructure greatly by coming for this important and grand exhibition, but also coming into peoples homes and into their businesses. For example, food shops, that have been in those areas for years and provided families with a steady income, are closing down. And in their place, we get tourist shops selling masks and other trinkets. But at the same time it has to be said that, Venice really comes to life during the Biennale. The Giardini della Biennale is closed during the whole year. The only time that people are allowed to enter, even the citizens, is during the Biennale. If the exhibition were year round, it would always be open to visitors and citizens. So I guess you could say that with an event that has a really rich history, it hasn’t been the richest of times for the citizens of Venice.


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