The Encyclopedic Palace – The 55th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia

Today the theme and title explored in the next Venice Biennale, curated by Italian Massimiliano Gioni (Busto Arsizio, 1973) – well known already since his being the double of Maurizio Cattelan as well as for his successful curating around the globe from New York to Berlin, from Gwangju to Milan – has been announced: The Encyclopedic Palace.

Massimiliano Gioni – la Biennale di Venezia

The title takes inspiration from self-taught Italian-American artist Marino Auriti who, in the words of the curator, “on November 16, 1955 filed a design with the US Patent office depicting his Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedic Palace), an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge, bringing together the greatest discoveries of the human race, from the wheel to the satellite. Auriti’s plan was never carried out, of course, but the dream of universal, all-embracing knowledge crops up throughout history, as one that eccentrics like Auriti share with many other artists, writers, scientists, and prophets who have tried – often in vain – to fashion an image of the world that will capture its infinite variety and richness. These personal cosmologies, with their delusions of omniscience, shed light on the constant challenge of reconciling the self with the universe, the subjective with the collective, the specific with the general, the individual with the culture of her time.”

“Today, as we grapple with a flood of information, such attempts to structure knowledge into all-inclusive systems seem even more necessary and even more desperate – explained Gioni. The 55th International Exhibition of Art will explore these flights of the imagination in a show that—like Auriti’s Encyclopedic Palace—will combine works of contemporary art with historical artefacts and found objects.”

The exhibition will place at its heart “a reflection on the ways in which images have been used to organize knowledge and shape our experience of the world.” Inspired by what scholar Hans Belting has called “an anthropology of images”, the Biennale Arte 2013 curated by Massimiliano Gioni will attempt “an inquiry in the realms of the imaginary and the functions of imagination. What room is left for internal images – for dreams, hallucinations and visions – in an era besieged by external ones? And what is the point of creating an image of the world when the world itself has become increasingly like an image? How far does the domain of the imaginary extend, when people are still fighting in the name of images?”

“Like the theatres of memory devised in the 16th century by Venetian philosopher Giulio Camillo – mental cathedrals invented to order knowledge through pictures and magical associations – the exhibition “Encyclopedic Palace” will compile – concluded Gionia cartography of our image-world, composing a bestiary of the imagination.”

It somewhat reminds us of the last Documenta, in its sort of all encompassing approach embracing other disciplines as well as productions not necesserely related directly to art, but indeed, we believe the issue is absolutely interesting in relation to contemporaneity and we are really looking forward to visit it!

Dates: 1st June to 24th November 2013

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