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Meetings on Art at the Biennale Arte 2019

A programme of conversations, performances, and talks. On Saturday 14 September, at 2:30 pm, the meeting with Ralph Rugoff, Tomás Saraceno and Margaret Wertheim.



Throughout the six months of the Exhibition the public will be able to learn more about May You Live In Interesting Times from the voice of its protagonists. The Curator Ralph Rugoff will meet with some of the participating artists to further explore some of the main themes of the Exhibition.

The program will include lectures from some of the participating artists: a conference addressing art’s relationship with technological, social and environmental issues will take place at Teatro alle Tese Arsenale on September 14th, 2:30 pm; led by Ralph Rugoff, the meeting will involve artists participating in the Exhibition such as Tomás Saraceno and Margaret Wertheim.

As part of the Pavilion of Applied Arts Special Project,  a symposium on Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa will be chaired by Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia, and feature as speakers Marysia Lewandoska and Angela Vettese (on October 22th).

Lastly, Paolo Baratta and Ralph Rugoff will meet the public on Sunday, November 24th at the Teatro alle Tese Arsenale to discuss the legacy of this year’s Exhibition.

11-12 MAY / 22-23-24 NOVEMBER

The performances, which will run during the opening weekend and the closing days of the Exhibition, will activate the ‘in-between’ spaces of the Biennale’s Giardini areas, outdoor walkways, and interior spaces in short and durational episodes. In addition, the Teatro alle Tese and the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale will host an array of performances, scheduled daily, and create a focused space for the unfolding of more concentrated narratives.              

“This year’s Exhibition, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, will highlight art that exists in between accepted categories and genres – said Ralph Rugoff - and which questions the rationales behind our categorical thinking. The performance programme will exemplify this kind of approach, testing aesthetic, behavioural and social conventions in a wide range of events”.

The programme will include artists that are defining this generation of performance such as boychild, Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, Vivian Caccuri, Cooking Sections, Invernomuto, Paul Maheke, Nkisi, Nástio Mosquito, Victoria Sin, Florence Peake and Eve Stainton, Vivien Sansour, Zadie Xa, Bo Zheng, and others. Within their diverse practices - spanning dance, music and visual art - they open up new possible readings of broader culture territories. Through their omnivorous curiosity in hybrid and transnational approaches, they propose more complex forms that challenge the perception of the times we currently live in.

Artistic organizer Aaron Cezar.
With the additional support of Arts Council England and Delfina Foundation.


In relation to the Thinking Head installation in the Central Pavilion and for the duration of the steam clouds, there will be a series of closed-door roundtable discussions, hosted in a bunker-like performance space. There will be no audience, though the talks will be streamed, recorded and available online at and

Each roundtable will be led by a chair, with participants from different disciplines that will discuss the theme they have been invited for. The theme for each will be a single keyword, chosen for its currency and relevancy as a topic for open discussion.

The intention for these roundtables is to bring out new thoughts and points of view. Lara Favaretto would like them to produce uncertainty, failure, and criticism.

According to Ralph Rugoff, “For the artist, these intensive conversations produce the knowledge that generates the steam rising from the building. The endpoint for each roundtable, with the input of individuals from different fields that communicate through different languages, is to create an outcome that isn’t immediately decipherable, and which may even be clumsy or out-of-place”.


-Saturday , May 11th | Giardini

12 noon - 2 pm
Nástio Mosquito - No.One.Gives.A.Mosquito’s.Ass.About.Our.Performance
(2-hour processional work )

3 pm – 5 pm
Zadie Xa - Grandmother Mago
(2-hour processional work)

Tomàs Saraceno with guests - Spider/Web Pavilion readings programme

-Saturday, May 11th | Arsenale | Giardino delle Vergini

4:30 pm
boychildUntitled Hand Dance (20’ approx.)

-Saturday, May 11th | Arsenale | Tese dei Soppalchi

5 pm
Paul Maheke Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer *deep within* (20’ approx.)
Tarek Atoui* The GROUND Sessions (30’ approx.) with the performers/musicians: Julia Giertz, Vivian Wang, Shane Aspegren, Alan Affichard, Igor Porte.

-Saturday, May 11th | Teatro Piccolo Arsenale

6:30 pm
Victoria Sin – A View From Elsewhere (1 hour approx.)

-Sunday, May 12th | Giardini

Tomàs Saraceno with guests Spider/Web Pavilion Readings programme

-Sunday, May 12th | Teatro Piccolo Arsenale

11 am
Victoria Sin - A View From Elsewhere (1 hour approx.)

5:30 pm
Florence Peake and Eve Stainton - Apparition - Apparition (30’ approx.)

-Sunday, May 12th | Arsenale | Giardino delle Vergini

4:30 pm
boychildUntitled Hand Dance (20’ approx.)

-Sunday, May 12th | Arsenale | Tese dei Soppalchi

5 pm
Paul Maheke Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer *deep within*  (20’ approx.)

-November 22nd – 24th | Arsenale | Teatro alle Tese and Teatro Piccolo

Closing Performance Programme:
Vivian Caccuri, Cooking Sections, Invernomuto, Paul Maheke & Nkisi, Vivien Sansour, Bo Zheng

“In conversation with the artists”

-Saturday, September 14th and Sunday, September  15th | Arsenale | Teatro alle Tese

2:30 pm
Ralph Rugoff + Tomàs Saraceno + Margaret Wertheim

-Tuesday, October 22nd | Arsenale | Teatro alle Tese

2:30 pm
Omaggio a Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa: Paolo Baratta, Marysia Lewandowska, Angela Vettese (as part of the Pavilion of Applied Arts Special Project)

-Sunday, November 24th | Arsenale | Teatro alle Tese

2:30 pm
Paolo Baratta and Ralph Rugoff in conversation

The programme may subject to change.

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