May You Live in Interesting Times — the exhibition takes its title from a fictitious ancient Chinese proverb presumably fabricated by a British diplomat in the 1930s. The interesting times is the ‘post-truth’ era we live in with its active use of manipulation and fake news transferred through the mass media and social networks. The worlds of alternative facts and parallel realities are presented in an innovative split of the presentation in the Giardini and the Arsenale into two separate exhibitions: Proposition A and Proposition B. Selected to participation are 79 living artists and art-groups from all over the world. They explore problematic histories and social situations by mixing documentary traditions with subjective or theatrical elements; other participants explore histories related to race, gender and sexuality. The exhibition aims at re-imagining the possibilities of the interesting times through artistic practices. Art is seen as an opposite to the narrowing of communication in the era of lies that is able to activate viewer’s responses and interpretations. It helps
incite multidimensional feelings and make new unexpected connections between things.
Ralph Rugoff will speak about the novel approach he took to the curating of the biennale, including the selection of the theme, artists and artworks, as well as the open-ended character of the artist-viewer exchange; the effects the biennale has on the global cultural processes; about his own curatorial projects in the making and overall, about his experience of curating in interesting times.
The talk will take place in English with simultaneous translation. Event partner — Italian Institute of Culture in St. Petersburg. The event is free to the public. Prior registration is required. Seating capacity is limited — please arrive early.
La Biennale di Venezia (est. 1895) is one of the most prestigious and anticipated contemporary art forums in the world. Throughout the decades, it has maintained its ability to anticipate new trends in arts, while aiming at presenting artists under renewed perspectives. The current 58th edition of the biennale is open until 24 November 2019.
About Ralph Rugoff
Based in London, Ralph has been Director of the Hayward Gallery since May 2006. Over the past 11 years, Ralph has curated many acclaimed solo exhibitions by Jeremy Deller, George Condo, Tracey Emin, Ed Ruscha and Carsten H?ller. During his tenure at the gallery, Ralph has also curated numerous group exhibitions including: ‘Psycho Buildings: Artists Take on Architecture’ (2006); ‘The Painting of Modern Life’ (2007), and the recent off-site exhibition ‘The Infinite Mix’ (2016). In 2019, Ralph was Artistic Director of La Biennale di Venezia 58th International Art Exhibition and in 2015, he was the Artistic Director of the XIII Biennale de Lyon titled ‘La vie modern’. Prior to his appointment at the Southbank Centre, Ralph was the Director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco. Between 1985 and 2002 he wrote art and cultural criticism for numerous periodicals, publishing widely in art magazines as well as newspapers, including Artforum, Frieze, The Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times.
New Now at Manege is Manege’s annual initiative presenting a series of stimulating talks with leading figures of the international cultural processes. Among the speakers are new directors of famous museums and cultural institutions, directors of recently opened cultural centers, curators of major biennials and exhibitions. It is exactly they who form the cultural agenda of today and set the direction of its further development. Programme curated by Anna Kirikova (Manege).