The Disquieted Muses. When La Biennale Meets History
Immagine: Renato Guttuso, bozzetto di scena, Atto Secondo, Quadro primo per “Lady Macbeth of Minsk”, 1947
La Biennale di Venezia, to mark the 125th anniversary of its foundation, is presenting Le muse inquiete (The Disquieted Muses). When La Biennale Meets History, an exhibition by the Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts – ASAC, to be held in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini della Biennale from Saturday, August 29 to Tuesday, December 8, 2020.
This is the first exhibition to be curated by all the artistic directors of La Biennale’s six departments. Working together, they have used the one-of-a-kind sources of the Historical Archives of La Biennale and other Italian and international archives to retrace key moments during the 20th century when the Biennale crossed paths with history in Venice.
Cecilia Alemani (Art), Alberto Barbera (Cinema), Marie Chouinard (Dance), Ivan Fedele (Music), Antonio Latella (Theatre), and Hashim Sarkis (Architecture) have drawn on the materials of the ASAC, Istituto Luce-Cinecittà and Rai Teche, but also on the records of the Galleria Nazionale Arte Moderna di Roma, Fondazione Modena Arti Visive, Archivio Ugo Mulas, Aamod-Fondazione archivio audiovisivo del movimento operaio e democratico, Archivio Cameraphoto Arte Venezia, IVESER Istituto Veneziano per la Storia della Resistenza e della società contemporanea, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Fondazione Ugo e Olga Levi, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia Roma, and Tate Modern London.
For this exhibition, the directors have selected rare footage, first-hand accounts, and a range of artworks, following various lines of research to examine the many times when the history of La Biennale has overlapped with the history of the world—revealing or generating institutional rifts and political and ethical crises, but also new creative languages.
The exhibition is laid out in the rooms of the Central Pavilion and weaves its way through all six disciplines: from Fascism (1928-1945) to the Cold War and new world order (1948-1964), to the unrest of ’68 and the Biennales chaired by Carlo Ripa di Meana (1974-78), then from the postmodernism to the first Architecture Biennale and until the 1990s, and the beginning of globalization.
In a period of global instability that over the course of just a few months has brought a succession of environmental disasters, new pandemics, and social revolutions, La Biennale di Venezia serves as a wellspring and channel for the most innovative currents in the artistic disciplines of our era—but also continues to bear witness to the many shifts and crises that have supervened from the late nineteenth century to the present, like a seismometer recording the tremors of history.