By Polina Victorova
The forum is gathering masters from 89 countries, with an amazing 4,000 accredited journalists attending. Venice is known as one of the world’s major tourist destinations, drawing guests from all five continents. Local citizens may not be delighted by seeing crowds of bearded painters in the street, behaving noisily, but nothing can be done to change this: the Venice Biennale breaks all records for the number of foreign nationalities in attendance. The forum demonstrates the best of modern art, with entry to the major venues of the Giardini and Arsenal costing just 20 Euros. Additionally, hundreds of exhibitions are open free of charge.
The official launch began with an awards ceremony. This year, its ‘Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement’ went to American Elaine Sturtevant (who reproduces famous works) and to French sculptor Franz West. Moreover, the best artist, the best pavilion and the best young artist are to be awarded, chosen via a professional preview. Experts, art critics and gallery runners have already begun their work in Venice, with modern Belarusian artists attending for the first time. The Belarusian pavilion solemnly opened at the Biennale, featuring works by Yuri Alisevich, Artur Klinov, Konstantin Kostyuchenko, Victor Petrov and Denis Skvortsov.
The curator and author of the Belarusian pavilion’s concept, Mikhail Borozna, tells us, “We’ve met all the requisites given to us, receiving many visitors and positive reviews; interest in Belarusian art is evident. Yesterday, Victor Petrov presented a 3m long graphic illustration of his own literary work, while other performances were given in keeping with the theme of the pavilion. We’re showcasing the Kodex project — a modern interpretation of the text illustration. We’re delighted that the Director of the present Biennale, Swiss Bice Curiger — the Curator of Kunsthaus Zurich and Editor-in-Chief of Parkett (one of the most authoritative and innovative contemporary art magazines in the world) — gave a warm welcome address at our opening. Some members of the art world were convinced that Belarusian painters are too conservative, being apologists for Chagall and Malevich, but I’m convinced that we’ve changed their opinion. In Belarus, diverse forms of art flourish, while many authors create original works from modern ideas.”
Venice is hosting the exhibition for at least four months, so any visitors to Italy this summer should certainly drop by the Belarusian exhibition at the Biennale. You’ll be warmly welcomed.