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REVIEW: The 58th Venice Biennale

By Serene Fu

May You Live in Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff, the American director of London's Hayward Gallery, is the title of the 58th Venice Biennale. Capitalising on a false Chinese proverb to represent 'menacing times' and 'fake news', this year's exhibition resonates the world over as it attempts to capture the cultural zeitgeist.

The open-ended title enables the 79 artists participating in the main group show to cover an array of issues contingent to our time. It reflects on tensions surrounding race, immigration, populism, authoritarianism, the environment, and other contemporary anxieties. The biennale, which runs from 11 May - 24 November 2019, also explores the complexity of history while challenging oversimplification. 

Rugoff showcases two different works by each artist ー one in the Arsenale and the other in the Central Pavilion (Giardini). The curated exhibition also sees an upsurge in female artists (over 50% are women), producing the m…

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