Headline June 04, 2019/ '' 'VENICE BIENNALE 2019' ''

'' 'VENICE BIENNALE 2019' ''

EVER HEARD ANCIENT CHINESE CURSE : ''May you live interesting times''? Well, it is not one. Despite being quoted as such for more than 100 years -

The whole curse idea is a urban myth, a shaggy dog story, fake news. That's one of the reasons Ralph Rugoff, the curator of London's Hayward Gallery and of the central exhibition at  this year's Venice Biennale, chose it as his title.

The work he brings together to address these calamitous time is plural, multi-faceted and questions everything.

Venice Biennale curator Ralph Rugoff's exhibition is vast, filling the Central Pavilion at the Giardini and a sizable stretch of  the Arsenale, the city's erstwhile ship-building powerhouse, but it's still only a fraction of the whole.

This year, 90 countries are represented, with a further 21 ''collateral projects'' and a raft of other concurrent events, from the monumental paintings of Georg Baselitz at the Gallerie d' Accademia to the delicate, perfectly judged ceramics Edmund de Waal in the Jewish Ghetto.

Rugoff's show differs from previous biennales in a number of ways : he has selected artists on a  50/50 ratio of male/female, from a broad international base and shows work by all 79 in each venue.

He has chosen only living artists and much of the work here is new or very recent.

The work is multifarious, from painting, sculpture, photography and film to virtual reality, computer game-style animation, robotics and Instagram feeds.

The tone ranges from playful to poignant, dreamy to discursive.

There is no theme or message, but the question to which it returns time and again is : in a world in which we are swamped with visual information, much of it unreliable, can art still communicate some kind of truth?

Jordan's Lawrence Abu Hamdan examines walls and borders, with a film made in the cell-like  studios of the former state radio headquarters in East Berlin and footage of a protest in the Golan Heights in 2011 where the barrier was breached and four Palestinians killed.

Palestinian photographer Rula Halawani visits similar territory with poignant photos of same wall at night.

Teresa Margolles, making work about drug violence in Mexico, installs an actual section of the wall from the city of Juarez, pock-marked with bullets and topped with barbed wire, while-

While Shilpa Gupta, in a new iteration of the work she showed at Edinburgh Art Festival last summer creates a chorus of voices of writers who have been imprisoned for their work.

Hito Steyerl's multi-screen installation for the Giardini considers the submarine designed by Leonardao da Vinci to help Venice defend itself against the Ottomans, then kept secret by him because he feared its potential for destruction.

Steyerl's ambitious installation in the Arsenale. This is the future considers the problem of making predictions and asks, in a rare explicit : ''Why didn't anyone predict Brexit?''

The presence of the marginalised is a recurring theme, as in Soham Gupta's photographs Kolcatta's night people, and the work of Tavares Strachan, who focuses on untold stories, particularly those from non-while communities.

His work in the Arsenale illuminates the figure of  Robert Henry Lawrence, the first African-American astronaut, who died in a training accident in 1967 and was marginalised in NASA history.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Sights, Sounds and World History continues. The World Students Society thanks writers and authors of Scotsman.Com.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the World.

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