As anticipation builds ahead of next year’s 60th Venice Biennale, which runs from April 20 to November 24, 2024, news is finally emerging about what audiences should expect. Last month, the driving theme of “Foreigners Everywhere” was announced by chief curator Adriano Pedrosa. Not shying from a politically-loaded term, he hopes that the main exhibition will reflect on themes of migration and exile, as well as diasporic and Indigenous experiences, including marginalization and otherness more generally. “Foreign” forms and styles will also be given a platform, specifically the less-represented modernist movements that were made or reinvented in the Global South.
While we wait to see which artists Pedrosa plans to spotlight with this intriguingly open-ended theme, a steady stream of national pavilion announcements reminds us that the Venice Biennale has long served as a meeting place for “foreigners” from across the globe. We will keep updating this list as more nations announce their artists, curators, themes, and venues.
Artist: Renzo Martens and members of the art collective Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC)
Curator: Hicham Khalidi
Venue: Giardini and the “White Cube” gallery in Lusanga, the DRC
What to know: The Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) is a group of Congolese artists who previously worked on a plantation owned by the consumer goods giant Unilever but now produce chocolate sculptures to sell to Western buyers. The Dutch artist Renzo Martens helped recruit the group’s members and has been a long time facilitator of their global network through his Institute of Human Activities.
Artist: Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Ndidi Dike, Onyeka Igwe, and Toyin Ojih Odutola; Abraham Oghobase, Precious Okoyomon, Yinka Shonibare, and Fatimah Tuggar
Curator: Aindrea Emelife
Venue: A palazzo in Dorsoduro near the Gallerie dell’Accademia
What to know: The so-called exhibition “Nigeria Imaginary” will feature an intergenerational group of nine artists from Nigeria or its diaspora. Its an all-star cast, including Precious Okoyomon, who had one of the more talked about installations at “The Milk of Dreams” Venice Biennale exhibition at the Arsenale. Curator Aindrea Emelife, curator of contemporary and modern art at EMOWAA, the planned art museum in Benin City, says her show will provide “a way of looking forward to the future while also looking back—their modernity is very much rooted still in this embrace of tradition.”
Artist: Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir
Curator: Dan Byers
What to know: The Icelandic sculptor’s playful use of everyday objects like computer keys, post-it notes and scraps of paper decontextualizes the items so that they lose their more obvious meaning and utility and, instead, we are prompted to re-evaluate them. In this way, overly-familiar forms take on a new sculptural vigor.
Artist: Márton Nemes
Curator: Rona Kopeczky
What to know: Based in New York but born in Budapest, Nemes has made a name for eye-catchingly colorful abstract canvases that, in their florescence, recall street art and rave culture. These works were inspired by the artist’s own experiences immersing himself in London’s underground scene.
Republic of Benin
Artist: Yet to be announced
Curator: Azu Nwagbogu, Yassine Lassissi, and Franck Houndégla
Venue: Yet to be announced
What to know: The country’s debut pavilion is intended to promote the country’s cultural heritage and “diplomacy around the restitution of Benin’s royal treasures,” which over the past year alone has seen prized collections of bronzes be repatriated by several major Western museums. It will be curated by the Nigerian curator Azu Nwagbogu, general director of Galerie National du Bénin and co-founder of both the non-profit African Artists’ Foundation. He is joined by the museum’s curator Yassine Lassissi and the architect Franck Houndégla, and the team have not yet named any artists.
Artist: Anna Jermolaewa
Curator: Gabriele Spindler
What to know: The Russian-born conceptual artist fled the Soviet Union in 1989, having been a founding member of the country’s first opposition party. She now lives and works in Vienna and is a professor of Experimental Art at the University of Art and Design Linz. She previously exhibited the video work at the 48th Venice Biennale in 1999.
Artist: Archie Moore
Curator: Ellie Buttorse
What to know: The First Nations artist from Queensland creates work that gets to the heart of Australia’s colonial past and its contemporary aftershocks, from everyday racism to the glaring discrepancy between the country’s official history and its citizens’ living memory. So far he has only teased a few details about what the new work might address by mentioning that his family history is a rich subject he has so far avoided.
Artist: Kapwani Kipwanga
Curator: Gaëtane Verna
What to know: Based in Paris, Kipwanga is an artist who wears many hats, including that of an anthropologist, having studied the subject at McGill University in Montreal. This interest has informed many of her works, which take the form of archival or documentary research—whether about real events or imagined futures inspired by the Afrofuturism movement.
Artist: Pia Lindman, Vidha Saumya, and Jenni-Juulia Wallinheimo-Heimonen
Curator: Yvonne Billimore and Jussi Koitela
What to know: Though little is yet known about the work they are currently preparing, the three artists chosen to represent Finland are united by their multidisciplinary approaches that encompass textiles, performance, spoken work, sculpture, and drawing. “In the early phases, we are taking time to explore the relationalities of our individual practices and share how our lived experiences impact our work,” is all that the trio have revealed so far.
Artist: Edith Karlson
Curator: Geir Haraldseth
What to know: The Tallin-based sculptor has a knack of bringing her installations to life with animal protagonists–like birds, dogs, bears, and lions—that are able to evoke a distinctly human feelings or emotions. Next year, she plans to expand her vision by turning Estonia’s pavilion into a fantastical, immersive space that doesn’t resemble a typical gallery and welcomes audience participation. Reflecting on the state of the world in the hands of humans, she said: “Nothing will ever change, and it’s both tragic and comic, serious and laughable, terrifying as hell and amusing as a circus.”
Artist: Julien Creuzet
Curator: Yet to be announced
What to know: Born in Martinique, the Paris-based French-Caribbean artist and poet weaves a natural lyricism into his suspended sculptures and wall hangings, which are made of out found materials and waste. He is an avid follower of intellectuals like Édouard Glissant and Aimé Césaire, through which he examines his ancestral origins and diasporic experiences. Later this year, his work will also appear in the 35th São Paulo Bienial.
Artist: John Akomfrah
Curator: Yet to be announced
What to know: Following up two prior appearances at the biennale–as part of the main exhibition in 2015 and representing Ghana in 2017—the London-based filmmaker has not yet revealed much about what audiences can expect this time around. Since co-founding the Black Audio Film Collective in 1982, Akomfrah is best known for documentaries like (1993) and (2012), which examine Black history and identity, as well as (2017), a sombre study of the effects of climate change.
Artist: Pakui Hardware
Curator: Valentinas Klimašauskas and João Laia
Venue: Castello 3200
What to know: The artist duo—Neringa Cerniauskaite and Ugnius Gelguda—have announced the intriguing theme of “inflammations” for their exhibition next year, referring both to “human and planetary bodies.” Judging by their past work, however, we can almost certainly expect something wacky. We do know that the installation will include paintings by the late Lithuanian artist Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė whose “medical” paintings were Surrealist metaphors for the ills of Soviet society.
Artist: Koo Jeong A
Curator: Jacob Fabricius and Lee Seol-hui
What to know: This pavilion is, implausibly, sure to stand out for its invisible elements. Koo Jeong A has promised to take audiences on a “Korea scent journey,” with her “Odorama Cities,” works that will engage all manner of senses using not just smell but light, sound and varying temperatures.
Artist: Sandra Gamarra
Curator: Agustín Pérez Rubio
What to know: The Peru-born Gamarra, who currently lives and works in Madrid, already represented her native country at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. Next year, she will present , which grapples with the legacy of Spanish colonization. She is best known for her semi-fictional, initerant Museum of Contemporary Art of Lima (LiMac), founded in 2002, a wry comment on the lack of cultural institutions in the Peruvian capital.
Artist: Guerreiro do Divino Amor
Curator: Andrea Bellini
What to know: The Swiss-Brazilian artist, who is based in Rio de Janiero, is taking the opportunity of exhibiting at Venice to extend his long-running project , which he started in 2005. The latest iteration will be called , and the political work will look at the complex networks of globalization and colonialism. Last year, the artist received his first major retrospective at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, and the museum’s director will curate next year’s pavilion.
Artist: Simona Denicolai and Ivo Provoost
Curator: Antoinette Jattiot
What to know: Another theme that is more enigmatic than it is clarifying has been put forward by the artistic duo Denicolai & Provoost, who have been creating performances, interventions and research projects together since 1997. Presenting the project , their work will focus on mythical giants, which “are set in motion in a new narrative,” according to the announcement. “Through displacement and the nomadic spirit that drives travel, bodies shape space and the powers of identification and projection that surround them.”
Artist: Eimear Walshe
Curator: Sara Greavu
What to know: Through performance, writings and video art, Longford-based Walshe weaves Irish history into a playful discussion of its more contemporary societal concerns, like the housing crisis, gender, and sexuality. (2020), is a humorous video in which the artist looks at how past laws have affected land ownership in Ireland while also reframing the issue today as one of intimacy and privacy by asking the question “where the fuck am I supposed to have sex?!”
Artist: Yuko Mohri
Curator: Sook-Kyung Lee
What to know: Earlier this year, the Tokyo-based artist exhibited in the 14th Gwangju Biennale, where she showed a version of her long-term project , in which long rolls of printed paper are gently unspooled from suspended machines and collect dust, which in turn triggers autonomous feather dusters into action. Gwangju’s artistic director Sook-Kyung Lee will now curate her pavilion at Venice. Not much has been revealed yet, but Mohri is known for introducing sound to her kinetic installations, which make use of everyday material in subtle configurations.
Artist: Lap-See Lam, Kholod Hawash, and Tze Yeung Ho
Curator: Asrin Haidari
What to know: Taking its turn to host, Sweden, and more specifically the Moderna Museet, is at the helm of next year’s Nordic Pavilion. Swedish installation artist Lap-See Lam has been selected to come up with the concept for the , which is inspired by the highly theatrical Cantonese Opera to “take us on a journey into the world of fairy tales, where supernatural beings turn the logic of the real world on its head.” She will be joined by the Finland-based Iraqi textile artist Kholod Hawash and Norwegian composer Tze Yeung Ho.
Artist: Gülsün Karamustafa
Curator: Esra Sarigedik Öktem
What to know: The Ankara-born, Istanbul-based artist has used a wide variety of media to explore the changing socio-political climate of Turkey as it has modernized over the course of her lifetime. Born in 1946, she has been involved in activism since she was a student during the 1968 revolts. Her long-standing themes of migration, displacement and exile dovetail nicely with the main exhibition’s theme of “Foreigners Everywhere.”
Artist: LLC (Peter Eramian and Emiddio Vasquez), Endrosia (Alexandros Xenophontos, Andreas Andronikou, Doris Mari Demetriadou, Irini Khenkin, Marina Ashioti, Niki Charalambous, and Kyriaki Rafaelia Tsiridou) and Haig Aivazian.
Curator: This project “breaks away from the conventional model of a single curator and artist format” in favor of “decentralized curation.”
What to know: A large group consisting of artist duo LLC, artist collective Endrosia and artist Haig Aivazian have teamed up for the task of representing Cyprus next year. Their proposal, called “On a wildflower-lined gravel track off a quiet thoroughfare…” was selected unanimously by a special governmental advisory committee over 22 other responses to an open-call. So far, the group has stated that “taking ‘ghosting’ as a methodological entry point into a larger network of social realities and ghostly matters, we will refocus them onto local histories and mythologies, and collaboratively diffract through them the themes to which our practices are committed: decoloniality, extractivism, and development, technophilia and social justice.”
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