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Installation View of Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz’s "Are We the Aliens_,"

Best of Venice Exhibitions: Pierre Huyghe, Memo Akten, Zeng Fanzhi, and More

The 60th Venice Biennale builds vital new connections between past, present, and future in our shared and uncertain world, offering singular moments of philosophical understanding and accessible realms for healing and union. Here, Whitewall spotlights must-see collateral exhibitions, from Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s “Planète Lalanne” at Palazzo Rota Ivancich to Vincenzo De Cotiis’s “ARCHAEOLOGY OF CONSCIOUSNESS VENICE” at Palazzo Giustinian Lolin.

As you embark on the captivating 60th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, currently on view through November 24, be sure to leave time in your schedule for these spirited collateral exhibitions set within impressive and historic locations, including Pierre Huyghe’s “Liminal” at Punta della Dogana, “Memo Akten. Boundaries” at the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione, and more. 

Pierre Huyghe’s “Liminal” at Punta della Dogana

Pierre Huyghe’s “Liminal” at Punta della Dogana Pierre Huyghe, (from left to right) “Offspring,” 2018, Pinault Collection;, “Offspring,” 2018, Courtesy Leeum Museum of Art. Installation view, “Pierre Huyghe. Liminal”, 2024, Punta della Dogana, Venezia; photo by Ola Rindal, © Palazzo Grassi, Pinault Collection.

March 17 – November 24, 2024

Artist Pierre Huyghe debuts the exhibition “Liminal” at Punta della Dogana, transfixing visitors with new works as well as projects from the last decade—and highlights from the Pinault Collection. Curated by Anne Stenne, with support by Bottega Veneta and Seoul’s Leeum Museum of Art, a skillful layering of media and disciplines produces a thought-provoking journey through experimental and fictitious states, scenarios, and beings. Defining fiction as “vehicles for accessing the possible or the impossible—what could be or could not be,” Huyghe builds new connections between past, present, and future in his selected works as well as in our shared and uncertain world.

Making room for unbridled conversation between that which is defined as human and non-human, Hughe reveals the work titled Liminal—an artificial human landscape without the traditional elements. Sans face, mind, or world to call its own, it is a thoroughfare of unawareness that can all the while experience pain. The ethereal presentation is intercut with voices and a foreign language titled Idiom which is drawn from the effects of masks donned by visitors.

“Memo Akten. Boundaries” at the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione

“Memo Akten. Boundaries” at the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione “Memo Akten, Boundaries” [exhibition view, simulation], 2023-24, © Memo Akten.

April 20 – November 24, 2024

Pioneering Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist, musician, and researcher Memo Atken unveils a riveting new digital video animation at the sweeping Chiesa di Santa Maria della Visitazione. Curated by Walter Vanhaerents with support from Dominique Moulon, the pivotal third major exhibition by the Vanhaerents Art Collection in Venice is enhanced by a visceral soundscape derived from generative artificial intelligence and custom code. The traditional concept of boundaries is ingeniously refarmed to create accessible realms for pure connection, uniting the cosmic, the organic, and the virtual. Continuing Atken’s determined work of challenging our perceptions and notions of identity, otherworldly images ebb and flow within the beloved space, speaking to the poignant cultural history of Venice and neglected communities.

“In essence, this piece is about boundaries—those imaginary, fluid barriers,” explained Atken. “The imaginary boundaries between ourselves and our environment, body and soul, the material and the immaterial. Yet, boundaries are merely constructs of our human mind. We are not separate from the universe; we are not even in it—we are integral parts of its fabric. Just as waves are manifestations of the ocean, we are manifestations of the universe. And while we are subatomic waves dancing in cosmic quantum fields, we also dance at the macroscale. We dance to express ourselves, to connect with each other, our environment and the ‘divine’. We dance to experience union with the universe directly. Boundaries aims to induce a contemplative experience, encouraging us to reflect on these ideas.”

Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s “Planète Lalanne” at Palazzo Rota Ivancich

Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s “Planète Lalanne” at Palazzo Rota Ivancich Installation view of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s “Planète Lalanne” at Palazzo Rota Ivancich, © and courtesy of Ben Brown Fine Arts, London.

April 17 — November 3, 2024

Ben Brown Fine Arts raises the curtain on “Planète Lalanne,” an all-encompassing presentation by the renowned artistic duo Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne throughout the legendary Palazzo Rota Ivancich. Rejoicing in a decades-long partnership between the visionaries and Ben Brown Fine Arts, the imaginative show includes more than 150 works. Meticulously curated by Jérôme Neutres, former Director at the Réunion de Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais and former President of Musée du Luxembourg, whimsical art objects, sculptures, and furniture take up residency in the Palazzo. Here, an extraordinary conversation unfolds on the intersection of Mother Nature, mythology, and augmented interpretations of domestic life. Alongside the exhibition, a fantastical book will offer insightful essays and transformative archival images. 

“Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, true visionaries of the artistic realm, crafted a legacy that seamlessly blended whimsy with profound craftsmanship,” said Ben Brown. “Their imaginative sculptures transcend the boundaries of conventional art, offering a harmonious dialogue between nature and imagination. I am proud to present this retrospective in Venice, which pays homage to the profound influence of these iconic artists, inviting patrons to immerse themselves in the timeless allure of the Lalannes’ transformative creations.”

“Zeng Fanzhi: Near and Far/Now and Then” at Scuola Grande della Misericordia

Installation view of the LACMA exhibition Installation view of the LACMA exhibition “Zeng Fanzhi: Near and Fa/ Now and Then,” at Scuola Grande della Misericordia in Venice, photo by Stefan Altenbruger, Photography Zürich, © Zeng Fanzhi, courtesy of the artist and LACMA.

April 17 — September 30, 2024

LACMA brings “Zeng Fanzhi: Near and Far/Now and Then” to Venice, set within a breathtaking installation designed by major architect Tadao Ando. Co-curated by Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, and Stephen Little, Florence and Harry Sloan Curator of Chinese Art and Department Head, Chinese, Korean, and South and Southeast Asian Art, the dazzling exhibition of new works by internationally revered artist Zeng Fanzhi focused on two fresh investigations of abstract paintings and works on handmade paper utilizing lush materials such as gold dust, graphite, chalk, mineral pigments, and ink. Decades-worth of exploration in color theory, invoking Impressionist and Pointillist practices, culminates in kaleidoscopic masterpieces that pay distinct homage to long-established modes of art and craft. 

“Zeng Fanzhi’s work is especially celebrated as a balance of technical mastery and emotion,” said Govan. “Near and Far/Now and Then at the Scuola Grande della Misericordia will shed light on Zeng’s ambitious painting practice, and Tadao Ando’s architectural intervention will illuminate the interconnections that Zeng’s new body of work highlights.”

“Zeng Fanzhi’s work engages two different types of materials: one thick and topographical, another thin and translucent,” added Little. “His work also demands two opposing approaches to viewer engagement—one distant, the other profoundly intimate. Taken together with the Asian and European traditions on which it draws, this exhibition will guide viewers to discoveries prompted by tensions that are deftly deployed by the artist.”

“Frank Auerbach: Starting Again” at Palazzo da Mosto

“Frank Auerbach, Starting Again” at Palazzo da Mosto Installation view of“Frank Auerbach, Starting Again” at Palazzo da Mosto in Venice, Italy; photo by Sebastiano Pellion di Persano, courtesy of Max Levai.

April 18 — June 28, 2024

Max Levai presents “Frank Auerbach: Starting Again” at Palazzo da Mosto, an extensive exhibition which pays respect to the British-German visionary’s tremendous achievement of the Golden Lion at the 1986 Biennale. Encompassing more than five decades of vivacious work, two vast levels of the monumental Palazzo will offer expressive and gripping creations. 11 little seen oil paintings developed between the years of 1969 and 2016 are uniquely offered to visitors, centering on divine portraits of cherished subjects and luminous landscapes of the picturesque natural world surrounding his Camden Town studio. Emotional associations, solitary work environments, and evocative visages are just a few of the rapturous elements brimming from Auerbach’s unforgettable oeuvre. 

Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz’s “Are We The Aliens_” at San Francesco della Vigna

Installation View of Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz’s Installation View of Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz’s “Are We the Aliens_,” photo by Dave Bruel for Arne Quinze, courtesy of König Galerie.

April 20 – November 24, 2024

Artist Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz join forces, inviting an international audience to embark upon a singular, experiential presentation. Placing prismatic, large-scale sculptures within an otherworldly soundscape, the luminaries spark riveting dialogue on the seen and the unseen within the legendary 16th-century church San Francesco della Vigna. Inaugurating the beloved space as a platform for meaningful experiences alongside contemporary art, each monumental glass and ceramic creation invites visitors to interrogate their relationship with the natural world in crisis. 

Alongside Germany’s Ludwig Museum, the show is co-curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, independent art consultant and advisor of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, and Reiner Opoku, art consultant and agent. Installation Sonic Levitation fills the church’s vast first floor with a circular aluminum sculpture of four separate sections, while a digital and instrumental soundtrack evokes the untapped dynamism flowing within and between nature and ourselves. 

“Josèfa Ntjam: swell of spæc(i)es” at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia and  Palazzina Canonica

“Josèfa Ntjam, swell of spæc(i)es” at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia and Palazzina Canonica “UNA / UNLESS” Temporary Pavilion at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Venice, 2024, render; commissioned by LAS Art Foundation, courtesy of UNA / UNLESS; LAS Art Foundation © 2024 UNA / UNLESS, photo by Andrea Rossetti.

April 20 – November 24, 2024

LAS Art Foundation reveals an hypnotic new commission by skilled artist, performer, and writer Josèfa Ntjam constructed within the poetic courtyard of the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, along with a coinciding experiential presentation at Palazzina Canonica – CNR ISMAR (Istituto di Scienze Marine). The spellbinding “swell of spæc(i)es” provides a supernatural atmosphere by way of a novel film displayed on a far-reaching LED screen. An immersive soundscape by composer Fatima Al Qadiri, in addition to beaming sonic sculptures, produces a cosmic symphony of voices and meanings within a decadent space. The pavilion designed by UNA / UNLESS architecture studio, spearheaded by Giulia Foscari, proposes a meditative, triangular blue prism which points towards the water and appears as a luring object of deep space. 

Yoo Youngkuk: “A Journey to the Infinite” at Fondazione Querini Stampalia

Installation view of Yoo Youngkuk’s “A Journey to the Infinite” at Fondazione Querini Stampalia Installation view of Yoo Youngkuk’s “A Journey to the Infinite” at Fondazione Querini Stampalia, courtesy of the artist.

April 20—November 24, 2024

Documenting the evolution of one of Korea’s most important artists, “A Journey to the Infinite” is a true standout at this year’s Venice Biennale. Yoo Youngkuk made history by integrating traditional Korean aesthetics into modern Western art movements like Surrealism and Constructionism while pioneering avant-garde movements of his own. Now, for the first time ever, the painter’s works will be presented in a solo show in Europe. Curated by Kim Inhye, “A Journey to the Infinite” presents thirty of Youngkuk’s large-scale oil paintings and twenty copper prints alongside an array of photographs in the historic Fondazione Querini Stampalia. Many of the works presented date back to the 1960s and 1970s, when Youngkuk worked alone in his studio with minimal social interactions.

Vincenzo De Cotiis’s “ARCHAEOLOGY OF CONSCIOUSNESS VENICE” at Palazzo Giustinian Lolin

Installation View of Vincenzo De Cotiis' Installation View of Vincenzo De Cotiis’ “ARCHAEOLOGY OF CONSCIOUSNESS VENICE,” 19 April – 24 November 2024, photo by Wichmann + Bendtsen Photography, courtesy of Vincenzo de Cotiis Foundation.

April 19 — November 24, 2024

The VINCENZO DE COTIIS FOUNDATION, spearheaded by Claudia Rose De Cotiis, is newly instituted in Venice this year at at Palazzo Giustinian Lolin with its very first exhibition: “ARCHAEOLOGY OF CONSCIOUSNESS VENICE.” Juxtaposing the historical meets contemporary treasures of artist Vincenzo De Cotiis with the lustrous 15th century Palazzo, a thoroughly modern creative fantasy is born. Sleek yet organic arches, objects, and artworks invite visitors to thoughtfully pass through and delight in a merging of past, present, and future—beguiling the senses with the deft craftsmanship of ancient stones, marble, and Murano glass. 

“ARCHAEOLOGY OF CONSCIOUSNESS VENICE is a summation of deep introspection, expressed as a series of transitions through time and also through the layers of my Subconscious,” said De Cotiis. “Each arch articulates a four dimensional concept through spatial and material means, referencing that which I remember or have learned from the past, and imagine for the future. The arch is an old structure, one that has served countless civilisations both structurally and aesthetically. My artworks, however, stand removed from function, and instead offer significant value to those who experience them as portals to philosophical understanding and spiritual enlightenment.”

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