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Julie Mehretu’s “Ensemble” at Palazzo Grassi

Most Anticipated Venice Exhibitions: Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz, Berlinde De Bruyckere, and More 

This year’s much-anticipated La Biennale di Venezia brings a spirited display of awe-inspiring artworks, installations, and films which weave a relatable tale of life’s fragility and the heavenly, celestial wonders which enrapture us all. International visionaries such as Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz, Jim Dine, and Pierre Huyghe are placed in dialogue with each other as well as the majesty of Venice’s historic churches, monuments, and sanctuaries.

Erica Silverman

23 March 2024

In advance of your journey through the extraordinary 60th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, on view from April 20 through November 24, 2024, be sure to make time for these transformative Venice exhibitions by a global array of luminaries including Elias Sime, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Berlinde De Bruyckere, and more. 

“Elias Sime: Dichotomy ፊት አና ጀርባ jerba” at Tanarte, Castello

April 20 – November 24, 2024

Elias Sime_Zoma Studio

Elias Sime’s studio, photo by Alice Hendy, courtesy James Cohan, New York.

Addis Ababa-based, multidisciplinary artist Elias Sime unveils “Dichotomy ፊት አና ጀርባ jerba,” a parade of 11 new rapturous artworks—including a stone sculpture, nine wall pieces, and a site-specific installation—at Tanarte, Castello. In a continuation of his ever-inspired practice, collaging technological objects in poetic and awe-inspiring fashion, Sime investigates the ramifications of swift globalization on humanity and the entirety of Mother Earth. 

Co-curated by Meskerem Assegued and Felicity Korn, curator at the Kunstpalast Düsseldorf, Sime’s creations sing out with captivating details in tone, texture, and form—as seen in the evolving Tightrope series which laser focuses on the nuances of the ever-present smartphone. The artist extends to Venice the eco-conscious spirit of the renowned Zoma Museum in Addis Ababa—which he brilliantly co-founded, designed, and built—displaying mesmeric stone sculptures that parallel the museum’s visionary architecture. 

Ewa Juszkiewicz’s “Locks with Leaves and Swelling Buds” at Palazzo Cavanis

April 20 – September 1, 2024

Ewa Juszkiewicz Studio

Photo by Jan Kriwol, courtesy of the artist and Louis Vuitton.

“I wish to tell a new tale and create my own language: ambiguous, dense, natural, and organic,” explained Warsaw-based artist Ewa Juszkiewicz on the occasion of her solo show, “Locks with Leaves and Swelling Buds,” at Palazzo Cavanis. In a provocative and comprehensive exhibition curated by Guillermo Solana, a diverse array of works from both private and public collections span the years of 2020 to 2024. The pioneer offers vivid and thoroughly refreshed views on female portraiture and representation by way of a rigorous and tender artistic process. 

Surrounded by historical architecture and art as a young person growing up in Poland, as well as the luminous fashions found in magazines by iconic brands such as Comme des Garçons and Maison Margiela, the artist has developed a meticulous practice of research, exploration, assemblage, and deconstruction. The result are deeply evocative paintings which focus on beguiling portraits of female figures, whose faces are masked with ribbons of hair, fabric, or elements of nature, challenging traditional modes of beauty and the expectations and barriers forced upon centuries of women.

Berlinde De Bruyckere’s “City of Refuge III” at Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore

April 20 – November 24, 2024

Berlinde De Bruyckere, “Arcangelo II (San Giorgio),” 2023-2024,

Berlinde De Bruyckere, “Arcangelo II (San Giorgio),” 2023-2024, (work in progress), wax, animal hair, silicone, iron, epoxy, 251 x 82 x 105 cm, photo by Mirjam Devriendt, © Berlinde De Bruyckere, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Curated by Carmelo A. Grasso, Ory Dessau, and Peter Buggenhout, Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere debuts “City of Refuge III” within the spiritual arena of a 16th-century Benedictine church. Set on Venice’s transcendent island of San Giorgio Maggiore, where elements of Palladian architecture soar, the visionary offers new creations invoking the divinity of the storied space. Developed in partnership with the non-profit Benedicti Claustra Onlus and Director Carmelo A. Grasso, hypnotic installations of Arcangeli sculptures and wall-vitrine artworks throughout the church’s aisles, Sacristy, and Monastery radiate cultural and mythological vigor.

Keenly titled after the Nick Cave song, “City of Refuge III” now evolves at the third exhibition in a creative series uplifting the concept of safe haven through the innovative juxtaposition of raw materials evocative of animals, humans, and the natural environment. Bringing to new light motifs of Christianity, Flemish Renaissance, and European Old Masters, De Bruyckere weaves a relatable tale of precarious life and the heavenly, celestial wonders which enrapture us all. 

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

April 20 – November 24, 2024

Arne Quinze and Swizz Beatz’s “Are We The Aliens_” at San Francesco della Vigna, Making of “Impact Glass” at Berengo Studio, 2024.

Making of “Impact Glass” at Berengo Studio, 2024, courtesy of Dave Bruel.

Artist Arne Quinze and music producer 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. 

Jim Dine’s “Dog on the Forge” at Palazzo Rocca Contarini Corfù

April 20 – July 21, 2024

Jim Dine, “Liar (2nd version),” 2007

Jim Dine, “Liar (2nd version),” 2007, enamel and charcoal on wood, 70 7/8 x 51, 1 x 22 in., photo by Laurent Edeline, courtesy of the artist and Templon, Paris/Brussels/New York.

Curated by Gerhard Steidl, Founding Director of Kunsthaus Göttingen, distinguished American artist Jim Dine unveils an enthralling survey exhibition of his multifaceted oeuvre with works from the 1980s through to the present. The deft poet, painter, and sculptor brings 32 new artworks to the idyllic Palazzo Rocca Contarini Corfù, including a site specific open-air installation uniting vast bronze sculptures, which elegantly looks over the Grand Canal.

“My whole life, I’ve been in motion,” explained Dine. “I find it difficult to sit still. It’s a hyperactive quality, I would say. I’ve always enjoyed going from studio to studio, country to country. For me, traveling is like using red. It’s another thing to make the picture.” Unfolding over two floors of the Palazzo, colorful drawings, paintings, and sculptures bring forth the artist’s signature codes of self-portraiture and heart shapes, alongside charismatic figures of Pinocchio and Venus. In reference to his engrossing paintings, the artist stated, “I’m not interested in making them pretty. I’m interested in carving out images that will move you.”

Pierre Huyghe’s “Liminal” at Punta della Dogana

March 17 – November 24, 2024

Pierre Huyghe, “Variants,” 2021 - ongoing

Pierre Huyghe, “Variants,” 2021 – ongoing; photo by Ola Rindal, © Pierre Huyghe, by SIAE 2023, courtesy of the artist, Kistefos Museum, and Hauser and Wirth, London.

Artist Pierre Huyghe debuts the tremendous 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 fictions 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. 

Julie Mehretu’s “Ensemble” at Palazzo Grassi

March 17, 2024 – January 6, 2025

Installation view of Julie Mehretu’s “Ensemble”

Installation view, “Julie Mehretu. Ensemble”, 2024, photo by Marco Cappelletti, © Palazzo Grassi, Pinault Collection.

“Ensemble” merges over 50 artworks by artist Julie Mehretu created over the last 25 years— 17 having been drawn from the Pinault Collection—with pieces by her dearest friends in the art community. Within the majesty of Palazzo Grassi, the visionary’s largest presentation in Europe thus far was curated by Caroline Bourgeois, Chief Curator of the Pinault Collection, and will unfold over two floors, with masterpieces in printmaking and painting caressing viewers into the artist’s surreal and poignant universe. 

A free-flowing path is cast between Mehretu’s artworks and those by confidants and collaborators Huma Bhabha, David Hammons, Nairy Baghramian, Tacita Dean, Paul Pfeiffer, Robin Coste Lewis, and Jessica Rankin. Themes of displacement, and complex relationships between humans and nature alike, play out in abstract and transformative works of art. Alongside the show, a myriad of cultural programs and events will illuminate the nuances of each artist’s creative journey. 

Julie Mehretu’s “Ensemble” at Palazzo Grassi

Installation view, “Julie Mehretu. Ensemble”, 2024, photo by Marco Cappelletti, © Palazzo Grassi, Pinault Collection.

Edith Dekyndt’s “Song to the Siren” at Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi 

March 13-17, 2024, April 15-22, 2024

In an ongoing evolution of her visceral practice, artist Edith Dekyndt brings both a dramatic film and series of performances, titled “Song to the Siren,” to Venice’s Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi. The enigmatic film centers on a woman positioned at the Monument to the Partisan Woman, the very location where all are welcomed into Venice’s Giardini della Biennale. The protagonist uses an angelic white handkerchief to embrace the iconic bronze statue, which embodies the figure of a female partisan put to death during World War II. 

In an emotional memorial, protest, and warning for the safeguarding of humanity, Dekyndt’s film makes way for a showcase of performances reminiscent of the film’s potent expressions at additional historical monuments. With titles invoking songs of ever-present meaning, such as Larry Beckett’s “Song to the Siren”, and Robert Plant’s “Here I am, waiting to hold you,” the artist communicates astounding sentiment, wonder, and urgency by examining the gestures, objects, and auras of our daily lives. 

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As we get ready for the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, open April 20—November 24, 2024, we’re sharing the must-see Venice Pavilions.

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