Earlier this month the list of the selected artists for the 56th Venice Biennale by curator Okwui Enwezor was released: 136 artists from 53 different countries will be exhibiting at the Arsenale and the Guardini from the 9th of May to the 22nd of November 2015.
It is noteworthy that the number of artists from the Asia-Pacific region (from India to Australia) is twice more than for the 55th Venice biennale in 2013: twenty artists from India to Australia will exhibit at the biennale in 2015.
The Venice curator has selected four Chinese artists. Xu Bing (B. 1955) is one of the leading artists from the avant-garde movement of the late 1980’s. After several years in New York he moved back to Beijing and is now part of the artistic establishment as the President of the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts, the leading Art school in China. Qiu Zhijie (B. 1969 China) belongs to a younger generation exploring video and photography as a new medium, Ji Dachun (B. 1968) addresses the complex relationship between East and West China in his works, while Cao Fei (B. 1978) the youngest, is internationally known for her multimedia installations and videos reflecting her social and political questioning on China today.
The Indian subcontinent is also well represented with five artists and a collective from Pakistan and India.
Huma Bhabha (B. 1962), was already part of the Triennale at Palais de Tokyo in 2012 in Paris under the artistic direction of Okwui. Bhabha’s practice includes sculpture, painting, printmaking, and drawing; her work “engages the potential of contemporary figuration without recourse to retrograde traditionalism”. The work of Mariam Suhail (B. 1979) is “inspired by incidental, undocumented minutiae of conversations, media, culture and daily life”1.
The Indian artists also include Madhusudhanan (B. 1956) from Kerala, who will be showing 90 charcoal drawings, featuring a “complex landscape of memory, triggering flashbacks of an era gone by”2 as well as architects and urban researchers Prasad Shetty and Rupali Gupte (B. 1974), and the media collective founded in 1992: RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE (with Monica NARULA; Jeebesh BAGCHI; Shuddhabrata SENGUPTA) .
The Venice curator has included five Australian artists: The internationally renowned artist Daniel Boyd (b.1982) whose work deals with
Aboriginal and Australian-European issues, Emily Floyd (b.1972) who explores the history of pedagogical play through design and public art installations, Newell Harry (b.1972) a multimedia artist who deals with identity and the impact of imperial trade and globalization. The musician and conceptual artist Marco Fusinato (b.1964) from Melbourne and the late Aboriginal artist Emily Kame KNGWARREYE (1910-1996) are part of the curator’s selection also.
South-East Asia will be represented by Vietnamese artist Tiffany Chung (b. 1969) and Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961) from Thailand.
In addition to Okwui Enwezor’s selection, the National pavilions from Asian countries will have an exciting presentation of talented young artists: Charles Lim from Singapore, back at the Venice Biennale after its non- participation in 2013, Tsang Kin-Wah from Hong Kong and the Berlin-based artist Chiharu Shiota from Japan.
The 56th Venice biennale may see the veritable rise of Asian artists.
Words: Virginie Syn for Artlyst – March 2015