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Venice is an emotional state, a state of the soul. And the only thing you need is a reason to return there again, without even remembering for which time… Either way, there is certainly a good reason to return this year: the 54th International Art Biennale, which opens its doors to the public on June 4 and is on view until November 27. The art biennale, the most prestigious art show in the world, takes place in Venice every other summer. This year the curator is Bice Curiger, who has given the show the name ILLUMInations, emphasizing the biennale’s role in spreading information and “illuminating” society about actual events in the art world.

The City: A Mega Exhibit

It’s true that the biennale’s exhibitions are not the only stop for art tourists; during the biennale, the ancient city and its surroundings are transformed into a mega exhibit, whose form is created not only by the plans of the biennale’s chief stylist and commissar, but also by the confluence of artistic ideas from the entire world. This guarantees a greater chance for surprises and discoveries than at any other art exhibit in the entire world. The biennale is the perfect springboard for an artist, as well as for the art of any country that wishes to be noticed. Countless auxiliary events—many of which the biennale has taken under its wing, granting them its logo marked by the subtitle “Collateral Events” (a list of these events may be found on the biennale’s official website)—are housed in ornate palazzos, museums, hotels, and even churches. This year the list of parallel exhibits is very long. Among them you’ll find such important phenomena as the iconic Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor; the State Hermitage, the most famous museum in Russia; Chinese contemporary art, one of the trendiest elements in the art scene today; the Future Generation Art Prize, organized by the Pinchuk Art Centre, based in Ukraine; and much more. More about the biennale’s collateral events is available here.

During the biennale, a string of new exhibits will open their doors in the city’s independent art institutions. Venice’s newest contemporary art space, Punta della Dogana, recently unveiled the second exhibit in its short history. Punta della Dogana was opened two years ago and is owned by François Pinault, a famous French art collector, president of the luxury retail company PPR, and head of Christie’s auction house. 

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