Curator Ralph Rugoff Unveils Plans for 2019 Venice Biennale’s Performance Programme

The performances have been devised in collaboration with Delfina Foundation’s Aaron Cezar

Victoria Sin, If I had the words to tell you we wouldn’t be here now, 2019. Courtesy: Chi-Wen Gallery; photograph: Ivy Tzai

Victoria Sin, If I had the words to tell you we wouldn’t be here now, 2019. Courtesy: Chi-Wen Gallery; photograph: Ivy Tzai

Arts Council England, Delfina Foundation and Ralph Rugoff this morning announced details of a performance programme that will take place during the opening week (8–12 May) and final weekend (23–24 Nov) of the 58th Venice Biennale. Part of ‘Meetings on Art’, the official public programme of Rugoff’s biennale exhibition, it will feature 14 performances – including a number of new commissions – that will take place in the grounds of the Giardini and in the Teatro Piccolo of the Arsenale.

The programme is supported by Arts Council England, which funded the popular Diaspora Pavilion in 2017. It has been devised by Rugoff, the biennale’s artistic director, in collaboration with Aaron Cezar, director of the London-based Delfina Foundation, and features a number of artists who have been part of, or supported by, Delfina’s longstanding international residency programme – including Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, who will restage the work that he produced for the Frieze Artist Award at Frieze art fair in October 2018. The opening week will feature performances dealing with questions of identity politics and intersectionality, including work by Baczynski-Jenkins, boychild, Paul Maheke and the DJ Nkisi, Florence Peake & Eva Stainton, Victoria Sin and Zadie Xa, whose new commission will draw on Korean processional rituals, shamanism and forgotten origin myths.

The final weekend, which grows out of Delfina Foundation’s multi-year ‘The Politics of Food’ project, will include lecture performances and other events by Cooking Sections, Vivian Caccuri, Vivien Sansour and Bo Zheng (with more to be confirmed). In both instances, the emphasis of the programme is on what Cezar calls, ‘artists whose practice falls ‘in between’ traditional categories’, in line with Rugoff’s stated ambition to highlight art that ‘calls into question those easy categories that we use to make sense of the world’.

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