MILAN — Valentino continues to strengthen its relationship with the city of Venice.
After sponsoring the 49th International Theatre Festival — Biennale Teatro and staging its fall 2021 couture collection in the city last year, the luxury house has been announced as main sponsor of the Italian Pavilion at the upcoming Biennale Arte event, running April 23 to Nov. 27.
The brand’s involvement was revealed on Feb. 14, when Italy’s minister of culture Dario Franceschini; Roberto Cicutto, president of the event’s organizer La Biennale di Venezia, and the Italian Pavilion’s commissioner Onofrio Cutaia held a press conference to unveil the project that will represent the country at the international art exhibition.
In particular, artist Gian Maria Tosatti and curator Eugenio Viola have been tapped for the role and will showcase an artwork titled “Storia della notte e destino delle comete,” which translates as “History of the night and fate of comets,” in English.
The project will be backed by public and private financial investments. Cutaia underscored that this year private support has been especially significant, totaling 1.45 million euros across all the many donors, which added to the 600,000 euros of public funding. Along with Valentino, the other main sponsor of the pavilion is the Sanlorenzo luxury yacht maker.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to curate this pavilion,” said Viola, explaining that the “evocative and complex title is linked to the uncertain and meta-pandemic present.”
The Biennale Arte event this edition will be titled “The Milk of Dreams” and will be curated by Cecilia Alemani. The first Italian woman to hold such a position, Alemani has formerly curated the Italian Pavilion in 2017 and is director and chief curator of High Line Art, which commissions and produces art projects on and around New York’s High Line.
“The Milk of Dreams takes its title from a book by Leonora Carrington in which the Surrealist artist describes a magical world where life is constantly reenvisioned through the prism of the imagination,” explained Alemani. “It is a world where everyone can change, be transformed, become something or someone else,” added the curator, underscoring the art exhibition will focus on “three thematic areas in particular: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth.”
Taking place in the Giardini central pavilion and in the Arsenale location — where Valentino hosted its Des Ateliers couture show last July — Biennale Arte is slated to showcase 213 artists from 58 countries, 180 of which are new to the event, for a total of 1,433 works and objects on display. Incidentally, the American Pavilion will showcase the work of Chicago-born artist Simone Leigh.
This will be the 59th edition of the city’s renowned art exhibition, marking a comeback of the event after it was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Other projects under the La Biennale di Venezia’s umbrella, including the international film festival and the architecture exhibition, were held regularly over the past two years.
Venice will host other initiatives in the spring spotlighting international creativity. Among these, the second edition of Homo Faber running April 10 to May 1 will champion artisanal talent by showcasing a variety of materials, techniques and skills through live demonstrations, immersive digital experiences and displays of handcrafted creations. The event is organized by the Geneve-based Michelangelo Foundation nonprofit established by Compagnie Financière Richemont’s chairman Johann Rupert and Franco Cologni with the mission to preserve, encourage and promote fine craftsmanship.
This year, Homo Faber will celebrate the connection between Europe and Japan through 15 exhibitions conceived by renowned curators and designers — including architect Michele De Lucchi, museum director David Caméo, American director and visual artist Robert Wilson and fashion exhibition designer Judith Clark — to be staged at the spaces of Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
In particular, Clark’s exhibition titled “Details: Genealogies of Ornament” will display the craftsmanship of 14 luxury houses encompassing Alaïa, Hermès, Cartier, Buccellati, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin and Serapian, to name a few.
In addition to these shows, more than 60 local artisan workshops, ateliers, museums and galleries scattered around Venice will be invited to open their doors to visitors during the event.