Six Must-See Exhibitions across Venice

The 60th Venice Biennale, titled “Foreigners Everywhere”, opened to the public in April. Beyond the Biennale, which features more than 300 artists in its international exhibition alone, there are several exhibitions and curatorial projects happening across the city that are worth visiting. In this list, we have selected six collateral exhibitions that we consider must-see among the myriad of events and shows currently on view in Venice.

1. Pierre Huyghe: Liminal, Punta della Dogana

Pierre Huyghe, Zoodram 6, 2013

Pierre Huyghe: Liminal expands on the French artist’s well-established and immersive artistic practice, engaging with relevant topics such as the relationship between the human and the non-human and the dichotomic realms of biology and technology. While this sophisticated show offers a unique aesthetic experience to visitors, it also provides a space for introspection and reflection on the future of humankind in the context of the ongoing ecological crisis.

2. In Praise of Black Errantry, Palazzo Pisani S. Marina

Phoebe Boswell, Transit Terminal, 2014/2020

Presented by London’s Unit Gallery, In Praise of Black Errantry proposes a counter-discourse about Black cultural production. Featuring 19 artists from Afro-diasporic contexts, the group exhibition alludes to the Martinique-born French writer and philosopher Édouard Glissant’s approach to the notion of errantry by emphasising the revolutionary and radical political nature of the works on display.

3. Julie Mehretu: Ensemble, Palazzo Grassi

Julie Mehretu, TRANSpaintings, 2023-2024

At Palazzo Grassi, Julie Mehretu: Ensemble presents an overview of Julie Mehretu’s extensive painterly practice in conversation with different artists who are her closest friends and collaborators or have somehow inspired her as an artist. The result is an expansive and stimulating exhibition that looks at the underlying elements behind Mehretu’s creative process through more than fifty works alongside the works of artists such as Tacita Dean, David Hammons, and Huma Bhabha, to name but a few.

4. William Kentridge: Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot, Arsenale Institute for Politics of Representation

Installation view of William Kentridge: Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot, 2024

The exhibition William Kentridge: Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot provides a privileged view of Kentridge’s intimate artistic activities. Drawing on his periods of confinement whilst the pandemic, the show rethinks the relationship between the studio and the domestic and inner life of the artist through a range of personal objects such as drawings, diaries, writings, and poems. This rather small exhibition therefore operates as a studio, and visitors are encouraged to experience an intriguing space while delving into Kentridge’s brilliant mind.

5. Willem de Kooning and Italy, Gallerie dell’Accademia

Installation view of Willem de Kooning and Italy, 2024

This is the largest retrospective of Willem de Kooning ever held in Italy, and it traces the influence of Italy on the Dutch-American artist, famous for his role in abstract expressionism in the US. The exhibition focuses on two separate periods that de Kooning spent in Italy, in 1959 and 1969, demonstrating the impressive variety of motifs, techniques, and mediums utilised by the artist. The show also highlights his vivid relationship with different environments, captured through a series of paintings and sculptures that illustrate de Kooning’s visual encounters in the country.

6. Yoo Youngkuk: A Journey to the Infinite, Fondazione Querini Stampalia

Installation view of Yoo Youngkuk: A Journey to the Infinite, 2024

The monographic exhibition Yoo Youngkuk: A Journey to the Infinite pays tribute to the life and work of Korean artist Yoo Youngkuk, a pioneering abstract artist interested in exploring the realms of geometric abstraction in tandem with glimpses of figuration. The show features paintings that are being displayed outside Korea for the first time, including archival records and documents that provide an insight into Youngkuk’s life and inspiring practice, influenced by the essence of natural elements and their surroundings.

Caroline Fucci for London Art Walk
June 2024