Okwui Enwezor has chosen All the World’s Futures as the title of his major curatorial project for the 56th International Art Exhibition at the 2015 edition of the Venice Biennale.

The Nigerian-born international writer and curator promises to look back over the 120-year history of the Biennale as a parable from which to consider historical narratives and counter-narratives. Taking on an at once global and fragmented worldview, the exhibition aims to reflect on the disconnect between how things are and how they appear.

Asking ‘How can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined, and articulated?’, Enwezor has initiated a multi-layered approach to the exhibition, using three intersecting sub-themes as a way of facilitating multiple perspectives. These are: Liveness: On epic duration; Garden of Disorder; and Capital: A Live Reading.

Changing narratives

Liveness: On epic duration will consider the whole exhibition as a stage-set for changing narratives. With this, Enwezor is positioning All the World’s Futures as “a program of events that can be experienced at the intersection of liveness and display.”

Elsewhere, Garden of Disorder proposes a simultaneously irreverent and deeply serious reappraisal of the current geo-political climate. Inspired by its location within the Giardini – the enclosed exhibition garden famed for its imposing national pavilions that through the microcosm of artistic diplomacy play out a form of world politics – artists are invited to create new work taking inspiration from the historical concept of the ‘garden’ as a paradisiacal site for tranquility, pleasure, order and purity.

Enwezor says: “The Biennale Arte 2015 returns to the ancient ground of this ideal to explore the changes in the global environment, to read the Giardini with its ramshackle assemblage of pavilions as the ultimate site of a disordered world, of national conflicts, as well as territorial and geopolitical disfigurations.”

Capital project 

A live reading of the four volumes of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital will occur daily over the seven months of the Biennale, gradually evolving into a series of work songs, librettos, script readings, discussions and film screenings. Artists, theorists, students, performers and members of the public will be invited to present their concepts and ideas around Capital today.

“Capital is the great drama of our age,” says Enwesor. “Today nothing looms larger in every sphere of experience, from the predations of the political economy to the rapacity of the financial industry. In All the World’s Futures, the aura, effects, affects, and spectres of Capital will be felt in one of the most ambitious explorations of this concept and term.”

Venice Biennale president Paolo Baratta adds: “It is not the first time that an exhibition faces a world filled with uncertainty and turmoil whilst the ‘garden of the world’ appears to us as a “garden of disorder”, and it is also not the first time that faced with a complicated reality, an exhibition responds with the enthusiasm and dynamism evident in the one we are in the throes of organising.”

The 56th International Art Exhibition takes place in Venice from 9 May to 22 November 2015. www.labiennale.org

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Okwui Enwezor to curate the 2015 Venice Biennale