The 57th International Art Exhibition in Venice will be a biennale “designed with the artists, by the artists and for the artists”, curator Christine Macel has said.

Announcing the title of the 2017 Venice Biennale as ‘Viva Arte Viva’, Macel said that it suggested a festival with artists at its heart. “[the title] is an expression of the passion for art and for the state of the artist… [the biennale] deals with the forms they propose, the questions they pose, the practices they develop and the forms of life they choose.”

Macel added that in these troubled times, art is perhaps the most precious part of being human. “It is the ideal place for reflection, individual expression, freedom and fundamental questions. It is a ‘yes’ to life, although sometimes a ‘but’ lies behind. More than ever, the role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are crucial in the framework of contemporary debates.”

Every week during the six months of the exhibition, artists and the public will participate in an Open Table (Tavola Aperta) where they can have lunch together and talk about their practice.

As in previous editions, the festival will feature a series of pavilions in Venice’s Giardini and the Arsenale featuring works by artists representing 57 countries, including Great Britain which for 2017 is represented by Phylidda Barlow. There will also be an extensive programme of ‘collateral’ events, including pavilions from Scotland (Rachel Maclean) and Wales (James Richards).

Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale, said: “By finding inspiration in a ‘humanist’ vision and keeping the focus on the artist’s creative act, the exhibition will also promote a new and more intense conversation between visitors and many of the artists on display.”

Venice Biennale 2017 takes place from May 13 to November 26 2017 (preview May 10-12).

1. Paolo Baratta and Christine Macel. Photo: Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale Di Venezia Low

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