The title of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is drawn from a series of works started in 2004 by the Paris-born and Palermo-based collective Claire Fontaine. The works consist of neon sculptures in different colours that render in a growing number of languages the words “Foreigners Everywhere”. The phrase comes, in turn, from the name of a Turin collective who fought racism and xenophobia in Italy in the early 2000s: Stranieri Ovunque.
The backdrop for the work is a world rife with multiple crises concerning the movement and existence of people across countries, nations, territories and borders, which reflect the perils and pitfalls of language, translation and ethnicity, expressing differences and disparities conditioned by identity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, wealth, and freedom. In this landscape, the phrase Foreigners Everywhere has (at least) a dual meaning. First of all, that wherever you go and wherever you are you will always encounter foreigners—they/we are everywhere. Secondly, that no matter where you find yourself, you are always, truly, and deep down inside, a foreigner.
Artists have always travelled under the most diverse circumstances, moving through cities, countries and continents, a phenomenon that has only grown since the late 20th century—ironically, a period marked by increasing restrictions on dislocation or displacement of people. The Biennale Arte 2024 will focus on artists who are themselves foreigners, immigrants, expatriates, diasporic, émigrés, exiled, and refugees—especially those who have moved between the Global South and the Global North.