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The new International Centre for Research on the Contemporary Arts of La Biennale di Venezia
La Biennale -

The new International Centre for Research on the Contemporary Arts of La Biennale di Venezia

Announced at the Italian Pavilion of Expo Dubai 2020.

The announcement was made by La Biennale at the Italian Pavilion of Expo Dubai 2020 as it launched the first research project in collaboration with Universities and Institutes of Higher Learning.

The new International Centre for Research on the Contemporary Arts

On Tuesday October 5thduring the inaugural week of Expo Dubai 2020 and in the context of the activities of the Italian Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia announces the foundation of the International Centre for Research on the Contemporary Arts and the start of the first research project in collaboration with Universities and Institutes of higher learning.

The research project arises from the expansion of the activities of the Historic Archives of the Contemporary Arts (ASAC), currently involved in the renovation of its new offices inside the Arsenale, adjacent to the Exhibition spaces and the Giardini Library. The starting sources consist in the materials preserved in the Historic Archive, constantly expanding not only for the activities specific to La Biennale, but also for the acquisition of third-party archives.

The “Geopolitical Map of the artists who participated in the Biennale exhibitions over the past 20 years, from 1999 to 2020 is the title of the research study that will involve students and professors from IULM - Libera Università di Lingue e Comunicazione, Sapienza Università di Roma, Università IUAV di Venezia, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia and the Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello Venezia. The ultimate goal is to define an orderly collection of shared data that will allow researchers to communicate and widen the boundaries of their studies.

As part of this new project La Biennale di Venezia, which produces International Expositions, Exhibitions and Festivals of Art, Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music and Theatre, intends to dilate the dialogue between the curators of the different Departments on the themes and content that have been addressed across the history of La Biennale from its foundation to the present day. In parallel, La Biennale has set a goal to conduct research studies along two different tracks: pure research based on historic reconstruction and investigation into the influence on civil life that can be produced by the development of the arts.

The students selected from each university and institute will participate in three-month workshops, one of which will be within La Biennale’s Archive, following a mutually approved programme.

The event on October 5thorganized by the Italian Pavilion is part of the focus dedicated to the city of Venice, an international laboratory and a model for the fight against the effects of climate change and the promotion of innovative processes of environmental transition and cultural and social innovation.

La Biennale di Venezia is actively and practically committed to the momentous challenge of the fight against climate change and the ecological transition. It has already set in motion a “Carbon Management Plan”, a process that will lead to “carbon neutrality” for all its activities, which it achieved this year for the 78th Venice International Film Festival and has committed to for all the coming editions of its activities and initiatives.

The Historical Archives of La Biennale di Venezia (ASAC)

The Biennale Historical Archives (ASAC) collect documents and collections related to the activities of La Biennale di Venezia, gathered from 1895 to the present. In addition to their activities of conservation, cataloguing, inventorying and researching, the Historical Archives give free access to their funds to students and researchers from all over the world. Every artistic director of the different sectors of La Biennale (Art and Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Music and Theater) is called to further evaluate the archive materials by designing and curating small exhibitions.*

The Historical Archives are organized in the Archive and the Library.


Since 2008 the Archive has found its location in the spaces of the VEGA Scientific Park of Porto Marghera, appropriately set up to host archives and collections (Historical Fund, Posters, Music store, Film library, Media library, Artistic Fund, Collection of documents, Library, Periodicals) guaranteeing optimum microclimatic conditions for conservation and access to scholars for the consultation of materials. The Archive preserves documents related to the activities of the Biennale Foundation and materials related to the arts from the end of the XIX century. The Archive is distinguished by the heterogeneity of its materials, including press articles, photographs, documents, audiovisuals, scores, works of art, vinyl records, posters.

Since 2009 the Library is an integral part of the Central Pavilion at the Giardini. The Library specializes in contemporary art, with a special focus on documentation and deepening of the Foundation's activities, preserving all the catalogs of La Biennale activities and collecting bibliographic material related to the disciplines of visual arts, architecture, cinema, dance, photography, music, theater. Thanks to its book heritage of more than 161,000 volumes and 3,200 periodicals, it is one of the leading libraries of contemporary art in Italy.


A selection of works from the artistic fund are now on display in La Biennale headquarters at Ca' Giustinian.

A specific project of Biennale College will be developed also at the Historical Archives: young scholars will be hosted to attend Festivals and events, accompanied by their tutors. They will attend seminars to deepen the themes related to the activity programs. One of the crucial steps for them will be the consultation and studying of the materials of the Archive, which becomes home to future critics.


* Artistic Directors have realized the following exhibitions starting from 2010:

Il Teatro del Mondo di Aldo Rossi; Italia: 150 / Biennale: 116 - Tutti i manifesti di 116 anni di vita in Mostra; Video Medium Intermedium - Video d’artista degli anni settanta dalle collezioni dell’ASAC; Gli “Archi” di Aldo Rossi per la III Mostra Internazionale di Architettura 1985; 20 Anni di Maschere e Costumi - Mostra dalla collezione di bozzetti teatrali; Amarcord - Frammenti di memoria dall’Archivio Storico della Biennale; Riapparizioni. Corpi, gesti, sguardi dai palcoscenici della Biennale. Album dal 1934 al 1976; L’idea del corpo. Merce Cunnigham, Steve Paxton, Julian Beck, Meredith Monk e Simone Forti dall’Archivio della Biennale 1960-1976; 1999 - Una riproposta del percorso espositivo della mostra dAPERTuttO a cura di Harald Szeemann; Biennale Arte 2001 - Platea dell’Umanità curatore Harald Szeemann; Registe alla Biennale Teatro 1934 – 2016; Il Cinema in Mostra. Volti e immagini dalla Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica 1932 – 2018; La Biennale per i giovani. College ed Educational 2008-2018; Le muse inquiete. La Biennale di Venezia di fronte alla storia; The body is a document of today – A tribute to Ismael Ivo.

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