On 55th Venice Biennale

Review on 55th Venice Biennale, curated by Massimiliano Gioni

The Encyclopedic Palace of Massimiliano Gioni gathers extensive approaches to the understanding of the world around us through various degrees of relating to the visible and the invisible via the medium of image production. Highlighted in the 8th edition of Gwangju Biennale that Gioni curated three years ago, the significance of images lies in their power of organising, structuring, and visualising knowledge. Drawing parallels to Giorgio Agamben’s positioning of the epistemological and ontological status of the example, Gioni’s approach to the domain of image production within the artistic and creative realms brings about the “exclusive inclusion” principle. Agamben’s example opens the world of meanings, makes things intelligible in their singularity. Gioni’s Palace in this respect, opens to knowability and knowledge with an attempt to chart the precursors of contemporary magma of images. The Encyclopedic Palace hence emerges as an exhibition, an “anti-biennial” in Francesco Bonami’s words,1 a temporary museum that “initiate(s) an inquiry into the many ways in which images have been used to organise knowledge and shape our experience.”2

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