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"49th International Exhibition of Art: Plateau of Humankind"
2001-06-10 until 2001-11-04
Venice Biennal
Venice, , IT Italy

The 49th International Exhibition of Art will open to the public on 10 June 2001. A new challenge, a new charge of vital energy for this new Biennale that is undergoing continual expansion and transformation. The International Exhibition of Art of 2001 takes the form of a Platea dell'umanita, Plateau of Humankind, Plateau der Menschheit, Plateau de l'humanite - a vantage-point from which to see and to be seen; the visiting public is not only the spectator but also a leading participant in an ample space that affords an encounter between public, artists and their works.

With Aperto 80 the doors of the Biennale were for the first time thrown open to the up-and-coming generations and to the new artistic languages they were using; then came dAPERTutto, which abolished all distinction between established and young artists, with no one style taking precedence over another. Now, the journey through the arts undertaken by Harald Szeemann, the Director of the Visual Arts Section of the Biennale di Venezia, passes into another fruitful stage, emerging onto a Plateau of Humankind from which it is possible for the gaze to reach beyond its own limits. The Plateau of Humankind is not a theme as such but rather a declaration of responsibility to history, to the events of the present day. It opens up a dimension... Artists look at the world and address the world, searching out and recounting all the multiple dimensions of contemporary humanity. The Plateau of Humankind serves to observe and capture the feelings and stories that are narrated in and through the works of young artists; there are social problems, environmental themes, the rhythms of everyday life, new technology and the world wide web of information, work and sport, happiness and tragedy.

On a single large upland (Plateau), from where one can look out to view humankind, young artists from all over the world offer their account of the present day; whilst alongside them look out those figures who contributed to the artistic revolutions of the twentieth century. All present in one single exhibition, without divisions of time or space.

It is no coincidence that the International exhibition begins with the social utopia of Joseph Beuys and his sculpture The End of the Twentieth Century (1968), which opens the way to a single massive exhibition extending from the Italian Pavilion in the Castello Gardens through to the Arsenale spaces of the Corderie, the Artiglierie and the Gaggiandre: one single itinerary in which the public is led from one surprise to another.

And this enormous Plateau of Humankind embraces not only the works that are part of the International Exhibition proper, but the entire Exhibition that is, the national participations in the Giardini pavilions and those organised at various other venues throughout the city.

The Plateau of Humankind does not set any limits of geography or theme; and it is also open to contributions from the other arts: cinema, poetry, music, theatre and dance. Some of the artists of the cinema have taken up the challenge and opportunity offered, abandoning their usual space (the cinema) and their usual public, to measure themselves against the exhibition space itself. In the same way, poets will offer their own work in exhibition alongside the works of visual artists; and theatre, dance and music will also dedicate part of their own programmes to participation in the great event. In this way, the Biennale di Venezia will carry forward its long-term project for interaction between the arts, with all the various sections of the organisation involved in continual creative engagement.

The exhibition spaces stand alongside the spaces for theatre, the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale and the Teatro alle Tese. Thus, in the very heart of the Arsenale complex, there are venues in which the time and rhythm of theatrical spectacle can unfold in the midst of the continuing presence of the exhibition. This unbroken dialogue between the Directors of the various sections of the Biennale di Venezia has moulded the 49th International Exhibition of Art into a single great event that will attract the attention of the international world of art.


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