The Milk of Dreams
The Milk of Dreams is the 59th International Art Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia, curated by Cecilia Alemani. The design of this year’s main exhibition has been conceived by Formafantasma. Along with developing the general layout of the exhibition, the studio has designed five historical sections around which the rest of the artworks gravitates. These capsules are designed as micro-shows within the big show. They provide additional tools of investigation and introspection in regards to this year’s theme, and link artworks of the past. Fundamental components of the design are the use of textiles and colors that are changing according to the curatorial themes.
As visitors move through the exhibition in the Central Pavilion and the Corderie, they encounter five smaller, historical sections: miniature constellations of artworks, found objects, and documents, clustered together to explore certain key themes. Conceived like time capsules and designed by Formafantasma these shows within the show provide additional tools of investigation and introspection, weaving a web of references and echoes that link artworks of the past – including major museum loans and unconventional selections – to the pieces by contemporary artists in the surrounding space.
“The Witch’s Cradle” is the first of five time capsules featured in “The Milk of Dreams”. The space is designed as a monochromatic environment in ocher tones covering floor, ceiling and walls, with extensive use of carpeted surfaces and tone on tone velvet. The sense of wholeness is emphasized by the carpet, which curves and cover parts of the peripheral walls, reminding to a grotto made of fabric.
“Corps Orbite” is the second of five time featured in “The Milk of Dreams”. The art presented in this section is mainly focusing on textual art and calligraphy as an expressive tool beyond the convening of meaning. The design of the displays subtly refers to reading rooms and public libraries.
“Technologies of Enchantment” is the third of five time capsules of “The Milk of Dreams”. The exhibition design and material choices are conceived as an extension to the artworks displayed: a stainless steel sheet is used as the top layer of the central platform while a metallic looking moire fabric covers all the walls.This choice of textile is a subtle reference to Programed Art’s the play with visual perception.
“A Leaf a Gourd a Shell a Net a Bag a Sling a Snack a Bottle a Pot a Box a Container” is the fourth of five time capsules of “The Milk of Dreams”. The oval shape of the room evokes the feeling of being within a vessel. The palette of colors is limited to a warm tone of white and two tones of pinks, alluding to a uterine-organic environment.
“Seduction of the Cyborg” is the last of the five time capsules of “The Milk of Dreams”. The design references the iconography of the cyborg and the aseptic feeling of scientific laboratories. The cold atmosphere is emphasized by the use of color and by the light emitted from an imposing lightbox floating above the room.
Notes, References and External Links1. The Venice Biennale (/ˌbiːɛˈnɑːleɪ, -li/; Italian: La Biennale di Venezia [la bi.enˈnaːle di veˈnɛttsja]; in English also called the "Venice Biennial") refers to an arts organization based in Venice and the name of the original and principal biennial exhibition the organization presents. The organization changed its name to the Biennale Foundation in 2009, while the exhibition is now called the Art Biennale to distinguish it from the organization and other exhibitions the Foundation organizes.
2. Cecilia Alemani is an Italian curator based in New York City. She is the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art and the Artistic Director of the 59th Venice Biennale in 2021. She previously curated the 2017 Biennale's Italian pavilion and served as Artistic Director of the inaugural edition of the 2018 Art Basel Cities in Buenos Aires, held in 2018.
3. The Milk of Dreams is the 59th International Art Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia. The design of this year’s main exhibition has been conceived by Formafantasma. Along with developing the general layout of the exhibition, the studio has designed five historical sections around which the rest of the artworks gravitates.
4. Kvadrat is a Danish textile company that produces and supplies textiles and textile-related products to architects, designers and private consumers in Europe and worldwide. Kvadrat was established in Denmark in 1968 with deep roots in Scandinavia's design tradition.
ContributorsCONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin
DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT Gabriele Milanese
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT Ibrahim Kombarji
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Cecilia Alemani
ARTISTIC ORGANIZER Marta Papini
GRAPHIC IDENTITY A Practice for Everyday Life
PRODUCTION Tosetto Allestimenti
PHOTO CREDITS Marco Cappelletti – Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia, Roberto Marossi – Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia, Gabriele Milanese – Formafantasma, Gregorio Gonella – Formafantasma
LiteratureDesignboom, formafantasma on the exhibition design of the 2022 venice art biennale
The New York Times, Looking Inward, and Back, at a Biennale for the History Books
Elledecor, Venice Biennale 2022: The Milk of Dreams Is a Showcase of Bodies, Fabric and Earth
ArtReview, 59th Venice Biennale Review: Revelation and Illusion
A Magazie curated by, The Milk of Dreams
The Art Newspaper, The stuff of dreams: Cecilia Alemani delivers a perfectly judged Biennale
Whitewall Art, Cecilia Alemani Curates the 59th Venice Biennale: The Milk of Dreams
Artribune, Colore e riuso, la Biennale dei Formafantasma. L’intervista