I know 2022 is still a few months away, but we need to plan in advance this time. Granted they will be held without restrictions or delays, 2022 will see the coincidence of 3 of the most significant art exhibitions in the world, all of which took place around Europe. 

I have to admit it, I am beyond thrilled! 

And since they are going to be massive, but we will still have to deal with Covid restrictions and travel uncertainties, we better start marking our calendars now and prepare for the trips. 

Yes, trips – because these exhibitions and biennials will require us to travel around Europe, so you can as well take this as the perfect itinerary for your 2022 spring-summer European adventure. First, it’ll take you to sunny Italy, then up north to Germany, and you will end up in one of the most exciting and up-and-coming parts of Europe, Kosovo and the Balkans, where I am sure most of the new art will come from in the near future. 

So, if you are ready to start planning and dreaming, here are 3 major international art exhibitions in Europe you want to put on your 2022 calendar. 

documenta fifteen – Kassel, Germany (18.06 – 25.09)

Held every five years in the German city of Kassel, documenta (without capital D as they want) is one of the biggest art events in the World, both for its impact on the current discourse about contemporary art and for the caliber of the artists presented. It was founded by artist, teacher, and curator Arnold Bode in 1955, and over the years the exhibition has grown to include artists from all over the planet. 

The list of artists presented in each exhibition is not released until very close to the opening, but the selected artists usually have several years to conceive and produce site-specific works. The show itself, on the contrary, stays open just for 100 days each time. So, as I told you, better prepare in advance to make sure we do not miss this! 

documenta fifteen, which will occur in 2022 from June 18 until September 25, is curated by ruangrupa, a collective founded in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2000. From the little information that we have so far, we know that the main idea behind documenta fifteen is that of “lumbung”, an Indonesian word that directly translates as “rice barn”, the building where a community’s harvest is gathered, stored, and distributed. As we can read on their website, “principles of collectivity, resource building and equitable distribution are pivotal to the curatorial work and impact the entire process — the structure, self-image and appearance of documenta fifteen.”

Expect grand installations and complex works, guaranteed to reflect upon the major themes of our days. An exhibition to savor that needs a little research in advance, but I am sure will stimulate all of us. 

For more info: documenta-fifteen.de

The 59th Venice Biennale – Venice, Italy (23.04 – 27.11)

I have a sentimental bond with Venice and the Biennale, as it is one of those places where I keep going back and that I hold the dearest to my heart. So much that I’ll be in Venice this year as well, so expect an article and some insights soon! 

But let’s focus on the Venice Biennale. Held every 2 years, it was supposed to open in 2021, but since the Architecture Biennale (originally meant to open in 2020) had to be rescheduled to 2021, it’ll now take place between April 23 and November 27, 2022. Curated by Cecilia Alemani, the 59th edition, entitled “The Milk of Dreams”, will focus on 3 major themes: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses, the relationship between individuals and technologies, the connection between bodies and the earth.

The Venice Biennale is perhaps the oldest contemporary event still active. It was founded in 1895, and it has more or less taken place regularly since then. Being a massive event, with pavilions representing almost every country on the planet, it is spread around Venice. 

Nonetheless, the main exhibitions and biggest pavilions are located in the Arsenale and the Giardini, where the biggest and oldest national pavilions are grouped together. Moreover, you can just wander around Venice and visit the many national pavilions located in historical buildings around the Laguna. 

You will need a ticket for the Arsenale and Giardini, but outside pavilions are usually free to visit. Consider several days to see the Biennale; at least 2 for the Giardini and Arsenale (the ticket is valid for 2 consecutive days), and more for the outside pavilions, if you plan to visit all of them. 

And that is just to visit the Biennale, because if you plan to see everything Venice has to offer during those days, you would have to move there for at least a couple of months.

You can find more information and the complete program here: www.labiennale.org

Manifesta 14th – Phristina, Kosovo (22.07 – 30.10)

Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, is the third and final international art exhibition rocking Europe in 2022. Being a nomadic biennial, it takes place in a different location every time, and in 2022 it will be held in the capital of Kosovo, Phristina, from July 22 to October 30.

Manifesta was first launched in Rotterdam in 1996, and it has been held almost regularly in various locations throughout Europe, including Nicosia (Cyprus) and St.Petersburg (Russia). Despite the Covid pandemic, the 2020 edition came about in Marseille, so Manifesta will return in 2022 in Kosovo as planned before moving to Barcelona in 2024 and the Ruhr Area in 2026.

As they state on their website: “Manifesta selected the City of Prishtina because of the geographical and geo-political importance of the Western Balkans in relation to Europe’s recent history and its future. This fast-changing urban centre of Prishtina at the crossroads between Southern and Eastern Europe will allow Manifesta 14 to investigate how contemporary culture and social practices can address the identity of a country that is as composite as it is polymorphic.”

More than just a temporary event, Manifesta aims to maintain its very nature of a nomadic event, but turning at the same time towards the co-creation and transformation of cultural infrastructures in close collaboration with local, civic partners, to have a long-lasting impact on the city of Phristina and its cultural scene. 

I am particularly curious to visit this edition, as it is not just an exciting project but an excellent opportunity to discover a country not usually among the top destinations in Europe. 

All the info and the program will be published in the upcoming months here: manifesta14.org

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