The Venice Biennale is the oldest and one of the most prestigious periodic contemporary art exhibitions in the world, as well as the only one that preserves the system of national representations up to the present day.
The 120 year history since the foundation of the institution is in fact a multidimensional itinerary of gradual internationalisation, which starts in the period of pre-war introversion and ends in today’s globalisation. During its long history, the Biennale has exercised artistic influence; it has become the vehicle for spreading political ideas and has faced, both in a direct and an indirect way, various thematic challenges relating to international socio-political developments. Its institutional course, many-sided and rich in changes and frequent reforms, has been closely interwoven with the radical historical upheavals that took place during the 20th century.
On the artistic level, the Biennale brought forward and took advantage of emerging artistic movements, acknowledged and ‘legitimised’ the work of established artists, offered timely information to the wider public, and above all, due to the policy of the national representations, it contributed to the promotion of work by artists who originated from countries on the periphery of the global art system.
- La Biennale di Venezia: Le esposizioni Internazionali d’Arte 1895-1995, Artisti, Mostre, Partecipazioni Nazionali, Premi, La Biennale di Venezia, Electa, 1996.
- E. Di Martino, La Biennale di Venezia 1895 – 2003, Papiro Arte, Venezia 2003.
- M. Vecco, La Biennale di Venezia. Documenta di Kassel, Franco Angeli, Milano 2002.
- F. Poli, Il sistema dell’arte contemporanea, Editori Laterza, Bari 2008, p. 31-43, 139-142.
- S. Cagol, Storia e organizzazione della Biennale di Venezia, Interculture Map-analyses art, printable version, 2008.