China's national pavilion debuts at Venice Biennale, fostering cross-cultural artistic connections

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The Chinese pavilion is designed around the theme of "Altas: Harmony in Diversity." "Atlas" epitomizes the understanding and mutual appreciation of diverse identities, races and beliefs. The pavilion also focuses on notions such as "gathering" and "integration."

Art critic He Zhengyong told the Global Times that this theme encourages viewers to find "cultural consensus and shared emotional experiences in art" regardless of their different roots.

The exhibition at the Chinese pavilion has been divided into two sections: "Collect" and "Inheritance." The first section displays an archive of 100 images of ancient Chinese paintings scattered overseas.

The poster of the exhibition called Atlas: Harmony in Diversity Photo: Courtesy of Venice Biennale

Wang Xiaosong, one of the curators of the show, told media that these 100 images were selected from a total of 12,405 photos of Chinese masterpieces that have been collected since the year of 2005.

The second part exhibits artworks created by seven Chinese contemporary artists: Che Jianquan, Jiao Xingtao, Qiu Zhenzhong, Shi Hui, Wang Shaoqiang, Wang Zhenghong and Zhu Jinshi. Their artworks were inspired by ancient Chinese art like landscape paintings, architecture, portraits and calligraphy, but are essentially the art of today, since these artists have interpreted these themes through contemporary practices and methods.

"The theme of this year's China's national pavilion shows that both Chinese and Italian culture have thousands of years of history and that both sides can respect their different origins and build ever closer relationships in harmony," Laura Fincato, Italy's former deputy foreign minister, told the Xinhua News Agency.

Zhang Lingxiao, cultural counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Italy, has attended the exhibition. Zhang said that the Chinese pavilion in Italy can help further promote mutual understanding and friendly exchanges between China and Italy.

"China's national pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale adds importance to the joint commemoration between China and Italy during the 700th anniversary of Marco Polo's death," Zhan remarked.

Founded in 1895, The Venice Biennale, also known as the Venice International Art Exhibition, is one of the largest and most influential art exhibitions in the world. The title of this year's iteration is "Foreigners Everywhere." The international exhibition was curated by Adriano Pedrosa, an art veteran from Brazil. Pedrosa is the event's first chief curator from Latin America.

China's national pavilion designs have been continuously presented at the event since 2005. In 2023, the theme of the Chinese pavilion was "Meta-Space." It focused on how technology and digital tools brought new climates to Chinese contemporary arts. The "Meta-Space" theme was inspired by a notion called "spiritual territory" that was once given by the father of China's missile and space program Qian Xuesen to describe virtual reality.

"In my opinion, a national pavilion at the Biennale should present the most cutting-edge artistic development of a country over the past two years," said Zhang.

The 2024 Venice Biennale is scheduled to end on November 24.