In Pictures: See Practically Every Artwork in the Venice Biennale’s Arsenale Section

Apr 21, 2022

Delayed for a year because of the pandemic, the Venice Biennale, titled “The Milk of Dreams,” has finally opened to previews this week.

Curator Cecilia Alemani has spoken about how the process of putting together the massive endeavor in difficult conditions (Zoom studio visits, working remotely, etc.) made her appreciate the physical and non-technological dimensions of art-viewing even more. And indeed, this is a very physical show, with a focus on embodied knowledge, sensation, and artworks with physical presence.

It also has a pointedly self-reflective perspective on art history, and it’s notable that the world’s most famous survey of new art has one face turned away from the contemporary. Specifically, it incorporates a number of concentrated shows-within-the-show, each one intensively examining a theme that, in turn, is meant to serve as a lens through which to look at some the more contemporary work.

In the plunging Arsenale space, there are two such mini-exhibitions. One, with the prolix title “A Leaf a Gourd a Shell a Net a Bat a Sling a Sack a Bottle a Pot a Box a Container,” is a selection of artworks that reflect on the vessel as a metaphor. The other, “The Seduction of the Cyborg,” pays homage to female artists who have, in various way, thought about the body as a reprogrammable machine.

But there is much more to see. Here are some pictures to give you a sense of the Arsenale section of “The Milk of Dreams.”

The entrance to the Arsenale section of “The Milk of Dreams.” Photo by Ben Davis.

Simone Leigh’s Brick House greets visitors in the opening gallery. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Belkis Ayón in “The Milk of Dreams.” Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Gabriel Chaile. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Portia Zvavahera. Photo by Ben Davis.

Ficre Ghebreyesys, City With a River Running Through (2011). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Rosana Paulino and Niki de Saint Phalle. Photo by Ben Davis.

Thao Nguyen Phan, First Rain, Brise-Soleil (2021–ongoing). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Britta Marakatt-Labba. Photo by Ben Davis.

Eglė Budvytytė, Songs from the Compost: mutating bodies, imploding stars (2020). Photo by Ben Davis.

Niki de Saint Phalle, Gwendolyn (1966–1990). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Frantz Zéphirin and Célestin Faustin. Photo by Ben Davis.

Myrlande Constant, Sirenes (2020), GUEDE (Baron) (2020), and Rasanbleman soupe tout eskòt yo (2019). Photo by Ben Davis.

Violeta Parra, El Circo (1961), Árbol de la vida (1963) and Combate Naval I (1964). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Felipe Baeza. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Pinaree Sanpitak. Photo by Ben Davis.

Ceramic works by Magdalene Odundo. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Safia Farhat and Roberto Gil de Montes. Photo by Ben Davis.

A special capsule presentation titled “A Leaf a Gourd a Shell a Net a Bag a Sling a Sack a Bottle a Pot a Box a Container.” Photo by Ben Davis.

One of Aletta Jacobs’s “Womb Models” (1840). Photo by Ben Davis.

Display of works by Ruth Asawa. Photo by Ben Davis.

A display of works by Tecla Tofano. Photo by Ben Davis.

Luiz Roque, Urubu (2020). Photo by Ben Davis.

Delcy Morelos, Earthly Paradis (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Jaider Esbell. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Sheroanawe Hakihiiwe. Photo by Ben Davis.

Firelei Baez, Muzidi Calabi Yau Space (or a matter of navigation) (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Emma Talbot, Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Sandra Vásquez de la Horra. Photo by Ben Davis.

Two sculptures by Candice Lin. Photo by Ben Davis.

Noah Davis, Isis (2019). Photo by Ben Davis.

Aage Gaup, Sculpture I & II (1979). Photo by Ben Davis.

Zheng Bo, Le Sacre du printemps (Tandvärkstallen) (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Tau Lewis and, in the foreground, Solange Pessoa. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Jessie Homer French. Photo by Ben Davis.

Display of Ibrahim El-Salahi’s Behind the Mask (2020–2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Prabhakar Pachpute, Unfolding of the remains II (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Ali Cherri, Titans (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Igshaan Adams, Bonteheuwel / Epping (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Ali Cherri, Of Men and Gods and Mud (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Installation view of the “Seduction of the Cyborg,” a capsule gallery in “The Milk of Dreams.” Photo by Ben Davis.

Installation view of the “Seduction of the Cyborg,” a capsule gallery in “The Milk of Dreams.” Photo by Ben Davis.

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Limbswish (198-1920). Photo by Ben Davis.

Louise Nevelson, Homage to the Universe (1968). Photo by Ben Davis.

Weimar-era costumes by Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt. Photo by Ben Davis.

Rebecca Horn, Kiss of the Rhinoceros (1989). Photo by Ben Davis.

Liliane Lijn, Feathered Lady (1979), Heshe (1980), and Gemini (1984). Photo by Ben Davis.

Display dedicated to the facial prosthetics of Anne Coleman Ladd. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Kiki Kogelnik. Photo by Ben Davis.

Liv Bugge, Play (2019). Photo by Ben Davis.

Noor Abuarafeh, Am I the Ageless Object at the Museum? (2018). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Tatsuo Ikeda. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Kapwani Kiwanga. Photo by Ben Davis.

Elias Sime, Red Leaves (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Dora Budor, Autophones (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Teresa Solar, Tunnel Boring Machine (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Paintings by Allison Katz. Photo by Ben Davis.

Özlem Altın, Translucent Shield (calling) (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Paintings by Jamian Juliano-Villani. Photo by Ben Davis.

Tetsumi Kudo, Flowers (1967–1968). Photo by Ben Davis.

Photos by Joanna Piotrowska. Photo by Ben Davis.

Louise Bonnet, Pisser Triptych (2021–22). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Carolyn Lazard. Photo by Ben Davis.

Entrance to Marianna Simnett’s video installation. Photo by Ben Davis.

Mariana Simnett, The Severed Tail (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Raphaela Vogel, Ability and Necessity (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Jes Fan. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Mira Lee. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Kerstin Brätsch. Photo by Ben Davis.

Raphaela Vogel, Psychogräfin (2022) and work by Kerstin Brätsch. Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Sandra Mujinga. Photo by Ben Davis.

Marguerite Humeau, Migrations (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Monira al Qadiri, Orbital (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

LuYang, DOKU — Digital Descending (2020-ongoing). Photo by Ben Davis.

Sondra Perry, Lineage for a Phantom Zone (2020-2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Elisa Giardina Papa, “U Scantu”: A Disorderly Tale (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Geumhyung Jeong, Toy Prototype (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Works by Tishan Hsu. Photo by Ben Davis.

Lynn Hershman Leeson, Logic Paralyzes the Heart (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Zhenya Machneva, A Girl (2022) and Echo (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Janis Rafa, Laceration (2020). Photo by Ben Davis.

Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Beginning/Middle/End) (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Diego Marcon, The Parents’ Room (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Robert Grosvenor, Block of Water (2019). Photo by Ben Davis.

Precious Okoyomon, Earth Before the End of the World (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Wu Tsang, Of Whales (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Sculpture by Simone Leigh located in the garden outside of the Arsenale. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

Works by Giulia Cenci. Photo by Ben Davis.