The Biennale Arte di Venezia is considered one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Since its inauguration (1895), it is at the forefront of the promotion of new artistic directions. Every year, the Biennale welcomes an audience of more than 600,000 visitors from around the world, composed of professionals, students and contemporary art lovers.

The 58th International Art Exhibition, at the suggestion of the President Paolo Baratta, appointed Ralph Rugoff as artistic director of the Biennale titled May you live in Interesting Times. The Venice Biennale will take place from 11th May to 24th November 2019

(pre-opening on 8th, 9th and 10th May).

Driant Zeneli (1983, Shkoder, Albania), lives and works between Milano and Tirana.

In 2008 he won the Onufri International Contemporary Art Prize, Tirana, in 2009 the Young European Artist Award Trieste Contemporanea and in 2017 MOROSO Prize, Italy. He was the artistic director of Mediterranea 18, the Young Artists Biennale from Europe and Mediterranean, taking place for the first time in 2017 between Tirana and Durres.

He has exhibited at: Passerelle, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brest, (2018); Mostyn Gallery, Wales, UK (2017); MuCEM, Marseille, (2016); Academie de France à Roma Villa Medici, (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); MSFAU Tophane-i Aime, Istanbul, (2016); Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan (2018; 2015; 2010); IV Bienal del Fin del Mundo, Chile (2015); Viafarini, Milan (2014); GAM, Museum of Modern and Contemporaryart Turin (2013); White House Biennial, Athens (2013); KCCC, Klaipeda, Lithuania (2013); ZKM, Karlsruhe (2012); MUSAC, Castilla León. Spain, (2012); TICA, Tirana (2012); Prague Biennale 5, Prague (2011); 98 weeks Project Space, Beirut (2011); Trongate 103, Glasgow (2011); National Gallery of Kosove, Prishtine (2010); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa (2009); National Gallery of Tirana, (2008).

He is co-founder of Harabel Contemporary Art Platform, that focuses on the promotion of public art and the creation of an open archive of artists’ portfolio in Albania. Born out of the necessity to make contemporary art a commonwealth, free and accessible to all, Harabel opens in 2018 in ish-Blloku, an area situated in the heart of Tirana; inaccessible to citizens during communism, this area is today the most vibrant and young of the capital. Harabel aims to become a catalyzer of urban interventions and indoor reflections, by offering an interdisciplinary space for experimentation and research.

Alicia Knock, curator at Centre Pompidou in the Contemporary art and Prospective department created and run by Christine Macel, works at expanding the museum towards Africa and Central Europe, through both acquisitions and exhibitions. She explores new exhibition and working formats, questioning the museum itself through multidisciplinary projects (Harmony Korine, 2017).

In charge of recent Duchamp Prize exhibitions (Kader Attia, Yto Barrada, Ulla von Brandenburg and Barthélémy Toguo, 2016; “The most foreign country”, women artists from the Duchamp Prize, Fondation Fernet Branca, 2017; Maja Bajevic, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Charlotte Moth, Vittorio Santoro, 2017), she is also involved in the new project space of Pompidou, Galerie 0, aiming at becoming a laboratory for new practices (Museum On / Off, 2016).

How do we push our physical and mental boundaries without becoming superheroes? Can the possible and the imaginary coexist? At the core of Driant Zeneli’s research is the redefinition of failure, utopia and dream. Through filmic narration and performance, Driant Zeneli questions human obsession with its own limits, sketching alternative responses to the fragility of human beings

and planet earth. He challenges the physical and metaphysical relationship between man and space, matter and dream, gravity and control. Maybe the cosmos is not so extraordinary (2019), is a sculptural
video installation which expands upon a multidisciplinary project entitled Beneath a surface there is just another surface started in 2015 at Metallurgjik, a dystopian industrial complex, in Elbasan,

Albania. The project and its title derive from the pioneering science-fiction novel On the way to Epsilon Eridani (1983) by Albanian physicist and writer Arion Hysenbegas.
The installation develops from a two-channel film set in the mines of Bulqize, a city in the North-East of the country, where, since 1918, the chrome mineral has been extracted. Chrome represents a key resource for the industrial development of Albania and collides with economic and political conflicts in the Global South. The film stages a group of teenagers from Bulqize discovering a cosmic capsule which follows the journey of chrome, from its extraction and processing within the factory to its exportation and worldwide exploitation. This “geopolitical” space travel therefore turns this shady and dramatic industrial environment into an ambivalent space for collapse and takeoff.
Through binary storytelling, precise choreography of image and sound, the factory operates not only as an industrial space or geopolitical hub but as a visually performative force. The extraction of chrome is turned into a hypnotic sculptural image and the overall


factory therefore translates into a big light and sound « parallel » installation, organically plugged into the walls of Arsenale. In this productive and immersive space, Driant Zeneli intends to create a tension between an oppressive underground reality and a utopian space of possibility and liberation.
Maybe the cosmos is not so extraordinary tries to physically reveal the ability of the ordinary, even in its darkest corners, to expand our existence.

Based on the novel “On the way to Epsilon Eridani 2018 – 2474” (1983) written by the Albanian author Arion Hysenbegas and re-issued in its complete version in 2018, the 101 drawings describe the travel of a spaceship towards the Eridani star. These coloured illustrations are accompanied by captions which narrate the story of a place inspired by the astronauts’ sensations on the way to their destination.
Each drawing, dated 2018 – 2474, includes a temporal trace which confers a further perception of the narration’s chronology. The year 2018 marks the beginning of the project, whereas 2474 corresponds to the date on which the characters of the book undertake their adventure. The series does not illustrate the novel’s story but proposes a parallel narrative: the freedom of visual imagination translates into and reveals the infinite possibilities of relationship between humans and space.