Although la Biennale di Venezia does not open to the public until April 20, Trinity College Professor Pablo Delano’s participation in the exhibition began months ago in a different city.
Early in 2023, Adriano Pedrosa, curator and artistic director for the Biennale Arte 2024, spotted Delano’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and shared photos to social media. That led to conversations and, ultimately, the invitation to participate in one of the world’s largest contemporary art exhibitions.
“To me, this represents an incredible opportunity to bring my work to a world stage. It’s just a dream come true,” said Delano, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Fine Arts.
Although the artists were made public January 31, exhibit details will continue to remain confidential until the opening. “I’m so happy to finally be able to talk publicly about this,” he said.
More than 800,000 tickets were sold to the last Art Biennale, which was last held in 2022 and marked the first time since the pandemic. In addition to presenting visual artists, the Biennale also organizes the Venice Film Festival and festivals of theatre, dance, and music. Founded in 1895, it takes place at two historic locations in Venice.
Delano’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at galleries and museums throughout the nation, Latin America, Europe, and Australia. His book of photographs, Faces of America, was published by Smithsonian Institution Press in 1992.
The title of the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is drawn from a series of works started in 2004 by the Paris-born and Palermo-based collective Claire Fontaine, according to organizers. Those works consist of neon sculptures in different colors that render in a growing number of languages the words “Foreigners Everywhere.” The phrase comes, in turn, from the name of a Turin collective who fought racism and xenophobia in Italy in the early 2000s: Stranieri Ovunque.
“In this landscape, the phrase ‘foreigners everywhere’ has, at least, a dual meaning. First of all, that wherever you go and wherever you are, you will always encounter foreigners—they, we are everywhere,” said Adriano Pedrosa, curator of the 2024 show. “Secondly, that no matter where you find yourself, you are always, truly, and deep down inside, a foreigner.”
The event is set against the backdrop of a world rife with multiple crises concerning the movement and existence of people across countries, nations, territories, and borders, which reflect the perils and pitfalls of language, translation, and ethnicity, expressing differences and disparities conditioned by identity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, wealth, and freedom.
Delano, who is currently on sabbatical, will travel to Venice in advance of the April opening. The exhibition will run through November 24. Delano’s project will then be packed and shipped back to his studio at Trinity. “This is a career-changing event for any participating artist,” said Delano. “I can’t wait to see what comes next.”