A new look for Venice’s historic kiosks

The 2022 Biennale opened its doors to the public at the end of April, hosting 1433 works of 213 different artists from 58 different countries. The theme of the 59th International Art Exhibition of Venice, curated by Cecilia Alemani, is The Milk of Dreams. Taking inspiration from Leonora Carrington’s book of the same name, this edition of the Biennale wants to represent how individuals relate to the environment. 

The main aspects touched by the exhibitions are the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses, the relationship between individuals and technologies, and the links between bodies and the Earth. These are themes also of prime concern to several participating fashion brands, who, this year more than ever, have pledged to reinforce their relationship with the art world.

Valentino, Burberry, Dior, and Louis Vuitton are just a few of the luxury brands that will take part in the Biennale this year. Valentino has invested 1.4 million Euros for the set-up of the Italian Pavilion. Curated by Eugenio Viola which, for the first time in the history of the Biennale, the pavilion hosts a singular artist: Gian Maria Tosatti, with his project “Storia della notte e destino delle comete”.

Burberry, together with the British Council, has financed the British Pavilion. Dating back to 1937, over the past 85 years the pavilion has been a very important showcase for some of the best artists, architects, designers and curators from the UK. This year, the space hosts Sonia Boyce’s project, entitled “Feeling her way”.

Dior is organizing a gala dinner at the Teatro La Fenice. The revenues of the evening will be used to contribute to the restoration of the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti at the Ca’ d’Oro museum, to preserve Venice’s artistic and cultural heritage, and to help Ukrainian refugees in Italy. Furthermore, Maria Grazia Chiuri has designed the uniforms of the Gallerie dell’Accademia staff.

Louis Vuitton, with its three projects, is at the center of the scene. The restoration of the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti is just one of the many initiatives in which the French brand is involved for the Biennale. In addition to this significant investment, Louis Vuitton will host in the Espace Louis Vuitton, located in Calle Ridotto in Venice, the installation “Apollo”, created by Katharina Grosse. Furthermore, the French Maison has brought the international and itinerant Librairie Éphémère  to Venice, a project aimed to spread the culture of reading. Having started in Paris with the famous “Bouquinistes” of the Rive Gauche of Saint Germain for the Festival Photo, passed through the West Bund in Shanghai in the occasion of the Art Fair, this project has now arrived in Italy with the purpose to give a new look to six historic kiosks.

“Why kiosks?”. The reason is very simple. Since the beginning of its history, Vuitton has always had a strong relationship to books. Gaston-Louis, grandson of the founder, was a devourer of books and had a collection of 6000 novels, some of them still kept in the archive of the Maison.
Gaston-Louis was so passionate about reading that, between the ‘20s and the ‘30s, he founded three publishing companies and pushed for creating a reading room in the Champs-Élysées store.
Still today, the love between Vuitton and books is very strong. For over 20 years the Maison has been publishing its Fashion Eyes, compilations of fashion shoots made all around the world, City Guides and Travel Books which feature secret places, walking tours, cultural events, and photographic portfolios covering 30 different destinations, from Amsterdam, to Miami and Venice.

Librairie Éphémère consists of a renovation of some of the most historical kiosks of the Comune di Venezia. Some of these newsstands date back to the mid-nineteenth century, and from that time, have been meeting places and cultural aggregation points for the city.

The kiosks involved in Louis Vuitton’s project have been transformed into eye-catching mini bookshops selling, in addition to usual magazines and newspapers, the complete collection of Louis Vuitton’s Travel Books, Fashion Eyes, and City Guides, explained by LV experts.

Although the Louis Vuitton takeover lasted only one week, one LV shiny kiosk will remain a fixture in St. Mark’s Square to attract curious travelers and Vuitton lovers.

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