With the opening of the 2019 Venice Biennale—the 58th edition—about seven months away, the Italian government announced that three artists have been lined up to represent it at the grand affair: Enrico David, Chiara Fumai, and Liliana Moro. They were selected by the artistic director of the arts-funding organization the Fiorucci Art Trust, Milovan Farronato, who will serve as curator of the pavilion.
It’s the latest a string of milestones this year for David, who was born in 1966 in Ancona, Italy, about 70 miles southeast of San Marino. A maker of enigmatic, figure-infused work in painting, sculpture, and tapestries that playfully mine early 20th-century modernism and Arte Povera, he is the subject of a survey currently at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and set to travel to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., next year. Earlier this year, he had a one-person outing at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, and, at the moment, he has one at Michael Werner in New York. David knows a thing or two about La Biennale, having been included in the main exhibitions at two previous iterations—the 55th, organized by Massimiliano Gioni, and the 50th, overseen by Francesco Bonami in 2003. (The Italians: they love him! And who can blame them?)
Fumai, who was born in 1978 in Rome and died last year in Bari (reportedly by suicide), made her name with fiercely original work in an expansive array of mediums—from performances blending fact and fiction to installations to collages—in which she took up issues like the occult and radical strains of feminism. She was a standout at Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, and had solo shows at Museion in Bolzano, Italy, and the Center for Contemporary Art Futura in Prague, among other places.
Last but certainly not least, Moro hails from Milan, where she was born in 1961 and where she ran a gallery called Lo Spazio di Via Lazzaro Pala from 1989 to 1993. Her conceptually minded practice has taken the form of architectural interventions, sound works, and institutional critique in the public sphere. She’s also a veteran of big-league international exhibitions, having appeared in the 45th edition of the Biennale, in 1993, and Documenta 9, in 1992.
The Italian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, organized by Cecilia Alemani, also featured a strong trio: Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi, and Adelita Husni-Bey. The 2015 show, organized by Vincenzo Trione, was a rather portentous production that included more than a dozen artists.
All in all, it’s shaping up to be an intriguing Italian Pavilion in 2019.