For those who are passionate about Chinese culture, the ongoing La Biennale di Venezia, or Venice international art exhibition, offers a wealth of knowledge through the innovative ideas of Chinese artists on display both at official and unofficial events.
China is among the 89 participators at the 56th edition of one of the leading events of contemporary art in the world. The China Pavilion is themed Other Future. Five artists, very distinct in their art language, explore present and future China rooted in rural civilization.
The China Pavilion is hosted at a central venue of the Venice Biennale exhibitions, the Arsenal, built in the 12th century as a shipyard. The Arsenal is re-used today for social and economic development of Venice.
Five minutes' walk from the China Pavilion, a Macao exhibition offers another rich dialogue about China to audiences from around the world through the works of Mio Pang Fei, who has been exploring the integration of Chinese traditions and Western concepts over the past three decades.
The Macao exhibition is part of the 44 "collateral events" of the Venice Biennale. They are promoted by non profit institutions and hosted at prestigious locations across the water city and homeland of traveler Marco Polo, who marveled at Chinese culture along the Silk Road.
Many of the collateral events feature China-related artworks. "Over the past years there has been a strong change of perspective as regards contemporary China, which has positively impacted global art events," Riccardo Caldura, a professor of phenomenology of contemporary arts at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia (academy of art in Venice), explained to Xinhua.
"My impression is that China's art is increasingly opening to dialogues and relations with the rest of the world," Caldura, who is also an art critic and curator, said.
Not far from the Arsenal and next to St Mark's Square, the heart of Venice, another exhibition part of the collateral events presents a glance of the complex development of contemporary China's ideas and thoughts.
The exhibited ink paintings by Pan Gongkai, an artist from Zhejiang province, aim to explore the relation between "inheritance and transformation" through his individual understanding and embodiment of the China painting tradition within a global context.
But not only Chinese artworks can be found at Chinese exhibitions. Several countries from around the world have also decided to dedicate a part of their own exhibition spaces to Chinese artists. It is the case of the Republic of San Marino, which has united artists from San Marino with Chinese artists, so essentially one of the smallest republics flanked by one of the largest republics.
A Kenya exhibition, although has been not included among the Venice Biennale official events following criticism leveled by some press, features as many as six Chinese nationals out of eight artists during the Italian art event, which runs between May 9 and Nov. 22.
The Kenya exhibition is hosted at San Servolo, one of the around 40 islands in the Venetian lagoon, known for its ancient monastery and stunning garden with hundreds-year-old trees. The same venue is home of the Cuba Pavilion, among the Venice Biennale participating countries, which hosts the installation art of Lin Yilin, born in Guangzhou and currently working in Beijing and New York.
In fact nationality is not what shapes art, and the Venice Biennale has strongly encouraged this spirit through the years, Gloria Vallese, a professor of art history at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia who was co-curator of two major Chinese exhibitions at the biennial event in the past years, stressed.
"There are a number of Chinese artists keen to express their talent, and their consistent presence in Venice highlights China's opening to the world, in line with the Venice Biennale leading theme of this year All the World's Futures," Vallese told Xinhua.