New Giudecca Art District launches in Venice with flagship exhibition ‘Body As Home’

Coinciding with the opening of 58° Venice Biennale, on Thursday 9 May 2019 the Venetian island of Giudecca will see the official launch of the Giudecca Art District (GAD), founded by General Director Pier Paolo Scelsi and Artistic Director Valentina Gioia Levy.

Building on the island’s history and the legacy of One Contemporary Art, GAD is a network of art professionals and it will be home to a permanent curatorial programme, linking new and existing spaces on the Giudecca Island, with a remit to promote emerging and established artists, curators and institutions internationally. GAD will provide a platform for contemporary art research and reflections through an extensive talks programme featuring some of the most influential figureheads in contemporary art internationally.

During the 58° Venice Biennale, the Giudecca Art District will host both independent projects, exhibitions and cultural events under the umbrella of the 2019 curatorial programme titled Take Care of Your Garden. Cultivating a New Humanism. Take Care of Your Garden will run from May until December, featuring a series of curatorial projects, performances, talks, video projections, and outdoor installations, in collaboration with galleries, institutions, foundations and cultural centres worldwide. The title of Take Care of Your Garden is inspired by one of the most famous quotes from Voltaire’s Candide, and focuses on what it means to be human in today’s hyper-globalised world. As in Voltaire’s novel, the garden is a metaphor for our inner life, as a source of emotions and ethical values, which have their origins in our bodies and minds, but which are subsequently projected onto other people. The invite is to cultivate a new humanism in our relationships with others, going beyond national and political borders and acknowledging our shared humanity. Are we really living in “the best of all possible worlds”, as Professor Pangloss tells Candide in Voltaire’s novel? Can art help us build a better one?

GAD will present works by established artists including Yoko Ono, Kendell Geers, Kazuko Miyamoto, Moataz Nasr, alongside young contemporary artists, in order to present high quality projects with national and international partners.

Among the works on display Body as Home by the artist Aleksandra Karpowicz with October! Collective will be the flagship installation of the Giudecca Art District, situated in Project Space 1. Curated by Miguel Mallol, Body as Home is a three-channel film presented in triptych that documents a journey of self-discovery, identity, migration and a search for the meaning of home. Filmed in 4 different cities; Cape Town, London, New York and Warsaw, Body as Home captures 3 protagonists in each city – a local, a visitor and the filmmaker herself in order to explore the concept of home in regard to geographical location, one’s placement within society, and personal identity. The film explores how notions of physical selfhood and our sense of home overlap. Body as Home looks to address the relationship between human physicality, sexuality and identity and urge viewers to accept and feel at home in their own bodies.

For the official launch of the Giudecca Art District on Thursday 9 May, there will be a series of performances, including Body as Home by the October! Collective. The launch event will be followed by two days of talks, performances, and video screenings, to propose a critical view of the current time together with Italian and international artists, curators and intellectuals.

The Giudecca Art District: Launch Programme May – December 2019

Yoko Ono’s works Cloud Piece (1963) and Write Your Untold Story, a new version of a work presented for the first time at the second edition of Something Else – Off Biennale Cairo, designed here specifically for the spaces of the Giudecca Art District.

Tu vs Everybody is organised by the network VILLAM and curated by Anita Calà ed Elena Giulia Rossi, featuring works of several Italian artists including Francesca Arri, Valeriana Berchicci, Stefano Cagol, Fabrizio Cicero, Iginio De Luca, Lamberto Teotino, Carlo Zanni, which will be scattered across the district and in the Spazio Bocciofila.

There Are No Titans, curated by GAD, by artists Waseem Marzouki (SIR), Gip Depio (USA) and Tanner Goldbeck (USA), exhibited in Project Space 2.

TIME MACHINE, a solo exhibition by Pia MYrvoLD (NOR/FR) and Pavilion 0, a group show curated by Tomasz Wendland from Mediations Biennale Poznań (PL) at Fabbrica H3 di SerenDPT, in the former Church of SS. Cosma and Damiano.

Also curated by GAD, the following exhibitions will open over the next few months: We are Humanity!, by Lilli Muller (USA) and Randi Matushevitz (USA) opening in Project Space 2 in June; Liquid Existences, with works by Kendell Geers (ZA), Kazuko Miyamoto (JP), Moataz Nasr (EG) e Qasim Riza Shaheen (UK)  in Project Space 1 in September; the collective show Mediterraneo Mare di Mezzo, from an idea of Luigi Viola in the GAD Gallery in December.

GAD has also started several collaborations with foundations, institutions and representative places of Venice’s cultural heritage, such as Chiesa delle Zitelle and Scala Contarini del Bovolo, but also festivals and conferences including The Venice Design Week, creating a bridge between the island of Giudecca and the wider context of the city of Venice.

In addition to the articulated proposal of GAD there will be independent projects: Force Field, a group show of 13 emerging Polish artists curated by Ania Muszyńska presented by the Starak Family Foundation at Oficine 800; two exhibitions in the GAD Gallery organised by Studio la Città Gallery. Recursions and Mutations, a group exhibition featuring Vincenzo Castella (IT), Lynn Davis (USA), Jacob Hashimoto (USA), Roberto Pugliese (IT), curated by Hélène de Franchis, from a concept by Jacob Hashimoto and with an essay by Daniele Capra, and After J.M.W. Turner 1834 – 2019, a solo show of Hiroyuki Masuyama (JP).

Giudecca Art District: Talks & Performances 

Tuesday 7 May – Sunday 11 May:

The artist Pia MYrvoLD will present the performances Extended Reality with Luka Vodopivec and The Sumerians of Holiday related to the exhibition TIME MACHINE.

Thursday 9 May:

During the launch event on Thursday 9th May, there will be a series of performances, including Body as Home by the October! Collective at 6pm & 7pm, with performance of the music by Occult Hardware featuring Fayann Smith, Robert Burhnam, Isabella Stensdotter, Takasama Mukai & Aleksandra Karpowicz with the costumes designed by Muusa Italy; Studio Orient, L’Orient au féminin by Dalila Dalléas Bouzar and La métamorphose des corps fluides by Anna Mapoubi, curated by GAD; the intervention The Litmus Test by Stefano Cagol, included in the VILLAM’s project Tu vs Everybody; the performances by Pia MYrvoLD of Extended Reality as part of TIME MACHINE.

Friday 10 May:

The theme of the day will be “Disoriented gazes. Multidisciplinary in contemporary Asian Art”, and speakers will include: Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal Avenue (Dubai, UAE); Alnoor Mitha, Senior Research Fellow in Asian Cultures and Founding Artistic Director of Asia Triennial Manchester (UK); Elvira Eevr Djaltchinova, Director of the Warsaw Institute for Modern and Contemporary Asian Art Foundation (POL).

Saturday 11 May:

The talks & performances programme will be curated by Arts & Globalization, an international interdisciplinary platform (DK). The programme “Politics of Spaces”’ will open with a performance by the world-renowned Nigerian performance and multimedia artist Jelili Atiku, represented at the Venice Biennale in 2017 as part of the 57th International Art Exhibition and at Manifesta 12 in 2018. The performance My Eyes Are Larger Than My Mouth is organised by Rikke Jørgensen (Arts & Globalization) and Simona Carniato (Studioo non-profit).

Other artists and curators participating in talks on the 11th May include: Ibrahim Mahama, visual artist and Founder of The Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (Tamale, GHA); Paul Goodwin, Independent Curator and Contemporary Art Professor, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London (UK); Arnaud Cohen, sculptor and visual artist (FR); Awam Amkpa, Curator and Associate Professor of Drama, Social and Cultural Analysis and Director, Africana Studies, NYUAD (Abu Dhabi, UAE); Malala Andrialavidrazana, visual artist (MG/FR).


Giudecca Art District: Spaces, Exhibitions and Dates   


GAD Project Space #01

“Body as Home” | Curated by Miguel Mallol | 9 May – 25 September 2019

Artists: October! Collective – Aleksandra Karpowicz (PL), Fayann Smith (UK), Isabella Steinsdotter (NOR)

“Liquid Existences” | Curated by GAD | 27 September – 30 October 2019

Artists: Kazuko Miyamoto (JPN), Moataz Nasr (EG), Qasim Riza Shaheen (UK)

GAD Project Space #02

“There are no Titans” | Curated by GAD | 8 May – 15 June 2019

Artists: Gig Depio (USA), Tanner Goldbeck (USA), Waseem Marzouki (SIR)

“We Are Humanity!” | Curated by GAD | 21 June – 11 August 2019

Artists: Lilli Muller (USA), Randi Matushevitz (USA)

Fabbrica H3 di SerenDPT, Former Church of SS. Cosma and Damiano

“TIME MACHINE” | Curated by GAD | 7 – 30 May 2019

Artist: Pia MYrvoLD (NOR/FR)

“Pavilion 0” | Presented by Tomasz Wendland from Mediations Biennial Poznań (PL) | From 9 May 2019

Group show (list of artists to be announced)

Spazio Bocciofila and across the Giudecca Art District

“Tu vs Everybody” | Presented by VILLAM (Roma, IT) | Curated by Anita Calà and Elena Giulia Rossi | 9 May – 6 June 2019

Artists: Francesca Arri (IT), Valeriana Berchicci (IT), Stefano Cagol (IT), Fabrizio Cicero (IT), Iginio de Luca (IT), Lamberto Teotino (IT), Carlo Zanni (IT)

GAD Gallery

“Mediterraneo Mare di Mezzo” | Curated by GAD, from a concept by Luigi Viola | December 2019

Group show (list of artists to be announced)


GAD Gallery

“Recursions and Mutations” | Organised by Studio la Città (Verona, IT) | Curated by Hélène de Franchis, from a concept by Jacob Hashimoto and with an essay by Daniele Capra | 9 May – 28 July 2019

Artists: Vincenzo Castella (IT), Lynn Davis (USA), Jacob Hashimoto (USA), Roberto Pugliese (IT)

“After J.M.W. Turner 1834 – 2019”| Organised by Studio la Città (Verona, IT) | 9 May – 28 July 2019

Artist: Hiroyuki Masuyama (JP)

Oficine 800

“Force Field” | Presented by Starak Family Foundation (PL) | Curated by Ania Muszyńska | 8 May – 15 September 2019

Artists: Norbert Delman (PL), Małgorzata Goliszewska (PL), Bartek Górny (PL), Laura Grudniewska (PL), Marta Hryniuk (PL), Kornel Janczy (PL), Tomasz Koszewnik (PL), Dorota Kozieradzka (PL), Magdalena Łazarczyk (PL), Karolina Mełnicka (PL), Maciej Nowacki (PL), Cyryl Polaczek (PL), Stach Szumski (PL).

The full program will be published on

Please check the website for the further updates.

About Giudecca Island

Over the 20h century, the Giudecca island became a liminal space between modern and contemporary, rich precisely by virtue of its architectural stratification, where alongside religious architecture by Palladio, new factories and industrial activities such as tanneries, mills, breweries, foundries, and of course naval warehouses, changing the conformation of the island quite radically, in dialogue with the Renaissance and Baroque appearances of Venice itself.

The Giudecca Island aspires to be the beating heart of contemporary art within the city of Venice, presenting an interesting alternative to mass tourism, and aims to make Giudecca synonymous with both emerging and cutting edge contemporary art talent.

About October! Collective

October! Collective takes its name from the October 1789 Women’s March on Versailles a pivotal moment in the French Revolution when 7,000 working women took to the streets.  October! Collective was founded by London based artists Aleksandra Karpowicz (POL), Fayann Smith (UK) and Isabella Steinsdotter (NOR).

October! Collective wish to create a platform through art that will harness the positive influence women can have on each other and the world to shift paradigms within culture. As three very different women, from completely different social and ethnic backgrounds, the hunt for commonalities in their adversity provided fertile ground for exploration. Their considerable body of work explores identity, the political landscape, myth, sexuality and the body.

Fayann Smith was one of the founding members of the London New Rave scene with her pioneering club project “All You Can Eat” and residency at Ministry of Sound. As an audio artist she has works included in the MOMA collection, has been photographed by Mario Testino and has had work featured in Vogue, The Sunday Times, The Observer, Pop and i-D.

Aleksandra Karpowicz is an award winning visual artist, her challenging work ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’ used video and photography to document a kaleidoscope of sexual interactions, winning two awards at the UK’s National Open Art Competition and leading to Aleksandra being selected for the Women of the Future Awards in the ‘Arts & Culture’ category. For the work she videoed, photographed and interviewed 300 people from different sexual, cultural, racial and religious backgrounds about sex. The project was exhibited in Venice in November 2018 and it was a sold-out show.

Isabella Steinsdotter is a young, multi-disciplinary Norwegian born performance artist who works across mediums and countries. Drawing inspiration from her heritage as a direct descendant of a long dead Viking witch (whose body is preserved at the British Museum) she explores the mythic and taboo aspects of femininity. In tandem with her visual art, she is embarking on a music career and has her mainstream debut release slated for 2019.  She is the patron of Eclipse Dancerz, a dance crew of street boys in Uganda. Steinsdotter helped them to secure shelter and equipment, allowing them to start attending national dance competitions in Uganda. Since then they have won several national competitions.

A special thank you to all the participating galleries, institutions and platforms:

Alserkal Avenue, Dubai (UAE)
Asia Triennial Manchester (UK)
Arts & Globalization Platform (DK)
CoBo Social Platform
Disruptive Canvases, Los Angeles (USA)
Kunsthalle Faust, Hannover (DE)
MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (IT)
Mediations Biennial Poznań (PL)
Venice Design Week (IT)
Zürcher Gallery New York – Paris (USA/FR)

GAD – Giudecca Art District

Opening event: 9 May 2019, 6.00pm – 9.00pm

Free entrance

Giudecca 213-B, 30133, Venice

[email protected]

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