Brands participating at Venice Biennale & documenta

Be it huge hands holding up a Venice hotel, poured stripes of acrylic paint in the Giardini or cars, escorting a lone rider on his way from Athens to Kassel. This summer offers a broad range of art exhibitions and it is interesting to see how corporates support art and participate. 

At IAM, we focus on company art engagements and therefore want to point out a few shows or supporting projects that caught our eye. We start at the Venice Biennale with its myriad of satellite exhibitions and end at the documenta in Kassel. Through our observations, we hope to inspire other brands to get engaged in the arts too. Whether with a client oriented approach or as a philanthropic contribution. 

Let’s start at the Venice Biennale. Every two years the art world swarms into the picturesque city to explore the Giardini, Arsenale and countless other exhibitions in the „Serenissima.“ Albeit art is in nearly every palazzo, one of the most photographed pieces surely is Lorenzo Quinn’s „Support“ which elongates two hands out of the Canal Grande to hold the Ca‘ Sagredo Hotel. The massive sculpture aims to make a statement on the effects of global warming. Quinn uses the gigantic limbs as a force of nature that braces the canal-side structure, both reinforcing it in the face of decay while at the same time suggesting a form of nature equally capable of destroying it. 

A couple of Vaporetto-stops later, Fondazione Prada resides at the Ca‘ Corner Della Regina. A long queue at the entrance reveals that the exhibition inside the majestic building is enjoying great popularity and it is a must see. 

Curator Udo Kittelmann put together the artists Thomas Demand, Alexander Kluge and Anna Viebrock. With this exhibition, Prada proves once more that corporate art engagements engage different audiences. „The boat is leaking, the captain lied,“ the title of the exhibition, is at the level of a museum show and conveys company understatement that perfectly fits an intellectual luxury brand. 

Since 2003 illy Cafè has been a major sponsor of the Venice Biennale and at this year’s Biennale the company is celebrating 25 Years of the illy Art Collection. After these years, the Collection has become an iconic, vast series of artistic objects for everyday use on which hundreds of leading contemporary creatives left their mark, contributing to making the original illy espresso cup an immediately-recognisable symbol of high-quality, lovable art. 

Former Art Collection collaborator, the famed artist and scenographer Robert Wilson, designed a showcase for the illy cup collection titled „The Dish ran away with the Spoon -everything you can think of is true.“ The exhibition at the Magazzini del Sale in Venice is a journey through seven spaces that Wilson, the eclectic American artist,  created by combining a wide variety of artistic styles. A dreamlike environment populated by animals, typical of Wilson’s poetics, representing the capability to listen, the ability to move, and the attention to everything that surrounds us. 

Swatch has always loved taking art to the people. As the main partner of the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia for the fourth consecutive time, the Swiss watchmaker brings its heart closer to an international audience. „Giardini Colourfall“ is the title of the special commission made by the artist Ian Davenport at the 2017 edition of the Venice Biennale of Art. 
Davenport is internationally renowned for his vibrant abstract paintings. Executed through carefully dripped vertical lines of paint. Davenport explores highly saturated hues and tones in „Giardini Colourfall“ and the interplay of colour is apparent as poured stripes appear to melt and collect on the floor in thick puddles. The artwork is composed of a color sequence that is repeated twice, this structural device gives balance and symmetry across the varying chromatic bands, in a visual mirroring effect. In paralell with this project, Davenport applied his unique style and alternative paint methods to the design of the WIDE ACRES OF TIME limited and numbered Swatch Art Special watch, which was also presented at the Venice Biennale. 

The Swiss company Audemars Piguet celebrates the 57th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia with a unique art exhibition in an exclusive lounge in the Galleria Contini, of selected artists supported by the Audemars Piguet Art Commission: Alexandre Joly, Dan Holdsworth, and Kurt Hentshläger. 

The second part of the documenta 14 will be on view in Kassel for 100 days from June 10. The Volkswagen Group is again supporting this important exhibition as a main sponsor.  For the first time, visitors to the documenta have the opportunity to test e-mobility from Volkswagen for themselves or to be driven to a film installation at the Bergpark twice a day. 
Apprentices from the Volkswagen plant in Kassel helped to build the „Parthenon of Books“, a work by the Argentinean artist Marta Minujín, ahead of the documenta. 
The Volkswagen Group also be supplies the documenta organizational team as well as individual artists with its cars. Volkswagen vehicles are also escorting Scottish artist Ross Birrell as he rides from Athens to Kassel by horse. 


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