The Italian Almanac

Corto Maltese

Italian Art - June 11

Women have organised the Venice Biennale for the first time in the event's 110-year history, putting a feminine spin on one of the world's foremost contemporary art shows. The show, based around two main exhibitions entitled, "The Experience of Art" and "Always a Little Further", is careful not to push the women's angle too far.

The international show, organised every two years, was first held in the city of canals in 1895. Today, some 70 national pavilions, representing artists from Afghanistan to Panama, stand on the sidelines of the exhibits, with works of more than 90 artists from around the world.

Ms De Corral, who organised "The Experience of Art", retraced the last few decades through the works of 42 international artists. Ms De Corral, who in the early 1990s ran Madrid's Queen Sofia Museum, says she wants to the show to resemble more "a centre of experimentation than a stack of certainties."

Ms Martinez names her side, "Always a Little Further", after a line by Corto Maltese, a fictional character created by Venetian writer and comic-designer Hugo Pratt. She says the character "personifies the myth of the romantic traveller: always independent, always open to chance and risk, and always crossing all kinds of frontiers in pursuit of his own destiny."

The Biennale - which also offers sections on architecture, cinema, music, theatre, dance and contemporary art - runs until November 6.