Last week, when it announced its artist list for the 2024 edition, the Venice Biennale also published a complete list of the national pavilions that will appear when the show opens in April. Notably absent from that list was Russia, a country that typically does participate.
ARTnews has learned that, for the second Venice Biennale in a row, Russia will not have a pavilion in the exhibition amid its ongoing war in Ukraine, while Ukraine will once again have one, just as it did in 2022, the year that Russia invaded the country.
A Venice Biennale spokesperson confirmed the news about Russia’s absence from the 2024 exhibition, but did not comment further on why. Attempts to reach the organizers of the Russian Pavilion and Russia’s culture ministry were unsuccessful.
Russia is among the countries that have dedicated structures in the Giardini, the Venice Biennale venue where the most heavily trafficked national pavilions are sited. Ukraine, on the other hand, does not have a pavilion of its own.
In 2022, with about two months to go before the Venice Biennale opened, the artists and curator representing Russia pulled out of the event, leaving the country without a show at the world’s biggest art festival. As a result, while other national pavilions welcomed visitors, the Russian Pavilion stood empty and shuttered, surrounded by guards.
Geopolitics regularly impact the national pavilions, though Russia is the only country this year not to participate owing to military conflict. Israel, which also has a Giardini pavilion, is set to be represented by Ruth Patir, even as the war in Gaza persists.
Likewise, Ukraine, which is still embroiled in a bloody conflict with Russia, will also be at the Venice Biennale this year, represented by Katya Buchatska, Andrii Dostliev, Lia Dostlieva, Daniil Revkovskyi, Andrii Rachynskyi, and Oleksandr Burlaka.