Vol 1 No 1 (2020)
Why Venice?

How La Biennale as a Brand was Born. Venice as the Archetype of a Biennial City

Vittoria Martini



− Abstract

“When discussing the Biennale, it is impossible to ignore the particular importance of Venice as its host city”. The history of the bond between Venice and the Venice Biennale has become an archetype for all those cities that, from the end of the 1980s, took part in the so-called ‘biennialization,’ namely the explosion of the phenomenon of biennials all over the world.
Historically, the image of a decadent Venice was used as a means of regenerating the city and bringing it into the modern world. Its poetic qualities contained a universalism which opened the city up for international consumption. This appealed to universal myth and its appropriation for commercial purposes underlay the development of the early Biennale. The history, beauty and architectural singularity of Venice – which were born out of political and economic necessity – became the distinguishing attributes of the “Patrimony of Venice.”
Despite the Venice Biennale has never changed its structure, mirroring a lost modern world with its national pavilions, it survived until the post-globalized world remaining at the centre of the art world, the place where the national/local identities still have a voice. The “Patrimony of Venice” is at the core of its success and Venice and its Biennale could be seen today as the archetype of a “brand” thanks to the specificity it preserved.
In this text I will analyse the history of the bond between the city of Venice and the Venice Biennale to outline the reasons of a successful “brand”.

− Keywords
History of the Venice Biennale, Origin of the Venice Biennale, Experience, Archetype, Future of the Biennials