The Most Instagrammable Pavilions At This Year’s Venice Biennale

An art lover’s dream...

Person wearing an intricate beaded costume with a large headdress, highlighting craftsmanship
Photography by Mark Peachey
Person wearing an intricate beaded costume with a large headdress, highlighting craftsmanship

If you have more than a vague interest in contemporary art, you will have no doubt been bombarded with posts from people showcasing their recent trips to the opening of the 60th edition of the Venice Biennale. Regularly described as the “Olympics of the art world”, celebrities in attendance this year included Salma Hayek, Raf Simons, Swizz Beatz, Bjork, Adrien Brody, Hayley Atwell, Honey Dijon, Rick Owens, Michèle Lamy and Miuccia Prada.

Running since 1895, this year’s show is curated by Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director of the São Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil, who set the theme of Foreigners Everywhere and has curated the two central pavilions in the Giardini and the Arsenale. These two sites feature the work of 330 artists, many of whom have never exhibited at the biennale before.

Almost 90 countries have national pavilions showcasing their chosen artists for this year. And in parallel, there are over 150 additional art exhibitions taking place throughout the space, hence the “Olympics” description. So if you want to tick everything off the list, you’re looking at a two-week trip.

But for those with less time on their hands who want to see the key shows that really pop, we’ve selected our top five pavilions for your visual pleasure. Dive in below.


This is the first year Panama has its own pavilion in the biennale. Four artists from the country are showcased—Brooke Alfaro, Isabel De Obaldía, Cisco Merel, and Giana De Dier. De Obaldía’s work is in its own room and instantly transports you into the heart of Panama’s jungle. Glass sculptures are hung amongst the large wall drawings, and the room is filled with a soundscape featuring stories from Panamanians and sounds of the jungle from the Darien Gap, making you forget for a moment that you are in Venice and not Panama itself.


Ochirbold Ayurzana’s Discovering the Present from the Future takes its inspiration from the Buddhist skeleton deity, Citipati. Ayurzana’s two large sculptures of a three-eyed skeleton fill two of the pavilion’s rooms and interpret Citipati as both a guardian of technology and a guardian of the environment, as well as a reminder of the impermanence of life. The work also explores the idea of consciousness. Speaking about the dramatic installation, Ayurzana explains: “This notion suggests a cyclical process where individuals revisit the past to progress towards the future, emphasising the reciprocity of time and human aspiration.”

United States

Jeffrey Gibson—a queer multimedia artist of Cherokee descent and a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians—is the first Indigenous artist to represent the USA in Venice in a solo exhibition. This is a remarkable fact given the States has had a pavilion in Venice since 1930. Gibson’s exhibition, the space in which to place me, features paintings, sculptures, flags, murals and a video installation, and is joyful and engaging while simultaneously addressing serious themes. Many of Gibson’s sculptures feature beading—an important material in Native American culture—but he is also keen to stress that the beads themselves come from around the world, reminding us of the interconnected nature of our various cultures.


Super Superior Civilizations by Swiss-Brazilian artist Guerreiro do Divino Amo is an OTT assault on the eyes. In the first room, visitors are greeted with a hologram of Brazilian trans artist Ventura Profana, surrounded by screens flashing imagery linked to (and playing with) the theme of Roman civilisation. Another room presents The Miracle of Helvetica, where visitors are invited to lie back and look at the ceiling projections (presented like a planetarium) where Switzerland is represented as a “super-fictional” utopia. 


Márton Nemes’ Techno Zen is a colourful installation featuring paintings, sculptures, and soundscapes, immersing visitors in the techno music scene. The works are formed of layers of strong colours, overlaid with splats and airbrushed coatings, referencing the different strata within the music itself and the psychedelic experience that can occur in a nightclub. The music and lighting in the space builds and quietens at various times—which, according to the artist, “generates a perceptual ripple effect through alternating stimulation and relaxation.”

The biennale runs until November 24, 2024. For more information, head here.

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