The project Personal Structures was born in 2002 as an open platform where artists could present their work and thoughts by means of exhibitions, symposia and publications. It was created as a reaction to non-subjective art, to the emerging trend of art without the touch of the artist; a non-personal approach. In response to this impersonalisation of artworks, the European Cultural Centre’s founder and artist René Rietmeyer imagined a project that, on the opposite, states that every artwork, even the most minimalist work, is made intrinsically with a part of the artist’s consciousness, and is thus, somehow, personal.
Since 2010, the project Personal Structures settled down in Venice, Italy, as a biennial contemporary art exhibition organised and hosted by European Cultural Centre that seeks to document the diversity of contemporary art in today’s world. Its aim is to feature and combine in the same space different expressions from artists that break away from any ideological, political and geographical barriers.
For 2022, Personal Structures revolves around the idea of reflections, which embodies the dual meaning of a visible episode perceived by the eyes and a mental deed stemming from the action of thinking and pondering with the mind.
As envisioned by the ECC Italy curatorial team, the act of reflecting carries the potential to foresee possibilities and the responsibility of imagining a better future.Discover the participants
How our venues have been curated
The outstanding variety of the venue’s features make Palazzo Mora a versatile space where to display a substantial group of projects and artworks. The building includes vast rooms with fresco ceilings, white-cube spaces, rooms with moderate dimensions, wooden beams and an intimate atmosphere. The curatorial team has carefully dedicated a specific space to each presentation, aiming to enhance the concept that lays beneath each project. The outcome is an extraordinary combination of artworks in dialogue with each other and in line with the features of each room.
For the 2022 edition of Personal Structures, the historic venue of Palazzo Bembo will showcase a wide variety of presentations including an extraordinary combination of mediums. The building will mainly host site-specific installations created by the artists for each room. The characteristics of the venue, with its symmetrical distribution of the rooms in both floors, makes the space perfectly suitable for the projects’ content. The visitors will be able to walk among artworks selected by international galleries, as well as projects from photographers, sculptors, visual artists, institutions and universities.
The two public gardens, Marinaressa Garden of Levante and Ponente, one more specular than the other, are located in Riva Dei Sette Martiri, 15 minutes away from the main square of Venice, Piazza San Marco, and five minutes from La Biennale. Also this year, we will welcome installations and sculptures that tune into the natural environment. In the Ponente garden, a gallery will showcase the works of a single artist who will attract attention with his colourful sculptures of different wild animals. On the other side, in the garden of Levante, a group of artists coming from different corners of the world will present artworks made with local and natural materials, sinuous sculptures reflecting the lagoon, ready-mades and conceptual installations, among others.
Explore the sections
The 2022 edition of Personal Structures presents a broad variety of approaches that are influenced either by the current historical moment we are living, finding a direct link with reality or driven by imaginary and fantastic worlds as well as traditions and heritages of different cultures. The exhibition showcases artworks created uniquely for this occasion in Venice, which inspired artists in their creative process and artistic approach. The selection of artworks includes pieces coming from the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean, Kenya, Armenia, Latvia, Malaysia, and many more.
It also features abstract paintings that are represented in different ways. Some portray and take inspiration from Nature, or from the artist’s subconscious as an answer to a personal or creative need. Another collection of paintings takes shape in the third dimension, getting free from the flatness of the wall and finding its own space; and others come to life by using different materials and objects such as fabric, medicinal, ceramic, cacao, and asphalt, or even by reacting to a certain light and hence continuously changing their aspect. And more than ever, this year’s edition presents several digital works ranging, from augmented reality paintings and holograms to the rising NFTs (Non-fungible tokens).
The ECC Italy also pays tribute to Lawrence Weiner with a special video-interview installation filmed by Plane–Site and promoted by the European Cultural Centre in 2016 in the scope of the Time Space Existence exhibition.
In 2022, Personal Structures includes a section dedicated to sculpture. This section presents a wide range of sculptures from site-specific to large scale installations and virtual projects.
In this edition, most of the projects deal with global and shared themes such as sustainability, personal reflections and innovation, which are expressed in shapes combining animal and human features, or by being completely amorphous and fantastic.
The Personal Structures exhibition presents for the second time a selection of projects designed by universities and schools coming from diverse parts of the world. The audience can interact with research projects and multimedia presentations, having thus an overview of the latest tendencies in the academic and educational art field. Personal Structures will include universities participating for the first time, as well as projects coming from schools that, with their second participation, successfully consolidate the collaboration with the European Cultural Centre.
Following the success of previous editions, the Personal Structures exhibition includes a section dedicated to contemporary photography. This year a wide variety of perspectives are showcased which underline some of the feelings and emotions experienced in today’s world. These representations are put in dialogue with other documentary projects and abstract photography.
Additionally the photography project relies on a new partnership with FIEBRE, the photo book fair of Madrid, established with the goal of enhancing the attention on editorial initiatives and publications.
Once again, the collaboration with small and emerging as well as with established and renowned galleries has been consolidated. Distributed across the three ECC venues, galleries offer curated exhibitions, showcasing pieces from a group of artists they represent who focus on a common topic or promote the work of a single artist to whom is dedicated a solo space.
Personal Structures on Film
Every year our project is enhanced by a series of videos which delve into our values.
Meet our team and hear what the exhibitors have to say about us and their experiences in Venice. Find out how our exhibitions and activities have developed through the years and what happens behind the scenes at the European Cultural Centre.