The Stuff of Dreams: Cecilia Alemani Delivers a Perfectly Judged Biennale
Exhibition Review
Apr 22, 2022
The Art Newspaper
Ben Luke

“Let’s change the history of the future.” So says a cyborg to her human avatar in Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Logic Paralyzes the Heart (2021). The video is one of a cluster of works by the digital art pioneer close to the end of Venice’s Arsenale, as The Milk of Dreams—Cecilia Alemani’s rich and often thrilling Biennale show—reaches its conclusion. It is a time-warping exhibition, where temporal states are uncertain, in flux; a material for artists to shape and manipulate, as they do with everything from crystal to coffee, bottles and bedsprings, porcelain and paint—lots of paint—in the show.

It is also profoundly topical; while activism and protest are not dominant, it is unequivocally concerned with the Anthropocene and its effects. It confronts, among much else, the idea that we must imagine a post-anthropocentric and even post-human future, and ponders the attitudes and behaviours that have led us to where we are…