'What is a treadmill?' Uncover your next art investment in Venice


La Biennale di Venezia opens on Saturday and promises to be a treasure trove for alternative investors and art collectors looking to get a handle on the latest movements in the art world.

Held every two years in Italy's watery wonderland, the contemporary art exhibition is set in Venice's Giardini, where 30 permanent pavilions showcase the global artistic talents on offer. Other exhibitors will base themselves in locations around the city.

First held in 1895, the event regularly attracts around 300,000 visitors and will last until November.

Curator Bice Curiger explains her thinking behind the event

Andorra, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Haiti will exhibit for the first time at the show, which has become one of the most influential and significant cultural events in the world.

83 artists will feature in all at the event, which has been titled "ILLUMInazioni - ILLUMInations".

Exhibition curator Bice Curiger explains the theme "emphasises the intuitive insight and the illumination of thought that is fostered by an encounter with art and its ability to sharpen the tools of perception".

Artists to look out for include the Chinese duo known as Birdhead and Britain's Mark Nelson.

Robert Rebele's sculpture at the Nordic Pavilion in 2009 was officially "thought provoking"

An upside down tank-come-treadmill is one of the standout pieces revealed so far. Part of the US entry, it is the work of Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla.

"We are not being critical of America, but we are being critical," Calzadilla told British newspaper the Guardian.

"We are asking, what is a treadmill, a tank? We are trying to make them strange - and make people see them in a new way."

Upcoming artists can offer great entry-level buys for art enthusiasts and investors and many interesting items can be found on the private market.

In addition to the art, a number of workshops and talks will also feature, from many leading lights of the art world.

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