Interview to Davide Croff, president of Biennale

Davide Croffby Massimo Bran
Three is the magic number for the Biennial. This is a number which, in its way, is round and perfect, in which the experience of the last two years should bear the finest fruits, with the machine well oiled and the circuits polished. Three for Müller, but, above all, three for Croff, for it is this latter who must make the Biennial-machine function; because, as we know, contents are important, but they seem to take care of themselves and are never lacking, whereas the structure is the real vital permanent body of the vehicle.

After three years as President of the Biennial, what is the most profound impression that this experience has produced in you?

This experience arrived rather unexpectedly, but I accepted it with great enthusiasm: first of all because this is indeed the greatest Italian cultural institution. Secondly, because I believe that managerial experience, when placed at the disposal of a cultural institution of this level, may well be able to contribute something useful, obviously when combined with respect and preservation of the autonomy of the cultural component, represented by the artistic directors and curators.

The Biennial should have as its target the world as well as its own surrounding territory. Is this the attitude of the Biennial today?

I believe that the international vocation of the Biennial is part of its own DNA; this was the desire of Selvatico, when he founded it 111 years ago, summoning to Venice contemporary art from all over the world. This having been said, it is also true that the other element of great relevance at the Biennial is the fact that it is firmly rooted in Venice, a city which, with its unique and extraordinary characteristics, personally constitutes a fundamental element of the Biennial.

The project for the Palazzo del Cinema.

We must, every now and then, summon up enough courage to think big. These structures are already seventy years old: Ours is the only case of a great festival which has enjoyed absolutely no evolution of its own structures. It is important to be brave enough to confront this problem with considerable realism, surely, but also with courage, with the conviction that the Venice Exposition deserves an infrastructure more adequate for our times. What is more, it would be difficult to believe that a structure conceived...grandly conceived, certainly...seventy years ago, could be updated by a few mere brushstrokes and some marginal interventions. The project for the Palazzo del Cinema.

What is your position in regard to the Rome Film Fest?

My opinion is that, anyhow, we cannot pass judgement before the event. Right now, evidently,we still do not know what exactly is this Rome Film Fest. We have heard people talk about it, we've read announcements, but in fact the first edition has not yet come out. A priori, it seems more realistic to try to work in the meantime, so that the presence of said Fest would be as unobtrusive as possible when compared with Venice. Ten days before the inauguration of the Exposition, the work done by our director , in my opinion, does not seem to have been frustrated or made more difficult by the presence of Rome: the selection, absolutely extraordinary, is the proof of this.

written by Massimo Bran
:venews september 2006
Tr. Maria Fasolo

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