As the Venice Biennale fast approaches, we take a look at 9 artists that caught our attention in this year's programme. Curated by Adriano Pedrosa, the artistic director of the Sao Paulo Museum of Art, this edition, titled Foreigners Everywhere, will spotlight artists participating for the first time and is anticipated to explore themes of migration and globalisation.

Etel Adnan (b. 1925-2021)

Highly recognized as a leading figure of abstraction, the Lebanese-American writer and artist Etel Adnan saw colors as metaphysical beings that she used to create simple yet captivating landscapes and compositions. Spending most of her artistic practice alternating between text and painting, her artworks are a reflection of her nomadic life and carry a profound humanist and universal message. Her works have made great results in recent auctions and confirm the growing interest and rediscovery of women abstract artists.

Etel Adnan Dead: Famed Lebanese American Writer Dies at 96
Etel Adnan, 'Untitled' (2010). Courtesy of Artnet.

Louis Fratino (b. 1993)

Intimacy and everyday beauty are at the center of Louis Fratino's practice. The American painter uses his family and friends as models for his lighthearted scenes depicting bodies as places of safe sensual expression and spaces as seen through a window on the life of the figures inhabiting them. With aesthetic references to modernist masters in his depiction, the artist explores the complexity of his queer identity and the depth of human emotional relationships.

Louis Fratino, 'Yellow Sleeper' (2019). Courtesy of Interview Magazine.

Maria Taniguchi (b. 1981)

Maria Taniguchi, a Filipino artist based in Manila, uses a varied range of media to frame, construct, and compose artworks referring to her cultural heritage. Her multifaceted practice, ranging from paintings and sculptures to video and writing, emphasizes the human charge embedded in the works she produces and questions Western notions of modernism. Through dedication and discipline her highly detailed ongoing series of painted brick walls explores the capacity of mechanisation of the body and blur the line between painting and sculpture.

Maria Taniguchi, 'Untitled' (2017). Courtesy of Taka Ishii Gallery.

Carmen Herrera (b. 1915-2022)

Carmen Herrera's paintings, defined by her distinctive style of sharp edges and precise lines, are the bearers of the avant-gardism of this lately recognised master of minimalism. Born in Cuba, she spent most of her life in New York developing her practice. Throughout her extraordinarily extensive career, she remained committed to abstraction and continued to push the boundaries of her artistic expression, transforming her two-dimensional paintings into canvas defying three-dimensional sculptures.

Carmen Herrera's exhibition at the Whitney Museum, New York. Courtesy of the museum.

Salman Toor (b. 1983) 

The intimate paintings of the Pakistani artist Salman Toor exude a simple passivity but hide a crude reality in their details. Constantly exploring the complexity of the queer experience while being part of a minority, his paintings depict familiar spaces crowded with a multiplicity of allegorical self portraits, unraveling their desires, beliefs and fears through scenes of urban pleasures. In these moments of intimacy, the characters are nonetheless threatened by repression, exclusion and racial discrimination. Simultaneously eerie and intimate his works never cease to question the viewers on the dichotomy of the scene they are experiencing. 

Salman Toor, 'The Bar on East 13th' (2019). Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.

WangShui (b. 1986)

Liminality as resistance is at the epicentre of WangShui's practice. Exploring our perception of the world, they blend media, architecture and technology to delve into thematics of desire and identity while including the spaces into the works. They use symbols of urban theory, the digital realm and mythology to create a universe in which existence is not constricted by predetermined and reductive identities. 

WangShui's 'Hyphal Stream (Isle of Vitr.°.ous)' (2022) on view at La Biennale de Lyon. Courtesy of Kurimanzutto.

Kang Seung Lee (b. 1978)

Born in Seoul and based in Los Angeles, Kang Seung Lee explores the forgotten past of queer communities and its intersection with art history. Bringing back to light marginalised narratives he creates new sites of knowledge linking lived experience, archives and intimate knowledge. Mainly working with graphite drawings and installations, his realistic personal and emotionally charged works serve as pictures of an immaterial and historically left out reality.

Kang Seung Lee, 'Untitled (A looter wheels a shopping cart full of diapers)' (2017). Courtesy of the artist.

Eduardo Terrazas (b. 1936)

Rooted in folk art and geometry, the works of Eduardo Terrazas are landmarks in the history of contemporary Mexican art. Artist and Architect, his bright compositions explore a style which has come to be a defining aesthetic movement and led him to international recognition. His works explore the tensions that exist between traditions and modernism, blending past and present to create a new visual language. 

Detail of Eduardo Terrazas, 'Possibilities of a Structure' (2021). Courtesy of the artist.