Discussion of whether stand-in artistic director Moritz De Hadeln will be allowed by Biennale organisers to keep the top job has been the favourite rumour throughout Venice this year. But the decision could be in his own hands.
It is neither clear that the former Berlin and one-time Locarno chief has to go, nor sure that he wants to stay.
"I have a contract until the end of the year and [Biennale chief, Franco] Bernabe has told me that I can stay as long as I want," De Hadeln told Screendaily. De Hadeln said shortly after the festival has ended after there would begin a process of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the current event, with it written into his contract that this will be completed by October.
But asked whether he actually wants to keep the job and De Hadeln's response is murkier. "I am sincerely very, very mixed. One day I think yes, the next I'm not sure. I would be willing if I were given the reassurance and power to work on reorganisation. But if it is allowed to drag out and means a year-on-year saving of the Mostra from sinking into the lagoon then I would not want it."
Word on the Lido is that Locarno's current chief selector Irene Bignardi - an Italian national - is being lined up for the job. Some suggest that Locarno is already anticipating her departure and casting around for a new artistic director, a rumour that Locarno does not respond to. But the politically Left-leaning Bignardi is understood to have told friends that she would only take a job at the Venice festival if the Biennale could be guaranteed to be freed of any influence from Right Wing prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
De Hadeln's oft-repeated point about the need for speedy and clear decision-making from the Biennale is underlined when it emerges that Luigi Cucinollo, head of festival organisation, and Irene Di Giovanni, head of press, both see their contracts expire at the end of the year.