Monday, September 9, 2013

55th Venice Biennale August 30th, 31st and 1 Sept, 2013

Set up outside the conservatory of music for a day. I was surprised to find out they weren't glass but plastic!

 Egyptian pavilion: odd, bronze ball mummy case

a very pretty, bronze whirling dervish statue (my interpretation). Egyptian pavilion

material animals

 fun material creatures all lined up in a row, there were 5 or 6 of them

 Romanian pavilion: where a group of 5 people became living art. they would state the name of the photo/artwork  and then move into action to recreate it.

a soviet poster

another painting, very entertianing. they would keep the poses for quite a while. they were excellent

crossing over a canal in the Giardino to the pavilions on the other side, picture perfect day.

 Portuguese pavilion:  got our award for best pavilion, . The sea" underworld" created in soft, blue and white crocheted fabrics with LED lighting inside the boat.

Portugal is a huge producer of cork, thus the cork counters and stools on the boat

The "Trafaria Praia" ship was the Portugese pavilion, all covered in lovely, blue Portugese "azulejos"(ceramic tiling). A panorama of Lisbon's skyline is depicted. It is inspired by the "great panorama of Lisbon" before the earthquake of 1755 and displayed in lisbon's tile museum which we just saw last year. loved this.

The ship is a  retired (2011) "cacilheiro" ferry which cross the River Tagus every day in Lisbon, similar to the function of the Venetian vaporetti.  Prior to the building of first bridge in Lisbon in 1966, these ferries were only means of transport across the Tagus in Lisbon. The pavilion actually goes out for 30 minute rides, 2 or 3 times a day. Great fun.

another gigantic cruise ship passing by as we were on the Portuguese pavilion. they just dwarf everything around.

Liesl in action at her concert in San Trovaso, August 30th

Frank and Scott enjoying an after concert discussion
there were some wonderful political satire cartoons in the Iraqi pavilion. Artist : Abdul Raheem Yassir

Iraq Pavilion- a very inventive all cardboard bedroom, made using old and new pieces of cardboard. Artist: Yaseen Wami and Hashim Taeeh

a fun cardboard pitcher on cardboard table in bedroom

They served us tea and home-made biscuits in Iraq pavilion

the political cartoons displayed were excellent

Ca' Dandolo on the Grand Canal which housed the Iraq pavilion. 11 artists who work and live in Iraq were featured.

The picture perfect Ducal palace. Last time I was in the Venice, it was covered with some kind of ugly advertising billboard while it was being cleaned.

 looks fake  but it is the real thing -another perfect day in Venice

the newly cleaned Bridge of Sighs, with the always packed bridge of admiring tourists.

back to the biennale, this time at the arsenale sight. I always enjoy the site more than the art.

a  large bronze creation

a Japanese artist, made of terra cotta

bunch of plaster figures

I did like this one, made with some buttons, and various materials. think i just liked the art-deco like horseshoe shaped neck and arms.

Arsenale "nord" (north). they had a water taxi shuttle over to those pavilions which took about 3 minutes. Fun.

Thailand Pavilion

up close view

Fun display of spices in southern american pavilion

such a pretty day to walk around the Arsenale, warm but great weather

at the arsenale, vaporetta repair shop!

Georgian Pavilion- a loft house built to show how many apartments added on such structures after the fall of Communism. They had a number of photos displayed showing how they were added in the oddest places. all looked pretty unsafe to me.
in the arsenale nord, part of chinese exhibitions
lovely  glass azerbaijan artists in the arsenale nord
part of the arsenale nord exhibition space
the space was so fabulous, on the other side of the stone arches is the lagoon toward isola san michele
wonderfully used space
photo doesn't capture the great effect these paintings had
one of scott's favorites, almost cathedral like
i loved the space as you can tell from all the photos
I believe this was one of the balkan pavilions, just can't remember which.
lovely granite etchings,  part of this artist's training was making headstones for graves
in one of the exhibition spaces near campo santa stefano
palace on the grand canal,  forget the palace name and the pavilion name
same palace as above and what was displayed was easily forgettable!
huge wallfull of matchbox portraits, probably at least a hundred of them. Uzebekistan pavilion?
fun Azerbaijan Pavilion. Artist: Farid Rasulov. "Carpet Interior". 
all made out of felt, except for the carpet
Azerbaijan Pavilion. Artist: Rashad Alakbarov. very cool lighting on his wire sculpture created amazing wall images. his second time exhibiting for the Venice Biennale.
In this one  "it is not chaos" is only seen when you look through your camera lens.
in Campo Santa Stefano
one of the exhibition spaces

coming in from the lagoon through the gates of the Arsenale, where the Venetians built their naval  empire. still strikingly impressive.

magazine covers depicted in woven rugs in arsenale nord. These were very cool.

some broomstick art

pretty  glass

Scott and I have been going to the Venice Biennale for a number of years. The Biennale began in 1895 as more or less a type of world's fair of art. Every year more and more countries participate. This year I believe it was 150 countries.

 I often wonder why I go since I HATE a great deal of the exhibited art.  However, I have figured out what it is that I like about this three day undertaking. Most of all, it is usually the buildings in which the art is exhibited which excites me the most and some of the old pavilions on the ground of the Giardino Pubblico are lovely. The Hungarian pavilion for one is stunning,  which includes art deco architecture and mosaics from the early 1900's. The giardino itself, in summer or fall, is a quiet, tranquil place to wander; thankfully way, way far away from the chaos of San Marco.  I truly enjoy walking around the huge, Arsenale complex which never fails to make one realize how the Venetians truly ruled the Eastern Mediterranean for centuries, the real "La Serenissima" comes through loud and clear.  Then there is the other whole section which involves the exhibition of art in a variety of spaces, palazzi, scuole throughout all of Venice. This part of the biennale is free to all. A fabulous opportunity to see the inside of some of these lovely spaces, many situated on the Grand Canal with views one could only dream of.

I have not photographed a lot of the art I hated, some I find some quite distasteful and I am not much of a video art fan. I prefer to get away from the electronic age when I go to see art. Some of the artists truly are disturbed souls. I am not just saying that but the bios explained this.

I enjoyed finding out that many of the artists in war-torn countries are continuing to pursue their passion. The Egyptian pavilion had a long story behind its administration: who was or wasn't in charge as regimes and cultural ministers were in constant flux. Many new countries were exhibiting for the first time including the Vatican. A lot of the art had political, or environmental messages which one doesn't always want to be reminded of when out for a nice day, but I can understand the artist wanting to present a message.

The Lebanese Pavilion showed a film by Akram Zaatari, "Letter to a Refusing Pilot" which relates the story of an Israeli pilot during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. He was given orders to bomb a target, which he recognized as a school. He knew he was disobeying orders but he could not bring himself to do this and instead dropped the bombs into the sea.

The Macedonian pavilion in the Scuola Dei Laneri (wool guild) had a very large walk through (maybe 10 foot) wall which was made of dead albino rats. Art, not sure? The message being something about the migration pattern of disease with immigrants. I got out of that pavilion very quickly.

The Chilean exhibition consisted of a large scale model of the biennale itself which became submerged every 3 minutes in a very murky, ugly, dark greenish body of water symbolizing the birth and rebirth of lands? Venice? flooded areas?

 In the Arsenale nord's  La Torre di Porta Nuova (monumental proportions and space), built between 1809 and 1814 to enable the mechanical placement of masts onto ships,  "Breath" a four channel video featuring a soothing musical chant of four different religious traditions: Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Islamic took place.  You walk into a totally black box and hear music from the 4 religions but they all intermesh with one another. No one music sound dominates the other. That  I enjoyed for a few minutes.

Some pavilions didn't make too much sense to me such as the Irish one on the Grand Canal at the San Angelo vaporetto stop. It consisted of many screens which were showing short movies/video of the civil war in the Congo. You felt the tension, the loud noise, the fear of being discovered and shot, you saw the gorgeous green, lush mountains in the Congo. Had nothing to do with Ireland but this Irish artist had a tale to tell.

There's a lot to say about the Biennale but I guess the bottom line being that is a fun two or more days of exploring the city at its best. The ticket allows you to enter into the Giardino and Arsenale exhibition spaces on two different days if you prefer and the exhibitions around the city are free. biennale runs from June to end of November.
mosaic arch at hungarian pavilion

1 comment:

  1. Wow looks like an amazing exhibition even with all the contemporary video art (I'm not a fan either). Interesting about the Ireland one... maybe they were showing it as some sort of comparison with their own struggle? I saw so much propaganda for other major unrest areas in Belfast as the Irish show their support and I guess hope for support in return.