Venice Biennale, Day 3 (last day)
It was our second day doing the Biennale, day 1 we came in late and didn’t go see the shows. Going to the Giardini the first full day and the Arsenale the second day was totally the way to go. It was just pure luck on our end. This piece was on the walkway into the show. It pretty much says it all about the show. As Fred noted, I look through the world with this lens and have my entire life.
The Center of the Arsenale has pretty much the same artists as the day before so seeing them installed here with different work opens your eyes to each artist in a much larger way. Happy to see huge Zanele Muholi’s large photos throughout the show.
The Ed Atkins install takes about 1/2 of one area. It is quite amazing. There are videos highlighting crash course dummies, him constantly crying, sandwiches being assembled and disassembled highlighting corporate advertising. Opera costumes take over the space on racks. He depicts a pseudo-historic world of eternal ruin. Incredible.
Njideka Akunyili Crosby reflecting her experience of a Nigerian woman who at age 12 was part of the Nigerian diaspora and now lives and works in LA.
Teresa Margolles whose work reflects the tragedies of violence in Mexico. This is a dusty window with partial old posters of women people are looking for.
Jill Mulleady’s paintings of every day life depict different lives from those living on the edge to others who are ungovernable.
Nicole Eisenman’s sculptures. A new medium for her.
Neil Beloufa created video interviews with young soldiers from countries around the globe. You sat in these structures and heard their stories. I watched one from a Syrian soldier who left the countries Syrian Army and now worked for the New Syrian Army as a rocket launcher. He talks about how bad these people are yet how he has pride in his job. The leaders asked him to fire on protestors who they said were something they weren’t. These people were his family members. It as if the army’s of these places are enterprise companies paying people to work for them. Not sure how this ever changes. Extremely upsetting.
Zhanna Kadyrova works with ceramics and tiles. Here she created an entire outdoor market from flowers to vegetables to fruit. This is the meat section encouraging public interaction with the belief that the role of art is should be a commodity.
What is different at the Arsenale is the countries different pavilions bleed into each other through one building vs separate buildings. We liked this. The highlights here were the Family Album from Kosovo. During the war (1998-99) there were some photos taken of very young children that became synonymous with this war and in turn became part of the global media. The artist, Alban Muja, tracked down some of these children, now adults, to tell their stories and the impact those photos (that were out of their own control) and the war had on them.
Island Weather from the Philippines, from curator Tessa Maria T. Guazon and exhibitor Mark O. Justiniani. These photos were endless. If you took off your shoes you could walk over multiple photos surrounded by metal enclosures showing that we are all connected and that weather there has to do with decisions we make globally.
Ghana put together a mixture of artists highlighting Freedom. This is from Lynette Yiadom-Boakye called the Mighty-Mighty Lines.
Each piece from the artist El Anatsui was also part of the Ghana installation. All of these works are done in bottle caps and copper wire.
The architecture of these buildings are really beautiful.
The Indian pavilion, called A Time for Future Of Caring, was put together like Ghana with a variety of artists. Shakuntala Kulkarni made these iron and wood outfits showing that women live with an overwhelming sense of threat. That risk and the violation of their bodies is becoming an increasing concern.
She then took photos of herself in these pieces in regular surroundings. Really powerful.
We walked around to find the Lithuanian Pavilion which was a solo show in a totally different area. It was extremely quiet in this part of Venice, a true treat.
The install is incredible. This is what the artist wrote.
Here is the installation. You walk up the stairs and see the beach below.
That was the last of our art for the day. We had some pizza which was ok not great. We went to see a local glass artist but randomly we were able to check out the entire gallery yet nobody was there. The works are beautiful. We hope to get one shipped back to the states after connecting. Massimo Micheluzzi.
And then, we went back to our hotel, took a shower (the heat was really something), got on a boat, went to the airport, flew back to Paris and landed at 10pm. This is one of the many things I love about Paris in June. It is still light out at 10pm.