In Review: The Biennale di Venezia
ILLUMInations (4th June to 27th November).
The 54th edition of the international modern art exhibit that is Biennale di Venezia, is underway in the city of Venice, Italy right now. Incredible to know that it has been going on since 1895.You may also have heard of the International Venice Film Festival which happens in conjunction with the Biennale.
The title chosen for the 2011 edition of the Biennale is evocative and compelling, ILLUMInations is a reference to poetry, writing, to the Biennale’s very structure composed of national pavilions. However the most important message this tittle illustrates is the one of art’s intrinsic characteristic: it’s unique and illuminating experience. The grounds are set up with two main exhibition areas, The Giardini and The Arsenal, which will give you moments of extreme density and others of greater breath.
An impressive arts, dance, film and cultural organization expanding the gardens of Venice and setting the stage for the interpretations of hundreds of artists from Spain to Israel who have transformed their country’s pavilion in to a statement of personal meaning, national expression, emotional turmoil at times and hopefully ILLUMInation. Below I take a closer look at some of the pavilions I was most struck with…
The French Pavilion curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, presents a new installation by French artist Christian Boltanski. The installation, titled “Chance“, deals with the themes that are characteristic for Boltanski’s work: chance, luck and misfortune.
After arriving to Piazza Roma with a couple friends the first thing to do with a bunch of Italians is eat & drink. Once we had some homemade beer and and few pounds of cured meats we were ready to hop on a vapporetto and navigate to the ‘giardini’ to arrive at one of the two main exhibition areas in the Gardens of Venezia. The lush backdrop of the gardens is a most idyllic canvas for all of the modern art expression to reveal itself as you enter the pavilions. Yes the buzz from lunch helps too!
Starting with Spain you’re perplexed by the simplicity of the artist’s interpretation to the more elaborate German, French and Venezuelan pavilions. [See videos and Photos] With modern art there is not any one meaning to a work or works, all you can gather is an experience and perhaps emotions which is a powerful measure of the work itself.
Personally I thought the fair is unlike any other, there is no art for sale, most importantly the emphasis on the representation of a country through a message, I found very compelling. For me the day spent in the Gardens was one I’ll never forget. It’s truly something to see and do, even more so if you are a modern art enthusiast.
The artist is Vancouverite Steven Shearer, known for his engagements with near and distant pasts—namely, with the hard-rock and heavy-metal iconography of the 1970s and 1980s, and its visual resonance with the longhaired bohemians and symbolist reveries of late 19th-century European painting.
The Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Best National Participation was given to Germany this year for Christoph Schliengensief’s multi-disciplinary practice “that is intense, committed, and possesses a strong personal vision.”
For more info beyond what you find here please visit the official website for the Biennale.