Sunday, July 21, 2013

la biennale Venice 2013 - installation

Where to start...there was a lot of great installation art on show at the biennale, with the grand architecture of Venice and industrial spaces within the Arsenale almost encouraging - perhaps even daring artists to interact with it in their work.

Above is a small detailed section of Sarah Sze's installation work 'Triple Point' in the U.S. pavilion at the Giardini. I had only previously seen Sarah's work in magazines and online, neither of which do any justice to seeing these works in the flesh. I can only describe them as ordered chaos. There are so many bits, pieces, things, stuff attached, hanging, falling, connected, stuck, clamped and taped in these works, I really struggle to imagine how she puts them altogether. And yet amongst this excess of material and all it's forms of alteration....there is an underlying sense of order, it's not just thrown together. I visited on two different days and spent quite a bit of time viewing the works, there was something very compelling about these works for me.
This work by Elisabetta Benassi, titled 'The Dry Salvages', had an unexpected connection for me, which I'll get to in a moment. The work consists of an uneven floor composed of 10,000 'bricks' made of clay taken from areas of the 1951 Polesine flood. Each is imprinted with the names and alphanumeric cataloguing codes of the largest pieces of space debris still in orbit around the earth. I'm not sure I fully understand the connection between clay from a small town in Italy and space debris; but the week before arriving in Venice, Phil and I had stayed at a farm in Polesine and been told stories of the flooding that occurs there some years, to the extent where some years they have needed to empty out their cellars where the cured hams hang for drying. I was reminded of delicious food in a beautiful area of the Parma region while looking for names of space junk that I recognised. I wonder what the artist envisaged viewers contemplating. (On show in the Arsenale)

'Campo de Colour' by Sonia Falcone was stunning to look at installed on the floor of the Latin American pavilion at the Arsenale. I could smell its aroma long before I saw it, consisting of pigments and spices it engaged my senses from a distance and up close.

This installation work at Galleria di Palazzo Cini was a bit of a surprise as there was no literature or information on site about the work. After heading up a couple of flights of stairs in a residential style building I entered a room and was immediately drawn to the 'masters' on the wall. Paintings from the early to mid renaissance period filled the walls of several rooms, including the stunning Botticelli piece pictured above (Left side on the wall). It took a few minutes for the 'contemporary' aspect of this biennale collateral event to sink in. I became aware of other visitors picking up poster prints from palettes that were situated on the floor within the rooms. Some people spent a great deal of time deciding which free prints they wanted to take, others took one of each, around 23 in total, without taking a second glance at the artworks on the wall.
The experience reminded me of a youtube clip that circulated on facebook not too long ago, with a renowned violinist busking with the worlds most expensive violin and almost no one stopping to listen.
I went back twice to see the 'treasures' and experience this installation by Edson Chagas, I liked it a lot! What do we value, the viewing of a work we can't take with us or a cheap print that's free to take? I left with a wry grin.
You can read more about this work at Art Agenda.
I'll finish up with the yarn-bombing light installation of Joana Vasconcelos, who transformed the floating interior of a Lisbon ferry brought to Venice for the biennale. It was a lot of I need to say anymore?
The work is titled 'Trafaria Praia' 2013.

There were so many more installation works, but these are a few that caught my attention. More images can be seen on the highlights wrap up at the abc arts post.

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