7.12.2015

56th Art Biennale in Venice

The 56th International Art Biennale is happening in Venice through November.  The residency artists and myself caught a train from southwest to northeast Italy to spend a few days in the city and see it.  On our way we encountered a two hour delay due to a fire near the tracks.  It was about 11 hours, door to door.  We stayed in an apartment and slowly but surely found our way around Venice.  The main parts of the show, All the World's Futures, were housed in the Arsenale and Giardini. There were also exhibits sprinkled throughout the city in different, unexpected spaces.  My favorite works were the installations by the Republic of Kosovo in the Arsenale and Japan's Pavilion in the Giardini.

Katharina Grosse, Untitled Trumpet, 2015
             Vincent J.F. Huang,Crossing the Tide in the Tuvalu Pavilion    
Joana Hadjithomas &  Khalil Joreige, Latent Images/Diary of a Photographer
This towering wall was filled with sets of books, each numbering 1312 pages.  The artists spent almost a decade photographing and writing descriptions of their subject matter; at the end of the project, it was no longer necessary to develop the images and so the pages are blank, save for the descriptive text at the bottom.  It was an interesting conceptual piece that I walked past at first.  On my way back through the pavilion I stopped for a second look and the work was explained to me by a gallery attendant.  I found the idea so interesting, but I wouldn't be able to resist developing the film! 
Flaka Haliti, Speculating the Blue, Pavilion of the Republic of Kosovo
This room was bathed in special light that turned everything a shade of blue & made my nail polish glow fluorescent.  The sand was very deep in the space, and a few people were taking off their shoes and walking around, so we did the same.  Twice a day, the lighting changes to signify the 'blue hour' before sunrise and after sunset.  Though the piece was an installation dealing with boundaries and politics, it felt very peaceful; I think a large part of that was the soothing feeling of the sand under my feet and the quiet space of the room, away from the throngs of tourists outside.
                              My favorite piece in the garden was The Key in Hand by Chiharu Shiota, in the Japanese Pavilion.  There were thousands of keys strung together with red yarn throughout the space, anchoring boats and floating above.
Camille Norment, Rapture, in the Nordic Pavilion
 Joan Jonas, They Come to Us without a Word, in the United States Pavilion

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