Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Venice Biennale 2012

Last week I spent sometime in Venice checking out the Biennale, this year titled ILLUMInations. The Biennale is held at two main venues – the Arsenal and the Giardini, with a series of off site exhibitions at various locations throughout the islands. I saw just under half the Biennale – you would have to be a real die-hard to go to everything, and need a minimum of 5 days of art consuming from 10am to 6pm to see it all. As well as an unlimited budget – Venice is the most expensive city in Italy. But I recommend going at least once in your life, and I’d like to think that I would go back again for the next one, more prepared for what to expect and the time it takes, and with a better pair of walking shoes.

Art aside the city itself is amazing – as people say, it is like stepping into a dream, one in which it is very easy to get lost - literally. With over 400 canals, 150 bridges, and 117 islands (thanks Lonely Planet) and often unmarked streets, it’s impossible not to get disorientated… finding the off site exhibitions was fun (read time consuming), but a good way to become immersed in the streets of Venice. The population of Venice is only 269, 000 but it gets 20 million tourists a year! So whilst the city retains its gothic authenticity and other worldly labyrinth of canals, by day, the streets are a full of tourists (including me), and it can get a little frustrating getting around. However at night the streets are almost completely deserted, with small pockets of activity tucked away and roaming around the eerily quiet streets was by far what I enjoyed the most, to really see the beauty of the architecture and a built environment like I have never experienced without having to look through crowds of people.

So below are a bunch of photos from the Biennale. Like most art experiences of this size there was some arresting work and some not so interesting, but overall it's an impressive and exciting international art experience. Highlights for me of the offsite exhibitions were Days of Yi by Yi Zhou and Scottish artist Karla Black's exhibition curated by The Fruitmarket Gallery; Arsenal and Giardini highlights include Cindy Sherman, Pipilotti Rist, Urs Fischer, Norma Jean, Haroon Mirza, Nicholas Hlobo and Nathaniel Mellors... to name just a few.

The view from our room!

When I think of Venice, the first thing I think of is - MARATHON!

Venice by night - amazing

Above: Offsite exhibition - Lithuanian Pavilion 

Above: South African artist Nicholas Hlobo

Above: Exterior view

Above: Interior view

Above: Urs Fischer

Above: Pavilion of Chile

Outside the Arsenal

Above: Days of Yi by Yi Zhou - stunning video works

Above: Karla Black
Magical Venice at night!
More canals

In the Spanish Pavillion, there were signs saying "Do not step onto the art work!"... but feel free to set up a desk with a laptop workstation...... on the art work.

Above: Entrance to the Giardini

Above: Cindy Sherman

Above: Norma Jean - plastacine violence! This installation made me feel so uncomfortable

Above and below: The Greece Pavilion

No it's not chocolate.....

Below video: Haroon Mirza

Below video: Nathaniel Mellors

Below videos: Pipilotti Rist

1 comment:

  1. Saw the rooftops artwork from the Chile pavillion in Sydney last year at the Biennale there, amazing! Great photos. Yes I completely agree, Venice is like a dream