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Skipping past the weather, the attitudes and being stranded on one side of the Arsenale exhibition site with no shuttle available to come back, mixed with an array of parties and events staged during the 4 preview days of the 55th edition of the International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. This Biennale has truly excelled itself and is full of inspiring artistic surprises.
FADItaly gives you a highlight of our favourite highs and must sees in three parts: Some of the highlights from the opening days at the 2013 Venice Biennale are in no particular order, the Russian, Bahamian, German, Azerbaijan, Chilean pavilions and also the main “Encyclopedic Palace” curated by Massimiliano Gioni - a great travel through human artistic dreams and visions.
Steve McQueen – Once Upon a Time 2002 – McQueen presents 116 digitalised images from Carl Sagan’s Golden Record which was launched into space in 1977 on the twin NASA spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2. Nasa’s idealistic revolutionary narrative, conflicts with the obscure utterances, reminding us of the limitations of both languages and images.
Russian Pavilion – Vadim Zakharov – Danaë – Giardini
The mythological theme of Danaë, a constantly recurring theme in art from antiquity to the modern period, is given a new and revitalised interpretation via the Russian Pavilion’s presentation of Vadim Zakharov’s incredible work. The basement section of this “Golden Pennies from Heaven” experience is a women only affair. Participants are handed an umbrella before walking in and being asked to pick up a golden coin from the floor to stimulate the flow of golden coins from above, that literally rain down on them. Men are only allowed upstairs where praying stools are set up around the square hole to look down on the women picking up the golden coins. The Russian piece is a strong interplay between the gender discrimination, monetary lust characterising the contemporary times. Quite ironic was to witness the Princess Michael of Kent going through the exhibition with her family in tow.
Imran Qureshi – Modern Enlightenment – Il Palazzo Enciclopedico – Giardini
A beautiful series of miniature watercolours, Modern Enlightenment feature various characters taking part in every day leisure activities, such as lifting weights, holding shopping bags and adorn messenger bags and Muslim hijab with camp socks. These images embody the cultural shifts that quietly counter Western pre-conceptions in the Islamic world.
Sonia Falcone – Campo de Color – The Latin American Pavilion /Arsenale
This multi- sensory impressive work of Bolivian artist Sonia Falcone featured in the Latin Amerian Pavilion where she displays in a very colourful way spices from around the world.
Ai Weiwei – Bang – German Pavilion – Giardini Ai Weiwei’s Bang installation features 886 three- legged wooden stools. In today’s china, the three legged stool is an antique. Manufactured in a very uniform method, it was used throughout China and in all sectors of society for centuries. Every family has a least one stool, which is used for an array of purposes and handed down through generations. After the cultural revolution though production of these stools plummeted. Weiwei has created an expansive rhizomatic structure whose sprawling growth recalls the rampantly proliferating organisms of this world’s megacities.
Finally for the first part:
Alfredo Jaar – Venice Venice – Chilean Pavilion – Arsenale
A precise scaled reproduction of the Giardini Biennale appears and disappears every 3 minutes in 5×5 meters metallic pool full or murky green water. A poetic vision which make us reflect on the rigid structures of the past century and the fluidity of modern globalisation. There emerging palaces of the Biennale seem to represent the ghosts of history, with the water enacting as a purifier and rebirth.
Edited by Bev Luckings