News / Arts & Entertainment

Venice Biennale Seeks to Capture 'Unruly' World of Art

  • Visitors looks at the installation called " Bang " by China's artist Ai Weiwei at the German pavilion during the 55th La Biennale of Venice, May 29, 2013.
  • A visitor walks past an installation called "Campo de Color" by Bolivian artist Sonia Falcone, May 28, 2013.
  • A visitor takes a picture of part of an installation called "The Garbage Patch State" by Italian artist Maria Cristina Finucci, May 28, 2013.
  • A view of an installation as part of the "S.A.C.R.E.D" exhibition by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei during the 55th La Biennale of Venice, in the church of Sant'Antonin in Venice, May 28, 2013. The installations depict the dissident artist's 81-day detention in 2011.
  • A visitor looks at the installation called "Music for silence" by Canadian artist Shary Boyle at the Canada pavilion, May 29, 2013.
  • A visitor walks past pictures representing the "uncreation" theme, by famed Czech photographer Josef Koudelka, at the Holy See pavilion, May 28, 2013. The Holy See has its own pavilion this year for the first time.
  • A visitor looks at the installation called "Triple point" by U.S. artist Sarah Sze at the United States pavilion, May 29, 2013.
  • Chinese artist Miao Xiaochun pose near his installation called "Transfiguration" at the China pavilion, May 28, 2013.
  • A visitor takes a picture in front of the installation called "We sit starving amidst our gold " by British artist Jeremy Deller at the Great Britain pavilion, May 29, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Blocks of ice from the Bahamas, cardboard bed clothes from Iraq and a thumping Vatican heartbeat will help the 2013 Venice Biennale attempt to capture the “unruly” world of art.
 
The rich diversity of unexpected sights and sounds at the world's largest non-commercial art exhibition are partly a result of sheer numbers, with shows from 88 countries installed across the canal city in time for this week's opening.
 
More than 150 artists are taking part in the Biennale, which has been running since 1895 and continues to attract artists, art-lovers and collectors from across the planet to Venice.
 
“Every two years we try to capture the world - and then the world is unruly,” said Biennale curator Massimiliano Gioni.
 
Ten countries - including the Vatican and the Bahamas - are participating for the first time this year with their own dedicated pavilions in a fair that runs until November.
 
“The national pavilions are fantastic because they give us a glimpse of the diversity of the world...a world of exceptions,” said Gioni.
 
The Holy See's pavilion, in the Arsenale or old shipyard site, is a far cry from the Renaissance masterpieces of the Vatican.
 
While the three rooms are based on the relatively orthodox themes of “creation”, “uncreation” and “recreation”, the use of video and a pervasive thumping heartbeat soundtrack add a thoroughly modern element to the installation.
 
Another Biennale newcomer, the Bahamas pavilion holds a surprise for anyone who was expecting the warmth and sunshine of a Caribbean island.
 
Nassau-born artist Tavares Strachan's show includes a 14-hour video of his recent trip to the North Pole and two freezer pods containing blocks of ice - one of which he brought back from the Pole and another made to a specific formula so that it would resemble polar ice as closely as possible.
 
“I grew up on an island that was 24 miles [38.6 km] by seven miles. It was tiny. So if you got on a bike and you started riding, you hit the edge and you were like...'what else am I going to do?' And so exploration for me was kind of a natural part of the way I thought about the world,” said Strachan.
 
The Encyclopedic Palace

 
Gioni themed the 55th iteration of the Venice show on the “Encyclopedic Palace”, a design filed at the U.S. Patent Office by eccentric Italian-American Marino Auriti in 1955 for an imaginary museum, 137 stories high, that would house all wordly knowledge in one place.
 
Auriti's ambition was destined never to be realized, but the Biennale has set a more realistic goal, giving an introduction to art which is rarely seen abroad.
 
“I hope that we are going to be an introduction to Iraqi art,” said Iraqi artist Furat al Jamil, one of 11 artists involved in the Iraqi pavilion which is set in a traditional Venetian apartment overlooking the grand canal.
 
“These are samples. Modest samples but genuine and very sincere,” as she showed her “Honey Pot”, a sculpture made of suspended honeycomb frames dripping into a broken antique pot to convey sweet melancholy and the possibility of healing.
 
Furat's colleagues Yaseen Wami and Hashim Taeeh have furnished the opulent apartment's bedroom entirely in cardboard, right down to the bedclothes. Cartoonist Abdul Raheem Yassir's politically charged illustrations hang from the walls, near Jamal Penjweny's series of photographs “Saddam is Here”.
 
“It's an opening up of communication between this very fragile developing art world and the rest of the world,” said Iraq Pavilion curator Jonathan Watkins.
 
Many exhibitors have also come to Venice unofficially or without the support of their national governments, to bask in the light the art world shines on the Biennale.
 
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sits on a chair in the courtyard of his studio, in Beijing, June 20, 2012.Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sits on a chair in the courtyard of his studio, in Beijing, June 20, 2012.
x
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sits on a chair in the courtyard of his studio, in Beijing, June 20, 2012.
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sits on a chair in the courtyard of his studio, in Beijing, June 20, 2012.
Chinese dissident artist Ai Wei Wei is represented twice in Venice this year, despite being unable to attend in person. His mother came to Venice in his place to unveil his new piece, a series of sculptures called S.A.C.R.E.D depicting his detention in 2011.
 
The Venetian setting brings another dimension to Ai's new piece, said art gallery director Greg Hilty, who collaborated on the project installed at the Church of St Anthony.
 
“If you saw this in a museum you would appreciate the minimalism, you would appreciate the politics,” Hilty said. “But the church connects it to the stages of the cross, it connects to the lives of the saints, it gives it a more universal story or meaning.”
 
The Biennale continues to attract artists and viewers partly because of its own history, says Jeremy Deller, the Turner prize-winning artist chosen to represent Britain.
 
“This is as good as it gets really, for an artist,” said Deller, whose show starts with two huge scrolls inscribed with lyrics of a song by British singer David Bowie hung either side of the main door.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

With over five million records sold worldwide, singer-songwriter MIKA is best known for his hit single “Grace Kelly.” MIKA joins "Border Crossings" to perform live and to talk with host Larry London about his latest CD “The Origin Of Love.”