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.
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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

At Washington’s Blues Alley jazz singer Jane Monheit and her quartet perform songs made famous by Judy Garland. Monheit sits down with "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten to talk about her music, the singers who influence her, and her life traveling with family on tour.