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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."