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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."