venice biennale – part I: giardini

venice pavillion, giardini

La Biennale: 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice – Italy

The Encyclopedic Palace

1st June > 24th November 2013

A visit to the Venice Biennale every two years keeps the art world exciting. Plan to visit in two days because one day is just not enough. Better yet would be a third day to see the collateral events.

For the 55th International Art Exhibition, theme is an all-encompassing collection of ideas, The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by a young Italian curator now with the New Museum in New York, Massimiliano Gioni. The inspiration derived from an actual proposal made in 1955 by Italian-American Marino Auriti (1891-1980) for a sort of imaginary museum, of skyscraper scale, an edifice to be built in Washington DC to house an encyclopedic record of universal knowledge and the greatest creations and discoveries of man kind.

The idea for this edition’s theme obviously opens up an immense spectrum of possibilities, especially since the bank of information and knowledge grows exponentially as history is created. The usual goal of defining with a theme has instead made the restrictions disappear with a vastly open approach.

biennale_150036_1

Perhaps in our attempt to understand the world we live in, we are required to refer to that traditional sense of an encyclopedia where all the answers exist and are based in some sort of research, experimentation, explanation, conclusion, and documentation. As seen in a large percentage of the work in the exhibition, much of this discovery is found through maniacal collections of information, cataloging, and processing to understand the information.

Like many visitors, I made my own photographic catalog of the works which most related to my interests, a visual encyclopedia, if you will, of this year’s Biennale. Here is a selection of work from pavilions in the Giardini location.

Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser
Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser, “The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz (1916-1992), Insurance Clerk from Vienna,” 1993-2008

Many of the pieces I was drawn to were ready-made objects found and collected by the artists presenting them, such as these building models found in a junk shop, not made by the artists Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser, but by an obsessively detailed insurance agent interested in quotidian architecture, displayed here as a record of perhaps invented buildings based on reality. This brings up the question proposed by Duchamp…is the art of recognizing the intrinsic value of these objects valid as art itself? And isn’t artistic merit found in everyday objects and even those we have produced, used and discarded?

Simryn Gill, "Naught," 2010 - objects in the shape of zeros found on walks (Australian Pavilion)
Simryn Gill, “Naught,” 2010 – objects in the shape of zeros found on walks (Australian Pavilion)
Anonymous Tantric Paintings, 1966-2004, unspecified paint on found paper
Anonymous Tantric Paintings, 1966-2004, unspecified paint on found paper
Jose Antonio Suarez Londono, "Franz Kafka, Diarios II 1914-1923," 2000, mixed media drawings
Jose Antonio Suarez Londono, “Franz Kafka, Diarios II 1914-1923,” 2000, mixed media drawings
Eva Kotatkova, "Asylum," 2003, mixed media installation
Eva Kotatkova, “Asylum,” 2003, mixed media installation

Eva Kotatkova creates a sort of archeological installation that examines institutions and disciplinary structures and their psychological effects of barriers and obstacle courses sometimes created by these systems. Ai Weiwei created another, physical obstacle.

Ai Weiwei, "Bang," 2013
Ai Weiwei, “Bang,” 2013
Lara Almarcegui, "Construction Materials of the Spanish Pavilion," 2013
Lara Almarcegui, “Construction Materials of the Spanish Pavilion,” 2013

Lara Almarcegui used the same materials and the precise same weight/mass amount made to construct the Spanish Pavilion, and she filled the pavilion itself with piles of the deconstructed, broken-down debris (brick, glass, iron, etc.), spilling through and invading the space. Seen as a record of the rubble waste that will eventually be of this pavilion, the measures of materials also seemed to be the ingredients to make the building, relaying between pre- and post-construction of materials originating once from the earth and returning to become the raw elements.

Odires Mlaszho, "Blind Books," 2012
Odires Mlaszho, “Blind Books,” 2012

Poetic re-compostition of book forms and sinuous flowing silk figures were suspended examples of more quiet moments found at the Biennale.

Yiqing Yin, "In-Between",  installation made of a liquid organza panel embroidered with silk threads with the node poit technique (Venezia Pavillion)
Yiqing Yin, “In-Between”, installation made of a liquid organza panel embroidered with silk threads with node poit technique (Venezia Pavillion)

Go to venice biennale – part II: arsenale

Advertisements

One thought on “venice biennale – part I: giardini

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s