Friday, 3 July 2009

Venice Biennale 2009

4 June. My first time at the Venice Biennale...I thought three days would cover it. It Didn't.

I saw maybe half of what I had on my list. I had gone to attend the opening for the Welsh pavilion, and fully intended to see all the other UK offerings. I managed the Northern Irish pavilion and the New Forest pavilion. I walked in confusing patterns to find the Scottish pavilion but failed. I didn't manage to gain entry to the Steve McQueen in the English pavilion - it was choc-a-bloc. I did see him in the cafe, but was much too British to snap his picture.

We recently had a show in the gallery called Crafted - Contemporary Craft and Fine Art, our publicity described the objects in the show as "...expressing a new mood of exchange, between contemporary craft, art and design" perhaps my eyes were particularly attuned, but much of the work at the biennale also seemed to be blurring these boundaries.

The 53rd international Art Director, Daniel Birnbaum has named the Biennale Making Worlds/Fare Mondi
Here are a few things I particularly enjoyed.

Pae White - Birdseed Chandelier

Irina Korina - Russian pavilion

Moshekwa Langa - South Africa

Zoran Todorovic - But if you take my voice, what will be left to me? - Serbia

I think my favourite piece was the installation Human Being by Cameroon artist Pascale Marthine Tayou. Emulating the activity in a small African village, wooden huts, piles of found materials, video; constructed, sewn and knitted objects; noisy with ambient sounds and chaotic with items. The piece is pulled into focus by huddles of small characters or 'families' - maybe working, talking, buying, selling - often under standard lamps. Find out more

Pascale Marthine Tayou - Human Being

Fiona Tan's Disorient at the Netherlands pavilion was another favourite, a beautiful video piece exploring ideas about travelling and journeys, and particularly in relation to Venice, ideas of 'the merchant'. Find out more

Fiona Tan - Disorient
Also a double screen work called Rise and Fall; poetic and melancholic, investigating the passage of time.

Fiona Tan - Rise and Fall

This piece from the Moscow based conceptualists Elena Elagina and Igor Makarevich had a strong personal resonance also.

Elena Elagina and Igor Makarevich - Cupboard

My Flickr page has lots more images.

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