Just came back from Venice 2011 Art Biennale.
Obviously, as everybody said, a Gesamtkunstwerk paradise, with parallel universes by Thomas Hirschhorn at the Swiss Pavillion, Christoph Schlingensief in Germany, Mike Nelson at the British Pavillion. Good works also on Austrian, Korean, Japanese and Luxembourg pavillions. French scaffoldage by Boltansky is quite impressive, but easily too rethorical. All these deserve a little more and we’ll write about later.
Very variable quality overall, like it has been always been for the Biennale, and a frankly not-so powerful main exhibition by curator Bice Curiger (ILLUMInazioni) who said to have been inspired by Bonami 2003 Biennale. Contrarily to that, she takes no risks in her focus on the classic themes of form, composition and materials.
The biggest break from the tradition, the inclusion of three Tintoretto paintings among contemporary works, (meaning that art is always contemporary), is, at its best, not necessary.
A rapid selection of noteworthy works (randomly in and out of the Biennale):
Sigmar Polke, a Curiger favorite, at the Giardini, at Punta della Dogana and at Palazzo Grassi:
Cattelan‘s thousands of pigeons (“The tourists”):
Luigi Ghirri photographs:
Urs Fischer at the Arsenale and at Palazzo Grassi:
Andro Wekua concrete and wood architectural models:
Gabriel Kuri :
Haroon Mirza :
Christian Marklay‘s “The Clock” :
Elisabetta Benassi‘s microfilms viewers:
Elad Lassry‘s videos:
Monica Bonvicini‘s staircases:
Ayse Erkmen‘s Water purification units:
The Bounty Killart, at the Accademie pavillon:
and the on the last pavillion, apart of the works by Hans Op de Beeck, Alexander Ponomarev, Adrian Ghenie, Ryoichi Kurokawa: the robots of Federico Diaz:
Parallel exhibits: some good surprises from Pinault’s collection at Punta della Dogana and from the wonderful spaces of Ca’ Corner della Regina, rented for 6 years by the Prada Foundation. Don’t lose OMA/Koolhaas models for the new Prada headquarter in St.Isarco.
Ah, by the way, the infamous Sgarbi pavillion? Total rubbish…
And sorry for the exhibitions and the pavilions we haven’t visited, due to the only few days we could spend in Venice: Palazzo Zenobio, Padiglione Internet and san Giorgio Maggiore.
More info on these on Bird in the house
More on the national pavillions soon.