This past weekend I was able to make it to Venice to view the Venice Biennale for two days. This was the first time I’ve ever gone so it was exciting just to go, but I thought it was also interesting to view art from a more international perspective and not through the filter of living in the states or being surrounded by a particular school of thinking. That said, there were also some pieces that commented on Biennales format as too rigid, where each pavilion/country is separated and doesn’t represent the international/global interactions that are happening within and amongst all countries. Alfredo Jarr’s piece Vinezia, Venizia flooded a scaled down model of the pavilions as if asking for a rethinking of how the pavilions should be structured in relation to our global society. The German pavilion also commented on this idea by inviting international artists to show at their pavilion opposed to just choosing German artists.
Being chosen as the one person to represent your country in art seems like it would be totally overwhelming and somewhat ridiculous, but perhaps it’s impossible for us as humans to absorb it all anyway, and even with just one person representing each country the Biennale is a lot to take in. That seemed like a major theme of the Biennale; with our over abundant access to information how do we organize it in a way that is absorbable on a human level?
To me, in the recent past, it feels that our initial reaction to this bombardment of information and not knowing how to process it was a feeling of being overwhelmed and reacting flippantly through the use of irony, but after seeing the Biennale I get the feeling that this trend seems to be fading, as a lot of the work I saw seemed to be looking towards spirituality, awe and imagination as ways to deal with our existence. Below are a few of the works I found particularly interesting.
Da Vinci by Yuri Ancarani for me was kind of a jaw dropping film. I might vote it one of the most stand out things at the Biennale. For me it felt like more of an experience than a film with it’s visceral visual and auditory command of scenes from a laparoscopic surgery. I actually feel a little bad showing this bootleg youtube version because it really doesn’t do it justice.
In terms of painting Maria Lassnig was the highlight.
Unfortunately I’m having trouble finding some of the video’s I’d like to post here. One was a video by Ed Atkins called the Trick Brain (this is only a link to the script of the film), and the other was an animation by Leon & Cocina called Los Andes.