• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content
Identica Insight 08 Venice Biennale
 

Identica Insight 08 Venice Biennale

on

  • 362 views

The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Biennale happens across the city but its two main sites are at the Giardini and ...

The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Biennale happens across the city but its two main sites are at the Giardini and the old shipyard at Arsenale.

This year’s Biennale brings together over one hundred and fifty artists from more than eighty countries, with each country staging competing exhibitions in their national pavilions.

The worlds of art and design so often overlap that this year, instead of going to my usual design haunts, I decided to visit the Venice Biennale to see the work of some of the worlds leading and upcoming artists.

Blurring the line between professional artists and amateurs, the exhibition aims to bring the many infinite worlds of contemporary art to life in a single place. It was a weird and wonderful experience, full of surprises and intense moments, from the imagined to the real, the individual to the collective, the modern to the historic.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
362
Views on SlideShare
362
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
1
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    Identica Insight 08 Venice Biennale Identica Insight 08 Venice Biennale Presentation Transcript

    • IDENTICA INSIGHT Guest Edition Issue 8 THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Sam Stone, Creative Director
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 VENICE BIENNALE The Venice Biennale is a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years in Venice, Italy. The Biennale happens across the city but its two main sites are at the Giardini and the old shipyard at Arsenale. This year’s Biennale brings together over one hundred and fifty artists from more than eighty countries, with each country staging competing exhibitions in their national pavilions. The worlds of art and design so often overlap that this year, instead of going to my usual design haunts, I decided to visit the Venice Biennale to see the work of some of the worlds leading and upcoming artists. Blurring the line between professional artists and amateurs, the exhibition aims to bring the many infinite worlds of contemporary art to life in a single place. It was a weird and wonderful experience, full of surprises and intense moments, from the imagined to the real, the individual to the collective, the modern to the historic. 02 150 Contemporary artists 80 Participating countries
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 VENICE BIENNALE For me personally I was just as interested in the artist’s back-stories as I was the work itself, with many artists dedicating their life to the pursuit of one ideal. This passion and spirit to capture and focus on a single ambition seems all the more relevant in a world where a constant flood of information and technology is available to distract us. The centrepiece of the Biennale is an exhibition called the The Encyclopedic Palace curated this year by a young director from the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York called Massimiliano Gioni. On November 16th, 1955, self taught Italian- American artist Marino Auriti filed a design with the U.S Patent office depicting his Encyclopedic Palace, an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldy knowledge. Unfortunately for Auriti his dream of such a place never came to fruition but Gioni used this theme as a way of constructing an exhibition that brings together many examples of artwork and creative expressions generated to visualise our obsessive attempts at capturing and collecting knowledge in order to try and make sense of the world and our role within it. 03 1 1. Auriti standing next to his model built in wood and plastic and cellulose of the Encyclopedic Palace, the museum that he patented in 1955. Once built it would have occupied 16 blocks in Washington DC with its 700 metres in height and 136 floors containing all past, present and future knowledge.
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 COLLECTIONS 04 1. American artist Sarah Sze takes everyday objects and turns them into finely balanced complex installations. 2. Fischli and Weiss collection of over two hundred clay sculptures which represent the world through events, objects and phrases. Appropriately enough then the exhibition seems to contain many artworks devoted to the idea of collections, consisting of made objects, found objects and captured experiences to reveal the artist’s understanding of the world, both past and present. I was particularly in awe of the work of Sarah Sve in the national pavilion of the United States. Sve’s installation was a collection of normal everyday objects like paint cans, toothpicks, paper, light bulbs and rocks that she has constructed into complex installations that all seem to balance precariously like fragile architectural eco systems, challenging us to consider what objects in our life have value. Elsewhere, in their first large-scale collaboration, Fischli and Weiss display a collection of over 200 small clay sculptures on white plinths that aim to celebrate our idiosyncratic world through a series of playfully depicted events, objects, phrases and stories that provide a thought-provoking survey of our times. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 COLLECTIONS 05 1. A symmetrical pattern of Mickey Mouse rubber toys collected over two decades as a monument to a generation that disappeared in the civil war in Serbia. 2. Having experienced the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, a disaster on an unprecedented scale, Koki Tanaka’s films and videos capture collective acts of the event. Many of the collective displays struck very strong emotional chords, such as in the national pavilion of Serbia, where artist Vladimir Peric has created a three dimensional geometric wallpaper covering one full wall of the pavilion with hundreds of vintage Mickey Mouse rubber toys he has collected at flea markets over the course of two decades. I found this wall installation initially quite lively and uplifting but on reading further soon found out that a whole generation of children who played with these toys disappeared in the civil war. The display then took on a rather chilling dimension with the multiple rows of the toys bringing to mind rows of tombstones at war graves. In the Japanese pavilion exhibiting artist Koki Tanaka’s work was equally unsettling. Tanaka has visualised through films and videos what he calls ‘collective acts’ that capture the multiple emotions exhibited by people after the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. These images show groups of people talking about themselves whilst eating emergency rations, walking in large groups through the streets at night with flashlights and going down a fire escape whilst evacuating a building. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 SELF 06 1. Matt Mullican transcribes his thoughts on paper and bed sheets whilst in a hypnotic trance. 2. Robert Cuoghi’s multi-layered large scale sculpture produced using a state of the art 3D printer. Another common theme I experienced at the exhibition was the concept of ‘self’ with many artists creating work by initiating experiments with themselves and others to unearth the hidden depths of the human psyche. Take the work from Matt Mullican for example who transcribes his subconscious thoughts on paper and bed sheets whilst in a hypnotic trance to create a fantastic labyrinth of signs, symbols and words. These spontaneous diagrams and writings appear to offer free access to Mullican’s mind with one left feeling weirdly acquainted with the artist long after viewing his work. Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi took the concept of self to extreme ends with the idea of human metamorphosis. Cuoghi transformed himself into his father, piling on pounds of weight onto his slight frame, growing a beard, wearing his father’s clothes and adopting his mannerisms in a process that took seven years to complete. This constant transformation and change of hybrid forms and identity is a recurrent theme in his work with his submission for the biennale being a large scale sculpture with multiple layers of micro organisms, rather impressively produced using a state of the art 3D printer. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 SELF 07 1/2. In 1997, with knowledge of his impending death, Roth started to videotape nearly every aspect of his life. Each of the 131 screens shows a different video, in which Roth is the sole protagonist. Turning his own life into art, Dieter Roth entered a video installation wall consisting of 131 monitors that capture his obsession with recording the fluctuations of his everyday life in what were to be his last years. In a rather intriguing twist on the idea of a self portrait, the films show a solitary Roth in his apartment going about his business, eating, washing, reading and drawing while he gets progressively more fragile and ill. The frenetic display becomes a depressingly stark metaphor for the transience of human lives and our sense of self. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 NATURE 08 1/2. The work Forest Square involved cutting down an area (10 m x 10 m) of forest, and sorting out the trees, undergrowth and surface soil. Nature appeared to be firmly on the agenda also this year with many artists using the natural world as their raw material and media. Perhaps this is an ongoing rejection of the man-made in our increasingly mechanised and remote computerised society. Maybe it is a reflection of the power, scale and unpredictability of recent environmental disasters. Either way it seemed to convey a nostalgic longing for a simpler, more basic, rural existence with nature personifying truth and authenticity. On centre stage at the Finnish pavilion was a photographic triptych called Forest Square. Artist Antti Laitinen, whose work is characterised by his relationship to nature, spent months cutting down 10 square metres of forest in Finland. After felling the forest and manually striping the surface of soil, Antti stored the wood, soil, roots and branches in a ‘forest assorting centre’ where he devised many ingenious ways of sorting and separating the forest material into their constituent parts. Soil, moss, wood, needles, leaves and cones were all separated into 400 baskets containing different types of undergrowth. The final composition takes exactly 10 square metres of space, just like the original forest. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 NATURE 09 1. Conceived after extensive excursions in the mountains, Lin Xue’s works explore the structures of plants and animal life. 2. A fallen tree made entirely out of wax that resembles a disfigured human body by Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere. Hong Kong based artist Lin Xue creates infinitely intricate ink works using a sharpened shard of bamboo capturing the complex patterns and energy he believes flows through the natural world. His work explores the structure of plants and animal life with natural scenes and vegetation developing into a web of mystical reproductions, half familiar, half imaginary. Interestingly the bamboo shard that he uses does not retain ink so Lin Xue is forced to draw quickly which adds a further intriguing dimension to his work. And finally on the subject of nature, Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere’s Cripplewood shows the metamorphosis of a fallen tree into a vulnerable and disfigured human body. The tree is enormous, a gnarled and knotted uprooted elm, merging into a mass of trunks and limbs with an almost disturbing resemblance to the muscles, tendons and bones of the human form. It was only on close inspection that I realised that the tree was entirely made out of wax. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 DEDICATION 10 1. Robert Crumb’s graphic novel of all fifty chapters of the book of Genesis took 5 years to complete. 2. In Poledna’s film, the donkey does a few dance steps while singing along to the soundtrack in a forest full of surprises: singing birds and chubby bunnies are the main characters. Beyond the main themes I saw I was taken aback by the sheer passion and dedication that the artists commit to the creation of their work. I am not sure why I found it so surprising, if you truly believe in what you are creating for the world it is only right that you explore every detail and edifice of the concept you are trying to communicate. Perhaps it is because as designers we occupy the commercial side of the art world where deadlines and numbers are increasingly the success criteria and where the luxury of time is something we constantly yearn for. For pure and unadulterated dedication take a look at the work of Robert Crumb. Crumb gained notoriety for creating autobiographical comics with alternative, often bizarre, characters. In 2009, Crumb published his most ambitious work to date, a graphic novel of all fifty chapters of the book of Genesis that took him five years to complete. Or the work of Austrian artist Mathias Poledna who, with the collaboration of film studios in California, created a three minute hand-drawn film, called Imitation of Life, using more than 5,000 drawings and sketches, just like in the glory days of Disney. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 DEDICATION 11 1. Arthur Bispo do Rosário. His complex universe created in a psychiatric hospital near Rio, which today houses his artwork. 2. Emma Kunz creates elaborate geometric drawings in pencil on graph paper guided by a pendulum. For further examples of dedication take a look at the work of Brazilian artist Arthur Bispo do Rosario who produced over eight hundred tapestries in preparation for Judgement Day during five decades of internment in a psychiatric hospital and artist Emma Kunz who produced elaborate geometric drawings guided by a pendulum, sometimes working continuously for more than 24 hours. 1 2
    • THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 Issue 8 IN SUMMARY So I guess if I was going to try and summarise my lasting impression of the Biennale I would say that I left feeling a renewed sense of passion and dedication for creating work I really believe in, even if the circumstances can sometimes feel challenging and the goals out of reach. I found the single- minded pursuit of perfection and depth of narratives within the art works truly inspiring, sometimes overwhelming. So if you ever get a chance to go to the Biennale do not let the opportunity pass you by. I can guarantee you will be astounded by the artistic endeavours of the human race to create objects of lasting value and memory long after the event has finished. 12 1. ‘The body is only a vehicle for the soul’ Haunting sculptures by Pawel Althamer. 2. It rained gold coins at the Russian pavilion, symbolic of our lust and greed. 1 2
    • THANK YOU Issue 8 THE VENICE BIENNALE 2013 TO FIND OUT MORE: Call +44 (0)20 3451 9700, or email Leah Williams leah.williams@identica.com