Last week I attended the press opening for the 56th Venice Biennale international art exhibition. The Biennale is a bi-annual international art and architectural exhibition which alternates between featuring art and architecture each year. The main Biennale Giardini (garden) features several international pavilions showcasing art from various countries, while Venetian palaces turned cultural institutions in and around the city host ancillary curated exhibitions. There’s so much to see – the 4 days I spent wasn’t enough, but here’s some highlights.
Evocative performance artists often appear near the exhibitions.
Immersive spaces using lo-fi materials seemed to trump paintings and photography.
Another favourite video art installation in the US pavilion – several rooms of layered video and projection from Joan Jonas.
They Came to Us Without a Word, 2015
A few commercial brands invested in artist installation works as well. This glittering structure is comprised of over a 1,000 Shiseido make-up compacts.
In addition to the artwork in and around the pavilions, the architecture and site-specific interventions were equally engaging.
Gauging from the Instagram coverage, the immersive suspended key installation featured in the Japanese pavilion was possibly the most popular work in the Biennale.
Angled layers of low-height damaged walls recreates the point of view of a child within an urban landscape.
Occupations/Discoveries site-specific installation in the Brazil pavilion
The most surprising and outstanding work, in my opinion, is Hito Stereyl’s Factory of the Sun in the German Pavillion. A slick Tron-like environment, wherein one sits on lounge chairs watching a game narrative told from the point of view of the programmer – it moves from behind the scenes footage of the motion capture studio ‘slaves’ to faux news clips about the game characters shooting down the Deutsche bank drone… Creating a spectacular, fun and very relevant experience.
The Venice Biennale runs through the end of November. I highly recommend attending.
All photos ©Ela Boyd