Strolling around Venice Biennale 2015: The Highlights

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All the World’s Futures is the title and theme of Venice Biennale 2015 (open until November 22) which aims to investigate the relationship between the current political and social events and artists creations.

Preliminary statement: to visit properly the Biennale you should spend a whole day to see the Arsenale and at least another half day to see the Gardens. This is possible because the ticket allows you to visit the two sites on different days. But we could not. We promised a good friend to accompany him to the Biennale, which he had never seen, and this friend would be leaving for London the next day. What’s more, we could arrive from Padua to the Venice Train Station only at 12. So our visit lasted from 1.30 to 6 and in that lapse of time we managed to visit both the Arsenal and the Gardens.

At the Arsenale we lingered only on the things that seemed more interesting to us. Once at the Gardens, we had only 1 ½ hours to visit everything, so we decided to rely on the advice of a website on the best things to see (www.theguardian.com) plus other 3 or 4 pavilions. I was sorry to skip the others but unfortunately we could not do otherwise.


What I liked (Highlights) of Venice Biennale

  • The giants stamps in the shape of human wooden busts by Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon; Arsenale interior), engraved with inscriptions and slogans related to current events (Make love and not war, Indignados, Children are people too, We are all in exile, Torture, Hope).
  • Russian artist Olga Chernysheva works (Arsenale): I found her works evocative, poetic, melancholy pieces of a world unknown to me (but my friend, of Russian origin, recognized Moscow immediately). Walking around the Arsenal is likely to ignore them because they are not ringing as other works presented, but they touched me much more than many other works on display.
  • Liu Jiakun’s Installation “With the Wind” (China; Arsenale, outside, near the exit). A delicate structure that moves with the wind. You can leave your messages so it invites the viewer to become protagonist.
  • Australia Pavilion (Gardens): Black and bright colours, full of tribal symbols and dreamlike suggestions. Beautiful artefacts created by Aboriginal women, and fair woods collected from the beach, each with a shape similar to some plant or animal.

My favourites

  • The installation “Follow the Line” by Chiharu Shiota (Gardens, Japan Pavilion): Many different keys interconnected by ruby red wires and two wooden boats. I have interpreted this installation as the opportunity (inherent in the world, in travelling) of a true communication between individuals, maybe distant and different but all connected by a common thread, a fil rouge.
  • French Pavilion (Gardens): Cute moving pine trees that interact with the surrounding space and with the visitors and the tempting possibility of lying on squishy mats to relax and get in contact with nature that moves and lives around us. Magnificent.
  • Of course the beauty of Venice along the way to reach the exhibitions.

What I did not like:

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  • The exhibition at the Arsenale does not make sense. You never know where to go, since there are no indications. Therefore you are often forced to return where you started. And you end up getting tired soon or skip entire sections by mistake.
  • Italian Pavilion (Arsenale): Dunno. I was not convinced. Too dispersive with many separate rooms, it was not clear where to go and how to get around, so that I gave up and went out.
  • UK Pavilion (Gardens): Cigarettes stuck where the sun doesn’t shine on cut off dummies and giant yellow sculptures that seem flaccid bodies. Why? Ok, it can be provocative, it can be metaphor of the contemporary society. But to me appeared simply like desire to be talked about.
  • The many works that were little innovative, unoriginal, always the same over and over again.

 

 

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