This is my seventh time to Venice – the last three times were on the occasion of the Biennale. This takes away the urge of doing all the heavy duty tourist activities like riding on the ridiculously overpriced Vaporetti, the water buses, or standing in line forever to see Saint Mark’s or buying tacky glass figurines from Murano.
|View from the Punta della Dogana at the Giudecca island.|
But it doesn’t mean that my days are not busy. Even without constantly losing my way I’d be on the alley (since there is no road) again from dawn till dusk.
Things that did not bore me today
Pavilion of Antigua and Barbuda
(born in 1926 in Antigua, died there in 2009)
Not only is Frank Walter’s art in its raw way quite intriguing, the man himself is fascinating: Being some sort of Antiguan W.E.B. du Bois, he was not only a painter and poet, he was also the first person of color (descending from slaves and slave owners) who managed a sugar plantation. However, he was a very humanist and philosophic personality and is said to be one of the most complex Caribbean artists.
This exhibition, set up as a cabinet of art and curiosities, portraits him in an appreciative and complete way.
|Frank Walter was not only a painter, he was also a poet and writer.|
|Paintings in a raw, very Afro-Caribbean style.|
Republic of San Marino Pavilion
What a name, right? I expected so much; sometimes that’s a big mistake. If I’m not very mistaken, there are 14 artists involved – and I didn’t like one of them; actually I disliked quite a few.
|Fu Yuxiang: Migrant Aliens
I expected friends, instead I was introduced to some extra-terrestrial Adams family.
|At the Ateneo Veneto venue at least the ceiling is gorgeous, painted immaculately by Palma Il Giovane|
I intended to introduce on my blog only those parts of the Biennale that I really liked (and the “Big Points” like the pavilions, the Damian Hirst show, the exhibition at the Prada Foundation (yet to come)), but this was so bad that i felt like including it as a counterpoint.
Pavilion of Grenada
|Milton Williams: Sustenance (front)
Asher Mains: Sea Lungs (back)
And then there is an exhibit that’s somehow connected to the one at the next venue, the Punta della Dogana, but see for yourself.
Punta della Dogana
So I went to see the second part of the exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” that I already disliked on Monday – for its gigantomania, for its pointlessness and its tacky performance. Someone said the part at the Punta della Dogana venue was better than the one at Palazzo Grassi; well, it isn’t.
But what I find absolutely wrecking unbelievable is this:
|Damien Hirst: Mermaid (planned since 2007)|
|Damien Hirst: Mermaid under water|
|Jason de Caires Taylor – created the first under water sculpture park off the West Coast of Grenada in 2006|
|Also mermaid-like sculptures|
What a coincidence, right?
I mean, if I paint the sea in my painting blue and you paint the sea in your painting blue, I will not accuse you of copying. But do two people independently have the same or very, very similar idea of creating sculptures and sinking them in the ocean and letting them get covered with algae and corals and shells….
I also need to point out that Jason de Caires Taylor started his art project to raise awareness for the fact that we have already lost 40 per cent of the coral reefs and this is going on. So his approach is an ecological one.
Abbazia di San Gregorio
(born 1958 in Antwerp)
|This sculptural installation gives a hint where the expression ‘boner’ might come from.|
The exhibition at this former abbey is quite mixed – if I see another skull, I scream! Not because they scare me, no, they bore me. No! More! Skulls!
|Skulls are only ok on Zurbaran’s friars.|
But there are other pieces that are fine, I particularly like the pigeons he seated – including their faeces – along the sill around the patio.
|When doves…well, not cry.|
|That’s the extra treat in Venice: Even if the exhibition doesn’t blow you away, the venue and the views do for sure!|
(born 1974 in Haifa, lives and works in London)
(born 1976 in Istanbul)
These two ladies put an ingenious, powerful, and even fun exhibition together, that’s not to be missed. Definitely one of the best shows at this moment in Venice!
|In a pitch dark kitchen women scream in pots and bowls – the only lights around.|
|Self-portrait of the two fantastic artists. You go, girls!|
759 artists from Eastern and Western Canada
It’s nice that Luciano Benneton is carrying his company’s motto ‘United Colors’ also into the art world and supports the artistic image of the world. The current exhibition at the Palazzo Loredan brings together very different artists – some already established, some on the verge of becoming famous – including Inuit and Indigenous.
|One rule the artist have to stick to: Space is limited to 10 x 12 cm|
Chiesa di San Samuele
(born 1953 in South Africa, lives and works in Toronto/Canada)
The sinister atmosphere of this small, dark church underlines the powerful pain in Evan Penny’s hyper realistic sculptures. A hidden gem – right next to the Palazzo Grassi where the big art outlet is taking place.
|Very compelling exhibition (The artist’s self-portrait on the right)|
Chiesa di San Gallo
(born 1959 in London)
Another creator of somber paintings exhibited in another murky chapel so that his painted flames actually seem to lighten the room.
|Paul Benney Speaking in Tongues
The chiaroscuro gives the image a very baroque appearance.
Actually, there’s an exhibition on design at this Palazzo, but on that occasion there’s a small, but absolutely worth seeing special exhibit from a collective of Turkish designers on the topic of migration – very suitable: Turkey as one of the countries being mostly frequented by immigrants from the Middle East, presenting their sculptures in Italy, being one of the countries mostly frequented by immigrants from Africa.
|Neslihan Ișik: New Norms?
Not only the motives, also that they are painted on a vessel that deems Greek or Roman – countries that are the first to receive the major part of migrants coming to Europe.
|Argun Dağçinar A Life Vest?
I guess this gilded life vest does not need any explanation referring to migration.
So you see it was a great day. At noon I only had some pizza to go, but in the early evening I sure did enjoy a nice glass of Spritz and a light snack. Life is good – Viva Venezia Viva!
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