Review of Venice Art Biennale 2009, Italy

The 53th International Art Exhibition, opened to the public from June 7 to November 22, 2009. The main exhibition of the 53rd Venice Biennale is entitled “Making Worlds”. This biennale includes works by 90 artists and 77 national pavilions participating, including first-time participations of Montenegro, Principality of Monaco, Republic of Gabon, Union of Comoros, and United Arab Emirates.

This edition of biennale covers the International Art Exhibition in the Central Pavilion at Giardini and Arsenale. This year the disparate Biennale venues also be better linked together by a new bridge – between the Giardino delle Vergini and the Sestriere di Castello, giving the whole area of the Giardini-Arsenale a sense of unity.

The main exhibition of the 53rd Venice Biennale is entitled “Making Worlds”. The biennale emphasizes the creative process where a work of art presents the artist’s vision of the world, “Making Worlds” is an exhibition driven by the aspiration to explore worlds around us as well as worlds ahead. It is about possible new beginnings. “Making Worlds.” with no overall narrative thrust, but a series of curatorly micro, narratives eddying through the installation, formal and conceptual rhymes, and such, giving it some amusing texture, guiding you on.

A work of art represents a vision of the world and if taken seriously it can be seen as a way of making a world. The strength of the vision is not dependent on the kind or complexity of the tools brought into play. Hence all forms of artistic expression are present: installation art, video and film, sculpture, performance, painting and drawing, and a live parade. Taking ‘worldmaking’ as a starting point, also allows the exhibition to highlight the fundamental importance of certain key artists for the creativity of successive generations, just as much as exploring new spaces for art to unfold outside the institutional context and beyond the expectations of the art market.

There are artists who inspire entire generations and these key artists are not always the most visible in the world of museums and fairs. The exhibition explore strings of inspiration that involve several generations and to display the roots as well as the branches that grow into a future not yet defined. The geography of the art world has been expanding rapidly with new centers emerging: China, India, the Middle East… The exhibition create a show articulated into individual zones of intensity, remains one exhibition.

The concept of the 53rd International Art Exhibition, include three aspects in particular: The proximity to the processes of production, which “result in an exhibition that remains closer to the sites of creation and education (the studio, the workshop) than the traditional museum show, which tends to highlight only the finished work itself. The relationship between some key artists and successive generations: A number of historical reference points anchor the exhibition… An exploration of drawing and painting, with respect to recent developments and the presence in the latest editions of the Biennale of many videos and installations.

The show does not try to illustrate a philosophy of art, but admit that the Venice Biennale is exactly what it is: a smart set of summer entertainment. On the conventions of art-world entertainment, a kind of compare and contrast presentational strategy that moves you from one space to the next. The exhibition alternates between established names and exciting new blood; unconventional things by familiar artists, and familiar things by unconventional artists…

National Pavilions

Pavilion of Argentina
The two mural paintings facing each other that make up this exhibition, from their own materiality, complex and fragmentary, expansive and detailed, transform these tensions in their subject. As a part of it and producing an interdependence between time and space coordinates; between the work and its context. The painting is here a black box that transforms and contains that context. In both works there’s an organization that manages to multiply and politicize the senses by means of the visual. In this time of global puzzlements, Noé’s work provides a lucid glance and the challenges of a great artist. The crisis and tensions of the world and of Argentine history are a permanent and constitutive subject in Noé’s work. Hence, as well, the way that the artist chooses to title his works, with ironic sentences regarding the present paradoxes.

Noé’s murals, where a multitude of images coexist in different cores of attention, through different manners of painting and a set of variations (from miniature to gestures, from detailed to symphonic), imply the critical acceptance of chaos as a creative and coexistential principle. His works are pure tension of the senses and a way of transforming knowledge in painting and painting in a way of knowing the world. Noé’s two murals, devouring and inclusive –revealing the energy of one of the most expansive and vitally young artists of present Argentina–, work like nets that summon, catch, show, build, propose, discuss the state of the world.

Pavilion of Australia
“MADDESTMAXIMVS” by Shaun Gladwell, a compelling suite of five thematically interrelated videos with sculptural and photographic elements, influenced by outback Australian landscapes and the iconic Mad Max movies. The project brings together the artist’s trademark slowed-footage video installations of figures undertaking acts of physical virtuosity, with sculptural works and interventions into the fabric of the Pavilion itself. The conceptual rigor and visual formalism of Gladwell’s video works has ensured that they never function as simple glorifications of urban street practices such as skating or subsequently BMX riding, break-dancing, capoeira, taekwondo and the like. MADDESTMAXIMVS marks a shift from Gladwell’s earlier focus upon urban environments and engages instead in a performative, personal exploration of the boundaries and possibilities of a human relationship to the Australian hinterland.

MADDESTMAXIMVS also looks at differing experiences of time and being, in particular through the relationship of the human body to its immediate environment. Key elements that have developed through Gladwell’s subsequent practice were already apparent in his early video works. Most crucially, the works pictured (or took the viewpoint of) figures performing in outdoor, public spaces, on one hand disrupting the social and architectural functions and conventions of those spaces, on the other physically articulating their own experiences of place. His experiments utilised slow motion and ambient soundscapes to slow time and concentrate the visual detail of bodies in movement, and to reveal the subtle nuances and essential qualities of his performers’ activities. This continues to result in poetic, hypnotic and meditative representations that open the activities themselves to a wide range of readings.

Pavilion of Brazil
The Brazil Pavilion presented live and work in Brazil’s North/ Northeast zone just below the Equator. In these places the equatorial sun relentlessly beats straight down, at times almost blindingly bright, unlike the idyllic and softened light of the tropics often identified with Brazil’s imagery. It is, therefore, another Brazil – another light, temperature, landscape, taste, smell, sound, and gaze – that is developed in their production. Introduce these places is not a priority in the practice, artists and photographers strive to affirm the place where they speak from, and to explore the possibilities of expressing and revealing other worlds, other perspectives.

Pavilion of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan)
“Making Interstices” proposes to recognize the intricate distinctions and options of art making in the global world. Making Interstices indicates the way artists work, operate and produce in Central Asian countries throughout the political and economic turbulences of the last thirty years. The condition of non-communication in these interstices serves as an escape from the dominant forms of political and economic power. It appears that the contemporary art productions and their creators have no significant location and position in the political, economic, official and social priorities in the above mentioned territories. In this ambiguity of existing and non-existing, these art scenes resemble interstices of noncommunication. However, they evidently breed alternative spaces in these societies. The current emergence of individual attempts to communicate with prospective international partners and group initiatives is a phenomenon that can implant a new dialogue between the society and the state.

The artists operate to create prolific nucleus of free thought and expression, suggest inconspicuous or minute verbal or visual models of resistance and a silently influence the younger generations. Making Interstices proposes to recognize the intricate distinctions and options of art making in the multiplicity of the global world. If Making Worlds presents the broadspectrum and process of today’s art, Making Interstices indicates the way artists work, operate and produce in Central Asian countries – and many other countries that have similar tensions between the recent past and the present, i.e. throughout the political and economic turbulences of the last thirty years. Violent complications of rapid ideological and governmental transformations aggravated the artists’ ability to discover, to employ and to exploit the little gaps (interstices) between the conventional and most of the time oppressive macro politics and economy. Making Interstices is a strategy that allows the artist to configure his/her thoughts, desires and humour freely into a tactical, experimental and exploratory intervention through art…

Pavilion of Chile
Iván Navarro present a group of works in a socio-political perspective. The artist known on the international stage thanks to a number of personal shows. He produces complex light sculptures, developing the concept of energy conversion through objects and specific installations made of objects of daily use, linking them to a precise critique of power. With the theme woven into all his work, the artist formalises his Threshold work in three separate elements/moments. The materials he uses, marked by apparent coldness with extreme emphasis on technical aspects, are totally dependent on electric energy, proposing an underlying metaphor of body fluids and their action in generating life and “animating” objects.

Death Row is composed of thirteen aluminium doors with a neon light inside. This creates an optical hiatus in the space, producing an effect of corridors going through a wall. Resistance is an installation (sculpture connected to a video): it is a bicycle tied to a chair made of fluorescent pipes which are activated as the pedals go round. In the video the same bicycle goes around Times Square in New York, showing the sharp contrast between luminous urban furniture and the lights generated by the cyclist’s muscle power. Bed is a circular sculpture placed on the ground. It gives the impression of a deep hole in which the word “BED” is illuminated to “infinity”. The work poses questions on the possibility of a world beyond the wall, but eliminates the possibility of entering that realm. This element of illusion and the parallelism between the human and electricity, in its industrial and fluorescent expression, are constant features in Navarro’s artistic journey.

Pavilion of China
“Open Wall” by Shan Shan Sheng is a large-scale glass installation, the project re-interpreting a section of the Great Wall by captures an interval of China’s heritage, translating this historic structure as a temporary zone of glass architecture. This installation represents the newfound openness of contemporary China and engages the contemporary moment as a pivotal moment of global exchange. Open Wall is an example of Shan Shan Sheng’s fascination with architecture, material, national memory, and the perception of time. Renowned for her large-scale paintings and suspension sculptures in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing, Sheng’s conceptual art installations activate and transform the reading of traditional Chinese motifs and sites of memory.

Open Wall reconstructs a moment of China’s Great Wall as an assemblage of glass bricks. The glass bricks become a kind of cultural currency, to be distributed and redistributed in the process of installation. Open Wall suggests the possibility of China’s contemporary moment, opening the culture to the global economy and an unprecedented exchange of ideas. Sheng’s Open Wall is an unique iridescent sculpture, indicating a threshold of both transparency and opacity, as a critical symbol of China’s intersection with Western culture. Easily dissembled and reassembled, Sheng’s Open Wall evokes a moment of flux and mutual consumption. Open Wall consists of 2,200 glass bricks, corresponding to the 2,200 years of the Great Wall’s construction. Sheng reimagines the Great Wall as a temporary pavilion of stacked glass; her installation evokes the exquisite yet transitory flux of globalized time.

Pavilion of Comoros Islands
Paolo W. Tamburella has fixed and restored one of the twenty eight boats forsaken at the port, with the help of workers from Moroni. The Djahazi boat has been for centuries the only means of transportation for Comorians, a way to communicate with the nearby countries and to create new commercial relations. In 2006, following the modernization of the port, the use of the Djahazi was prohibited, thus interrupting a longstanding tradition of Comorian dockers on the islands and placing the Comoros in a new chapter of global economy. This vessel, which was loaded with a regular shipping container used in most of today’s trade, stand as a metaphor for an ambivalent globality, bringing together hope and despair emergence and emergency, in a sort of cautionary tale about the new forms of the expendable in a world of uncertainty and transition.

Pavilion of Denmark
“The Collectors” by Elmgreen & Dragset, transform the Danish and Nordic Pavilions into domestic environments where the audience is invited as guests. Dining rooms, bedrooms, furniture, fireplaces, a stained glass skylight and the artworks nestled within the households, reveal the uncanny stories of fictional inhabitants, with their obsessive characters and diverse lifestyles. The project aim to create a feeling of intimacy with their staged exhibition, in close collaboration with the participating artists and designers, to circumvent the usual competitive aspects of the larger art event. The selected artworks, alongside the interior design, kitchenware, clothing and even a collection of flies, compose the complex narratives of this double exhibition. Through the house d&eaute;cor and the collection of artworks, the garments in the wardrobes, the porcelain in the kitchen and the books in the library, the identities of the fictional inhabitants, their passions and melancholy, emerge piece by piece.

The public was guided on a tour by a real estate agent through a “For Sale” Danish Pavilion, and was told the story of the family dramas that used to haunt this house. The neighboring Nordic Pavilion has been turned into a flamboyant bachelor’s pad. Here the audience experience not only the collection of contemporary artworks and design from the mysterious Mr. B., but also his collection of ex-lovers’ used swimwear. As the title ‘The Collectors’ indicates, the exhibition approach the topic of collecting, and the psychology behind the practice of expressing oneself through physical objects. By approach the topic of collecting, and the psychology behind the practice of expressing oneself through physical objects. The project asked the question like Why do we gather items and surround ourselves with them in our everyday lives? Which mechanisms of desire trigger our selection?

Pavilion of France
This year Claude Lévêque is the artist who represent France at the 53rd International Exhibition of Art – La Biennale di Venezia. At the French Pavilion, he feature an installation entitled “Le Grand Soir”, which was in character with the thrust of his work. A uniquely French concept from the eve of the Revolution, “Le Grand Soir” evokes the moment when the world changed.

The French pavilion looks like a catafalque. Behind the peristyle stands a black wall, blind, mute, unwelcoming.The concave facade is also painted black. Movement got limited, feelings got restrained. Light is intense, the pearly walls chill and diffract it. it’s the half-light, the darkness where reflections shimmer. In the end, a shivering black flags in the distance raise the image of a radical hope, or despair of destruction.

Pavilion of Germany
“Kitchen” by Liam Gillick, changed the German pavilion into a stringent, bare kitchen, a possible reference to the iconic Frankfurter Kitchen. The pavilion has not been changed or masked. the interior and exterior of the building is left in basic form so that it can be seen and examined. Recently painted white as general maintenance to the building, Gillick has left the walls this way to create a starck backdrop to his installation. Every room of the building is left open. no part of the pavilion has been closed off or used for storage. A kitchen-like structure which has been constructed from simple pine wood. It lacks appliances, but the ‘kitchen’ exists as a diagram of aspiration, function and an echo of applied modernism that resonates in opposition to the corrupted grandeur of the pavilion.

Gillick likens the kitchen to something between Ikea and something much more modern, a kind of alternative modernity. It is not about grand symbolism, it is not about over-reaching ideology. It is that other modernism, the one that leads to the contemporary kitchen in a way. As the final touch, gillick and his studio team in berlin, created an animatronic cat as the kitchen’s occupant that sits on top of one of the cabinets. The cat fights against the echo of the building and tells us a circular story that never ends. The cat is in the kitchen, the children are in the kitchen: ‘I don’t like it,’ the boy say. ‘I don’t like it,’ the girl say. ‘I don’t like you,’ the cat think. The project forced vistor to consider the question who speaks to whom and with what authority?

Pavilion of Japan
“Windswept Women: The Old Girls’ Troupe” by Miwa Yanagi, transfrom Japan Pavilion as a free standing or temporary structure, by cover its exterior with a black. The project looks like the fluidity and mobility of the tent temporary playhouse. Inside, Yanagi install giant 4m high photograph stands containing portraits of women of varied ages. A new video work and series of small photographs also be shown. Upon entering, viewers feel disoriented, losing their sense of scale and perspective as they walk among oversized works. The motif of this installation is a troupe comprised exclusively of women traveling with their mobile house, on the top of their caravan.

The photographs showcase of gigantic women Yanagi has created for Venice symbolize resolution. They stand unmoved despite being surrounded by turbulent wind. No matter happens, they keep their feet planted firmly on the ground. Presented in ornately designed decorative frames, these women seem surreal but also embody an element of nostalgia. Although the images themselves have a macabre quality, they encourage us to embrace vitality.

Pavilion of Korea
“Condensation” by Haegue Yang, explores private or hidden spaces that might be considered nebensächlich (marginal or insignificant), but to the artist constitute profound backdrops for understanding: the vulnerable sites where informal development can occur. These functional decorations for the home defy rigid concepts of design or periodization to emphasize the nonaesthetics of the private sphere, where the self is cared for and contemplated, and can be shared in a different way.

Using the metaphor of condensation, yang seeks direct communication with unknown people through a seemingly intangible path of exchange, one that imparts nonfunctional yet ontologically significant information. Consisting of a labyrinthine system of stacked venetian blinds flooded with natural light, a series of vulnerable arrangements—voice and wind, evokes shadows of places and experiences not physically present. here yang uses commercially manufactured venetian blinds in indescribable, uncategorizable colors and patterns that exist at the edge of taste. While her viewers remain nameless and faceless to one another and to the artist, Yang’s “condensational communication,” which takes place ceaselessly at unpredictable times and in unpredictable places, offers a possibility for shared recognition. By activating subjectivity and resisting formal definitions of efficiency, Yang nurtures a ghostly yet real understanding that inspire blind, thorough acceptance of others.

Pavilion of Latin America
“Fare Mondi/Making Worlds”, a unique exhibition intertwining different themes in an organic unity, where the artworks interact and dialogue among themselves and the space itself. In Olimpo Fernando Falconí (Ecuador) explores the image of the Chimborazo volcano, a geographic and historic Latin American landmark. A video portrays the melting of the volcano´s snow cap. The New World Gods are represented by Darío Escobar (Guatemala) in his Kukulcan Installation. Dominated by the tail of a red Quetzalcoatl, the mythical feathered serpent made out bicycle tires, which follows the artist´s longtime research project related to the re-contextualization of the object as a piece of art. Luis Roldán (Colombia) who evokes a lyrical and existential dimension of urban life in his work that is made out of little fragments. Carlos Garaicoa (Cuba), who plays with architectural renderings as if he was the biographer of a place made out of wax, light, bricks and paper.

A strange world populated by rare specimens and diverse ethnic Mutants is how Raquel Paiewonsky (Dominican Republic) fuses elements of urban life, stereotypes of all kind, nature, spirituality and instinct. Federico Herrero (Costa Rica) who, in a mélange of gesture and color, paints places where, according to his sentiment, color is essential. Color and patterns that evoke Latin America´s cultural syncretism are also key in the Inca and Aymara textile installation assembled by Gastón Ugalde (Bolivia), creating a spectacular setting of design and texture. A new vision of space is brought to our attention in the tromp l´oeil effect created by photographer Nils Nova (El Salvador), dissolving the limits between reality and fiction.

Pavilion of Lithuania
Žilvinas Kempinas showcase his work, by employs videotape as a sculptural material rather than visual data carrier. In his installations invisible forces of gravity and air circulation animate architectural space reshaping it into a totally new environment. His latest work, a large-scale installation TUBE was created in Atelier Calder (Saché, France) and was set up for the Lithuanian pavilion in Venice to resonate with the environment of the city. TUBE addresses physical and the optical experience of the viewer, passage of time, perception of the body and architecture. Kempinas has been using magnetic tape to construct monumental yet fragile spaces of experience. Playful gestures and geometric clarity are equally important. His artistic practice is based on recycling the principles of minimal, abstract, op art and kinetic art in the post-medium condition.

Pavilion of Mexico
“¿De qué otra cosa podríamos hablar? (What Else Could We Talk About?)” by Teresa Margolle, presented at the Mexican Pavilion are a subtle chronicle of the effects of a devilish international economy: the vicious circle of prohibition, addiction, accumulation, poverty, hatred and repression that transmogrifies the transgresive pleasures and puritan obsessions of the North into the South as Hell. Due to the recent upsurge of violence in Mexico, Teresa Margolles’s work, that for almost two decades has concentrated in the exploration of the artistic possibilities of human remains, has put an increasing emphasis in the meditation on violent death and its victims.

¿De qué otra cosa podríamos hablar? was a narrative based on tactics of contamination and material actions, which seek to emotional and intellectually involve the visitors in the issues surrounding the way violence and the current global economy involve the effective declaration of whole generations of individuals as a virtually disposable social class, trapped in between the perverse logic of criminality, capitalism and prohibition. Teresa Margolles involves of a single and continuous intervention, with different actions and works along the pavillion. Her exploration of death as a subject, has been related to a ever deepening research on issues of economic and political unequalities, social exploitation, the process of historical mourning and the way extended violence defines the cultural and philosophical landscape of today.

Pavilion of New Zealand
“The Collision” by Judy Millar, an installation of large scale painted canvases that poke through floors and ceilings, reach out into the space beyond the proper confinements of the building, fold in and out and deliberately discard conventional modes of display and exhibition design. The project challenge the traditional relationship between the object of art and the exhibition space. Artist Judy Millar is considered one of New Zealand’s foremost painters. Central themes in the artist’s large scale paintings include the relationships between canvas and paint, static and movement and the place of painting in art history.

Pavilion of Poland
“Guests” by Krzysztof Wodiczko, fouse on immigrants, people who, not being ‘at home’, remain ‘eternal guests’. ‘Strangers’, ‘others’ are key notions in Wodiczko’s artistic practice, be it in the projections, the Vehicles, or the technologically advanced Instruments that enable those who, deprived of rights, remain mute, invisible and nameless to communicate, gain a voice, make a presence in public space. The project, dealing with the multicultural problematique of alterity, concerns one of the most burning issues of the contemporary world, globally as well as in the EU, where a discourse of acceptance and legalisation is accompanied by often restrictive immigration policies.

The Polish Pavilion transforms into a place where the viewers watch scenes taking place seemingly outside, behind an illusion of windows, their projection on the pavilion’s windowless walls. The individual projections, the images of windows projected onto the pavilion’s architecture, open its interior to virtual, but at the same time real, scenes showing immigrants washing windows, taking a rest, talking, waiting for work, exchanging remarks about their tough existential situation, unemployment, problems getting their stay legalised. An inability experience to overcome the gap separating them. Remind visitors whom are ‘guests’ here too, of which they are reminded by the images of immigrants trying, from time to time, to peek inside.

Pavilion of Russia
“Victory Over the Future” present new work by artists exploring the tension between Russian avant-garde traditions and their personal narratives. Rain Theorem, a series of murals, depicts boisterous football (soccer) fans at a match. In one scene, they scream with the joy of victory and, in the next, they react with fury in defeat. Irina Korina’s work explores uncertainty and liminal states of being. The sculpture is built out of old plastic tablecloths that juxtapose sinuous and rigid shapes. Held erect like a plant through hydrostatic pressure, Fountain challenges the perception of fluidity. Andrei Molodkin’s multimedia installation, Le Rouge et le Noir, presents two hollow, glass reproductions of the Nike of Samothrace. One is filled with pulsing oil, the other with pulsing “blood.”

Gosha Ostretsov presents an installation composed of a series of abandoned rooms. Through the production of an oeuvre that outlives its creator, artistic activity by its very nature represents a victory over the future. Pavel Pepperstein known for his absurdist scenes of the future. Landscapes of the Future is a series of paintings in which Suprematist motifs push through the nebulous borders of future megalopolises. Sergei Shekhovtsov’s installation CARTOUCHE tackle the meaning and symbolism of architectural ornamentation. He use foam rubber, a quintessentially modern material, to create a ATM machines, security cameras, and air conditioners. Anatoly Shuravlev’s Black Holes is an installation that explores the complexities of historical memory. With scale, structure and texture, Zhuravlyov creates a striking installation that questions how the future is revealed through the past.

Pavilion of Singapore
“Life of Imitation” by Ming Wong, stages the co-existence of multiple worlds where language, gender, appearance and traditions constantly negotiate with one another. In playful and imperfect acts of mimesis and melodrama, this exhibition attempts to hold the mirror up to the Singaporean condition related to roots, hybridity and change. Wong explores the performative veneers of language and identity through his own re-interpretations of “world cinema” – he has created a series of multi-channel video installations inspired by classic cinematic moments from Hollywood, Europe, China andSouth East Asia.

The pavilion also presents us with the localization of Western culture in Singapore’s milieu. The mood is further enhanced by billboards painted by Wong and Singapore’s last surviving billboard painter Neo Chon Teck, and movie memorabilia such as photographs of old cinemas in Singapore, paintings, drawings and transcripts, depicting the creation process of Wong’s video installations and the entire exhibition itself. The project situates the complexities of memory and nostalgia as displaced subjects and argues how mobilities shape the reconstruction of meanings through the affordances of space and identity in contemporary Asian expressions of art. It contextualizes identity discourses and explores the connections between the re-imagination of a past, the remaking of memory and the deconstruction of national discourses.

Pavilion of Span
Entitle “Miquel Barceló”, the spanish pavilion features recent large format paintings alongside other older ones to comprise a survey of miquel barceló’s work since 2000. The exhibition revolves around the artist’s perennial themes, like primates, African landscapes and the foam of ocean waves. Barceló is generally recognised as one of Spain’s most influential living painters. The exhibition also features a series of works by the French artist and writer François Augiéras, whose work renders small format representations of African genre scenes.

Pavilion of Turkey
“Lapses”, demonstrate how the perception of “occurring events” can vary and lead to the differing narrations of history because of lapses in collective memory. The project has been realized through works by two artists: Banu Cennetoglu’s “CATALOG” and Ahmet Ögüt’s “Exploded City”. Both projects reveal the possibility for diverse memory formations or diverse narratives, conceivable through lapses. A lapse in the linear and continuous flow of time implies either a sense of disorientation or a disconnection with our personal surroundings. Only by recognizing (après coup) such a lapse do we realize our ability to restructure memory in the space and time continuum through an uninterrupted flow, with afterimages that recur by narrations and our senses. This is a subjective act. However, in societies dependent on the credibility of everyday media, huge visual archives operate as the collective memory.

Ahmet Ögüt traces buildings that have recently been the site of a crucial event and have turned into ruins, thus triggering associations in our subconscious. “Exploded City” presents a model city by referring to the original architectural features of each building. The work questions the significations and values attributed to these buildings before and after the explosion, while detecting lapses that occur in our memory via media images. It also manifests otherwise concealed lapses by ripping the buildings off their memory. “CATALOG 2009” holds to the fact that photography, extracted from the reality in which it was shot, is not only expected to exist in a new subjective and critical context, but also to become the bearer of expression for this new context. Banu Cennetoglu’s photographs pertain to different geographies whilst simultaneously being open to fictional narratives. The work is presented in the form of a performative “mail order catalog” where hundreds of photographs are classified under subjective categories.

Pavilion of United Arab Emirates
“It’s Not You, It’s Me,” the first exhibition of UAE in Venice Biennale. The project draw attention to its nature and function as a showcase through a combination of scenographic elements and architectural. The Pavilion highlight a “World’s Fair” theme that incorporate various components, include work by the featured artist, Lamya Gargash; a showroom of work by several UAE artists: Ebtisam Abdul-Aziz, Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Huda Saeed Saif, and, Hassan Sharif; Hannah Hurtzig’s Kiosk featuring conversations with key figures in the cultural panorama of the country; a documentation of a Dubai performance by the Jackson Pollock Bar; scenography reminiscent of the World’s Fair tradition, including text panels and architectural models of UAE arts infrastructure.

Pavilion of United Kingdom
The British pavilion present a new film entitled ‘Giardini’ (gardens) by steve mcqueen, his 30-minute film shows us the gardens in winter. a desolate world of bare trees, raindrops, church bells. Giardini is a split screen film that documents the Venetian gardens out of season, as this area is only open to the public for half the year when the Biennale exhibition occurs. By using the medium of film McQueen allows the viewer to experience the empty gardens where stray dogs wander scavenging for food, strangers skulk in the shadows and lovers meet. With its poetic simplicity Giardini revels in the beauty of the unseen and unheard, whilst in turn exposing the spectacle of the Biennale and its fleeting nature.

Pavilion of United States of America
Nauman showcase his new major installations in the United States Pavilion. In both Days and Giorni, the voices that comprise the works can be experienced collectively or in isolation, creating an orchestration of sound that is moving, forceful and unrelenting. As Nauman’s texts both repeat and deftly rearrange the days of the week, they likewise alter and undermine the sequence that normally measures the passage of time. “The presentation of Days and Giorni in the context of the Museum’s ‘Notations’ series, which is exclusively devoted to contemporary art, allow our visitors to draw parallels between these works and those of the Museum’s collection, including other works by Nauman.

Nauman’s gestures have a pretty clear logic, his work spirals into and out: the rambling, repeating internal monologue; the sense of mind and body no longer holding together; the tormenting sense of space. The classic Nauman move, it would seem, is to take hold of a symptom of mental illness, and build a work around it. “Topological Gardens,” bracketing out the more overwrought elements and the aspects that are more openly hostile toward his audience (e.g. no Clown Torture), distilling from the cacophony of Nauman’s work a show that is bittersweet, valedictory. Installed in the two chambers flanking the entrance where you encounter The True Artist, Nauman’s mobile are odd and discomfiting, but also elegant and even charming in a world-weary kind of way.

Pavilion of Uruguay
Three artists represent the Uruguay Pavilion, the exhibition seeks to reflect the significant dimensions of contemporary visual arts in Uruguay. The art works offer a prismatic view of its inherent variety, laying down lines which involve both manual crafting and the employment of technological resources, narratives which are situated on the boundaries between issues of identity and locality, as well as including global aspects. “Promised land” by Raquel Bessio is suggested as a splintered terrain, grey and darkly metallic. The enclosed spaces eat away at certainties and resolutions, a process which the very pieces of her works, as they rust, undergo. In the process, they achieve autonomy and become unmanageable. Juan Burgos expands urban apocalyptic visions which proliferate in daily life. His starting point is a children’s storybook, from which he constructs a delirious collage. Pablo Uribe has produced a false documentary. In so doing, he reflects upon the play between reality and fiction, on representations within representations.

Tags: