The 55th International Art Exhibition, opened to the public from June 1 to November 24, 2013 at the Giardini and at the Arsenale. The Exhibition entitled “Il Palazzo Enciclopedico” (The Encyclopedic Palace) was laid out in the Central Pavilion (Giardini) and in the Arsenale forming a single itinerary, with works spanning over the past century alongside several new commissions.
88 National Participations exhibited in the historical Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the city of Venice. Among these 10 countries participated in the Exhibition for the first time: Angola, Bahamas, Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic ofIvory Coast, Republic of Kosovo, Kuwait, Maldives, Paraguay and Tuvalu.
“The Encyclopedic Palace” have expressed the increasing desire to place artists in a historical perspective or in a context of mutual affinities, by highlighting ties and relations both with the past and with other artists of the present. Attention has increasingly been focused on the intensity of the relationship between the work of art and the viewer who, though shaken by artistic gestures and provocations, ultimately seeks in art the emotion of dialoguing with the work, which ought to cause hermeneutical tension, a desire to go beyond. This is what is expected from art.
The Biennale more than presenting a list of contemporary artists, wishes to reflect on their creative urges and seems to push the question even further: what is the artists’ world? The prospective interest goes so far as to search for relations with different worlds; thus the Exhibition presents works by contemporary artists, but also historical works, different references, and works that do not claim to be works of art but which are nonetheless compose the stimuli that allow us to imagine and dream beyond reality, dream another reality.
The Exhibition draws inspiration from the model of a utopian dream with the U.S. Patent office, the Encyclopedic Palace, an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge. The dream of a universal, all-embracing knowledge crops up throughout the history of art and humanity, to fashion an image of the world that capture its infinite variety and richness. Today, as people grapple with a constant flood of information, such attempts seem even more necessary and even more desperate.
It is a show about obsessions and about the transformative power of the imagination. The exhibition sketches a progression from natural forms to studies of the human body, to the artifice of the digital age, loosely following the typical layout of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century cabinets of curiosities. Through the many examples of artworks and figurative expressions on view, including films, photographs, videos, bestiaries, labyrinths, performances and installations, The Encyclopedic Palace emerges as an elaborate but fragile construction, a mental architecture that is as fantastical as it is delirious.
Blurring the line between professional artists and amateurs, outsiders and insiders, the exhibition takes an anthropological approach to the study of images, focusing in particular on the realms of the imaginary and the functions of the imagination. What room is left for internal images — for dreams, hallucinations and visions — in an era besieged by external ones? And what is the point of creating an image of the world when the world itself has become increasingly like an image? The Encyclopedic Palace is a show that illustrate a condition we all share: we ourselves are media, channeling images, or at times even finding ourselves possessed by images.
The Encyclopedic Palace
Over one hundred and fifty artists from more than thirty-eight countries exhibit contemporary artworks, historical artifacts and found objects. The Encyclopedic Palace is capacious, accommodating the work of the highly trained and the self-taught, the academic and the hard-to-categorize. Gioni’s exhibition suggests a collection of collections, full of bestiaries and compendious scrapbooks and totalizing worldviews. It is frequently magisterial and provocative, but also frustrating.
For an exhibition of some 160 artists, it is coherent and carefully paced, weaving a number of refrains: Surrealism’s vexed affair with ethnography (André Breton makes several appearances); and the Uncanny.
Highlights of National Pavilions
88 Pavilions, first participation for 10 Countries: Angola, Bahamas, Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Ivory Coast, Republic of Kosovo, Kuwait, the Maldives, Paraguay, Tuvalu, and the Holy See
Pavilion of Argentina
Adrián Villar Rojas’s work derive from a story, which speculates on the present from a hypothetical future, unfolding a political dimension of fantasy. Focused on that end of the world—ours—he suggests that we rethink the place of art creation as a shelter for existence, passion and sensibility. This site-specific installation of monumental sculptures is based on the theories of multiverses, which state that many different universes could coexist; thus, the large clay figures displayed over the whole space of the Artiglierie could be seen as simultaneous apparitions of these alternative worlds in ours, calling the attention to the other paths that humankind could have taken during its evolutionary history.
Adrián Villar Rojas sees his work as an alternative to the traditional Latin American art production, linked to simplicity and ready-made. His work possesses a distinct personal tone. It combines formal experimentation with the construction of a narrative, which allows him to reflect on art, its forms of appearance, and its meanings, as if it were the end of times and the end of the world. He embarks on ambitious and complex projects, which intend to hold a dialogue with the works of his international peers at the same level of potentiality and risk.
Pavilion of Angola
Golden Lion award
The Pavilion of Angola, titled “Luanda, Encyclopedic City”, presents the photographic work of Angolan artist Edson Chagas. Reflecting on the overall theme of this year’s International Art Exhibition, “The Encyclopedic Palace,” Chagas focuses on the complexities of Luanda, the capital city of Angola, presenting a series of photographs, “Found Not Taken”, that capture abandoned objects repositioned in urban contexts chosen by the artist. Luanda, Encyclopedic City is an installation composed of 23 large-format photographic posters open to the interaction with the public, invited to reflect on the theme of the palace Encyclopedic also through the ability to create their own personal encyclopedia urban of Luanda, in a stimulated comparison with the Collection of Ancient Art exhibited in the Galleria of Palazzo Cini. Luanda, which derives from the presence of unpredictable spaces and the coexistence of irreconcilable programs: city and country, infrastructure and habitations, garbage tips and public spaces.
This displacement and repositioning of an object acts as a systematic cataloguing process, which creates new relationships between the object and its context. The photographs, presented in stacks positioned around the rooms of Palazzo Cini in juxtaposition with the classical art and architecture of the building, explore the relationships that are formed between space and images, and the role of imagination and creativity in the urban environment.
Pavilion of Australia
Simryn Gill’s terrain, the intertidal zone, the insecure in-between zone, that shifting place on a beach where the ocean comes in, covering over shells and crabs, sandflies and sprouting mangroves, and bringing with it detritus of man-made goods down maritime trade routes, to then retreat again. Her work proposes a space of negotiation between the small and the global, between nature and industry, as it reveals an understanding of the interconnectedness of all in a world in flux.
Pavilion of Bahamas
A unique multi-sensory environment with video, sound and neon-light work. Designed around the theme Polar Eclipse, the exhibition explores the feelings of displacement and belonging. The project brings together three sites which are are geographically and culturally distinct: the Venice Arsenale, downtown Nassau and the North Pole. By weakening the nationally-defined model of the Biennale’s National Pavilions, Strachan asks viewers to question their own ideas of displacement from and belonging to a certain place.
The main exhibition space within the Bahamian Pavilion present itself as a distinct, comprehensive installation, as well as collection of individual art pieces. It feature a 360-degree video installation, with fourteen monitors playing a documentary of Strachan’s reenactment of the 1909 polar expedition of Peary and Henson, in addition to an audio installation, and three neon light sculptures that focus on the themes of belonging and displacement through a series of statements. Titled Here and Now, the three light sculptures depict the phrases ‘I Belong Here’, ‘You Belong Here’, and ‘We Belong Here’. With this installation, Strachan aims to address the invisible shifts in cultures, physical environments, and recounted histories over space and time, in the wake of globalization and narratives of progress.
Pavilion of Bahrain
Entitle “In A World of Your Own”, the pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain presents the work of Mariam Haji, Waheeda Malullah and Camille Zakharia in a loose curatorial framework, tied together by the subjective exploration of culture and self that lies at the core of their art practices. With an emphasis on the importance of identity, the pavilion examines the expression of interiority and private meanings in these artists.
Pavilion of Belgium
A TREE FALLS: Berlinde De Bruyckere found a tree in France and shipped it to Belgium, where she remade it in wax. It lies in the Belgian pavilion, patched with bandages like a human body and lit delicately by a skylight covered in distressed fabric. De Bruyckere has conceived a new site-specific installation that builds upon her existing oeuvre but derives its potency from connections to the historical context of Venice. Her sculptures explore life and death, death in life, life in death, life before life, death before death, in the most intimate and most disturbing way. They bring illumination, but the illumination is as dark as it is profound.
Pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Garden of Delights, is a highly socially engaged work of art, which seeks to create effects from multiple historical perspectives, and with strong connotations drawing on the socio-political, ethical, economic and cultural context of the Eastern European society. The project ensemble consists of three interconnected smaller ensembles, a marble triptych, a video clip and an installation, and the artist, as its creator, posits himself as an activist whose practice and production impose themeselves as a model in a highly specific way, making possible engagement originating in the local community, i.e. environment.
The idea behind the complete project of The Garden of Delights is that of people’s unbridled desires, of personal truths underneath the collective absurdity of the contemporaneity, as perceived across Bosnia. The project use knowledge of the global world, up-to-the-minute and relevant, filtered through the local context, creates a new, clear artistic insight, which is a significant determinant of the entire ensemble.
Pavilion of Canada
Shary Boyle whom known for her bold use of fantasy fictions to explore human psychological and emotional states, Boyle works in a range of media including performance, sculpture, film and immersive installations and employs a high level of hand-made craft in her practice. She mines art history, popular lore and ancient mythologies to create a unique symbolic language. Boyle’s work is fuelled by concerns about class and gender injustice. Her work embraces hybridity in all its forms, challenging the traditional boundaries between human and animal, life and death, male and female. From sculpture to projection she translates her personal vision of sexuality, relationships and human vulnerability through a poetic and humane lens. Boyle also creates immersive multi-sensory performances and has collaborated with musicians including Peaches, Feist, Christine Fellows and Doug Paisley.
Pavilion of Chile
In the Chile pavilion, every 3 minutes from the water emerges a perfect replica of the giardini with the 28 national pavilions. visitors entering the arsenale space encounter a pool filled with lagoon water and only see the water’s reflections on the walls. Alfredo Jaar focuses directly on the international art exhibition’s unintentional hierarchical and exclusive model; one that has continued to be practiced and unchanged for years as a result of its early issues. “venezia, venezia” shows jaar reproducing the entirety of the giardini venue and the architecture of the site as it stands today, in the form of a 1:60 scale model. in constructing the replica of the pavilions and their surrounding nature, the artist create a utopia, in which we see the archetype being submerged into a pool of murky, green water, and then re-emerging, like a ghost from history.
Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, filmmaker and lecturer, whose expansive commitment to art in diverse cultural, political, and public contexts, has led him to create some of the most profound and thought-provoking works over the past three decades. The project is foremost a critique of the Biennale’s national pavilion model rather than a reflection of the city’s physical sinking under the Venetian lagoon’s green tides. The photograph of Fontana is actually a symbol of hope and renewal, a message not only that the Biennale needs to catch up with the times but also that culture as a whole requires a re-think.
Pavilion of China
The China pavilion explores the theme of ‘transfiguration’, with particular focus on bridging the gap between life and art, the transformation of life to art, of the commonplace to artworks or art performance, of non-art to art. seven chinese artists explore this notion of change through different mediums and subjects–extending from heavenly perspectives.
Besides coinciding with the spirit of “the confluence of the dreams and images of humans”, advocated by the Biennale’s theme “The Encyclopedic Palace”, “transfiguration” also contains geographic, spatial and graphic concepts, such as position, location and diagram position, carrying and symbolising the characteristics of time in its connotation, reflecting the features of the contemporary international community: not only in China, but also in the world’s changes through globalisation. At the same time, “Transfiguration” is intended to offer innovation, initiative and creativity, placing it within the changes due to development, showcasing the cultural and ideological diversities of the contemporary world at an exhibition with other countries across the world. It aims at showing the diversity as well as the divergence and convergence of differing cultures, artistic practices and imagery in times of globalisation and internationalisation of the art world.
Pavilion of Denmark
The Danish pavilion features a multi-channel video installation and architectural intervention by danish artist Jesper Just. Visitors are greeted by a brick wall surrounding the exterior of the building, forcing all to enter through a single door to one side. inside, five film projections of different sizes grace various walls and rooms of the interior, their audio and visuals bleeding into each other to create new narrative experiences. the projections trace the interwoven stories of three men in a single city. The urban center depicted is in reality a suburb of hangzhou, china, that was constructed as a near-exact replica of paris, complete with eiffel tower. Jesper Just showcase this city as if it were the ‘real’ paris, using french actors, while leaving a bit of ambiguity there because of certain cultural stereotypes of the city that exist. it was clear to anyone that proportion and scale are slightly off.
Pavilion of Finland
“Falling Trees”, combines the solo exhibitions of the Finnish artists Terike Haapoja and Antti Laitinen into a garden-like whole, which takes over both the Nordic Pavilion and the Finnish Alvar Aalto Pavilion. The exhibition ‘Falling Trees’ conceptual starting point from an unexpected event at Biennale Arte of 2011, when a large tree fell on the Aalto Pavilion, shattering it and cutting short the exhibition on display at the time. This contingent encounter between art and nature provided the first note to a sinuous curating process and echoes in the ensuing ensemble of the two singular shows. In 2013, Terike Haapoja transform the Nordic Pavilion via comprehensive architectural gestures into a research laboratory.
The exhibitions form a particular garden of knowledge; one where knowledge cannot be plucked directly from the tree, as in botanical gardens or zoos based on classification. In this garden, knowledge means shared, open and concrete participation and recognition of the active agency of nature and its different species. In this place, technology and science find their place as tools for investigating the basic questions of life and art – memory, our relationship with nature, and mortality. The project showcase works consisting of videos and photographs, installations, and performance, where uncompromising conceptuality and absurd humour meet on the stage created by Finnish nature. The artists challenge us to think about our human dimensions from a new perspective, even though they work in very different ways and with different results. Their works reveal the contingency in the foundations of our daily lives, while at the same time enriching the possibilities of our imaginative faculties.
Pavilion of France and Germany
Entitled “Ravel Ravel Unravel”, comprised of two films. each screen is focused on the left hand of a famous pianist: louis lortie and jean-efflam bavouzet. In these films, Anri Sala continues his exploration of space and sound, as well as the silent language of the body. He offers an experience based on difference and sameness, in an ambitious piece of work that further pushes his experimentations in sound spatialisation. The work appeals just as much to the viewer’s intellect as to his body, creating a powerful physical and emotional experience, submerging the viewer in its music.
Occupying the central space of the German Pavilion, the first of two works, entitled Ravel Ravel, consists of two films, each focused on the left hand of a famous pianist: Louis Lortie and JeanEfflam Bavouzet. Both of these performers were invited by Anri Sala to perform Ravel’s Concerto, accompanied by the Orchestre National de France, conducted by Didier Benetti. In the adjacent rooms, two other films are presented under the single title Unravel. Chloé, a DJ, is filmed alone, mixing each of the two interpretations and trying to unite the two versions of the Concerto through her unique interpretation.
Pavilion of Great Britain
Entitle “English Magic”, reflected the roots of much of Jeremy Deller’s work, focusing on British society, its people, icons, myths, folklore and its cultural and political history. Deller frames these instances in a way that is contemporary but also true to the original subject, weaving a narrative that is almost psychedelic; hovering delicately between fact and fiction, real and imagined. Addressing events from the past, present and an imagined future, Deller worked with a varied range of collaborators including archaeologists, musicians, bird sanctuaries, prisoners and painters.
English Magic, a new film work by Jeremy Deller, formed a major part of his exhibition. The film brings together many of the ideas behind the works in the Pavilion, featuring visual and thematic elements that reflect Deller’s interest in the diverse nature of British society and its broad cultural, socio-political and economic history.
Pavilion of Greece
Entitle “History Zero”, comprises a film of three episodes alongside an archive of text and images, explores the role of money in the formation of human relationships. The accompanying selection of archival materials Alternative Currencies An Archive And A Manifesto, provides examples and evidence of alternative non-monetary exchange systems, focusing on the ability of such models to erode or put in question the homogenizing political power of common currency, and the ways in which communities function in relation to the exchange of goods in difficult times.
Pavilion of Iraq
Entitle “Welcome to Iraq”, the project present Iraqi artists living and working in Iraq at an international art platform. The 11 artists who participated in the exhibition were also invited for the opening week of the show, where they drew new ideas from the international art scene as well as the city’s rich heritage. Thanks to this widely acclaimed exhibition, many of the artists were invited to present their work in leading global galleries, fairs and festivals.
The exhibition includes work by cartoonist Abdul Raheem Yassir who uses deadpan humour to address social and political chaos and corruption; Jamal Penjweny, from Sulaymaniyah, who shows a series of photographs entitled Saddam is Here featuring Iraqis in everyday places holding a portrait of the former dictator over their own faces; and Cheeman Ismaeel, one of two female artists selected, who personalises household objects through ornate decoration.
Pavilion of Ireland
“The Enclave” is a multi-channel film installation, showcase Richard Mosse’s work that was produced in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012. The artist makes full use of the spatial structure of the Irish Pavilion. The Enclave was presented on multiple screens installed inside the larger darkened chamber. The screens hang from the rafters, each one touching a column. By placing each screen adjacent to a column to activate the architecture, working with it rather than resisting the columns, which are difficult to work around. The screens can be viewed from both sides, creating a sort of sculptural labyrinth within the space. The viewer must actively participate in the piece spatially, moving through the chamber according to the work’s emphasis on sound and vision.
The Enclave changes styles throughout, shifting gears between the anthropological, the metaphoric, the lyrical, surrealism and the absurd. The piece is about the Real (in the Lacanian sense), and the reel (as in the newsreel). It is quite different to Richard Mosse earlier photographs from Congo simply because motion picture and still photography are such extremely different animals. Motion picture strikes the heart immediately, rather like music, while still photography is more reflective, more endless, yet less proximate. The Enclave is deeply visceral, sometimes terrifying.
Pavilion of Israel
“The Workshop” by Gilad Ratman, is based on a fictional underground journey from Israel to Venice taken by a small community of people. The project documents the journey of a community of people from Israel to Venice, through a nonlinear presentation of video, installation, sound and a physical intervention in the fabric of the Pavilion itself. Their epic voyage starts in the caves of Israel, weaves through treacherous subterranean passages before bursting through the floor of the Israeli pavilion. On arrival, the group turn the pavilion into a workshop, sculpting themselves in clay they have transported from Israel. reflects on the Biennale as a utopian model of nations’ connectivity.
Representing themselves in clay busts, which are accompanied by guttural voice recordings, the group’s workshop event suggests a return to a pre-linguistic stage of early human society. A recurring theme in his work, here Ratman explores the tension between universal patterns of human behaviour on the one hand and the divisions of language, nationality or government on the other. “The Workshop”, the videos and the sound, offer the viewer a reflection of an event that has taken place at that very location. In doing so, the work creates a fictional, yet true, history. Ratman shows a world where transit can take place across national borders in hidden networks: free, undetected and unidentified. Operating in small communities in a utopian, pre-social and even pre-linguistic stage, as the ones recurrent in Ratman’s work is essential.
Pavilion of Italy
The Italian Pavilion present an ideal journey through Italian art of today, an itinerary that tells of identities, history and landscapes – real and imaginary – exploring the complexity and layers that characterize the country’s artistic vicissitudes. A portrait of recent art, read as an atlas of themes and attitudes in dialogue with the historical legacy and current affairs, with both a local and international dimension. A cross-dialogue of correspondences, derivations and differences between acclaimed maestros and artists of later generations. An unusual topography, that permits a reevaluation of some basic trajectories in recent Italian art, a retracing of forgotten paths, the healing of cultural amnesia and gives new visibility to solitary authors. The exhibition is divided into seven spaces, six rooms and a garden, that each house the work of two artists, who are brought together on the basis of the affinity of their respective poetics and common interests in themes, ideas and practices.
Seven binomials around the project: body/history, view/place, sound/silence, perspective/surface, familiar/strange, system/fragment and tragedy/comedy. In a dialogue between artist and artist, room and room, the exhibition presents works that have mostly been created specifically for the occasion – twelve out of fourteen – and is proposed as a platform for reflection on the characteristics and contradictions of Italian culture, returning that vital complexity to our recent art which is created out of intuitions and contradictions in which the game of vice versa is one of its fundamental elements, thus asserting the status of originality and international importance that it deserves.
Pavilion of Japan
Entitle “Abstract Speaking – Sharing Uncertainy and Collective Acts”, by Koki Tanaka examined the tangible and emotional after effects of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. The exhibition present a Japan which is still recovering from the massive earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear accidents of 2011. The work seeks to address the difficulty of perceiving and sharing the problems and pain of others. His installation plan turned the Japan Pavilion into a platform for sharing previous or fictional post-calamity experiences interactively through distinct assignments. Specifically, these assignments placed participants in unusual situations and prompted them to deal with atypical circumstances.
Examples of devised disaster-style exercises included having a group of people descending the emergency staircase of a high-rise building together as quietly as possible; walking around nighttime streets with flashlights in hand; a ‘collective act’ that mimics evacuating a building in complete darkness; and reconstructing a single piece of pottery using the shards of several broken ones. This aimed to depict the collaboration required among conservators in their attempts to rebuild an object, and acts as a metaphor for the challenges in building a new post-quake society. Groups made up of several people were requested to deal with these circumstances together, and their efforts were documented through nine video and photography works. Through these group interactions, Tanaka investigated how we empathize with the experiences of others through our own perspectives. Through video footage, photographic installations and interactive group experiences, Tanaka voiced the sentiments of a recovering and resilient nation.
Pavilion of Kosovo
Petrit Halilaj brings together mementos from collaborators, family members and creates a shelter for them within the Pavilion, evoking both his personal anxieties and the fraught history of his homeland. Petrit Halilaj’s artistic practice is driven by a constant search of what reality is and how reality might be represented through art. His memories of a rural childhood, his personal experience of war, destruction, exodus and displacement are the very basis of his reflections on life and the human condition. His work frames his constant migrations between Kosovo, Berlin and Italy whilst his particular brand of nostalgia is restorative rather than reflective. Open up channels of communication with the public and to overcome the gaps in his link to the world of Runik, his home town, building bridges between different phases of his life.
Petrit Halilaj’s work is particularly personal, and evokes the history and culture of Kosovo through a miscellaneous collection of personal objects. To this end Halilaj uses the idea of nostalgia to great effect in his works. He combines these resonant objects with surreal evocations of the natural world, which in the Kosovo Pavilion finds expression in a shelter made out of twigs and branches, as a foreign body migrated from some subconscious and forgotten era or territory into a vicinity that is nothing less than a renowned icon of the historic western world’s cultural and artistic achievements. The inclusion of two canaries, which at one point lived in the artist’s studio is another gesture of ambiguous symbolism, which is typical of Halilaj’s work.
Pavilion of Lithuania and Cyprus
Entitle “oO”, the project resists national borders in a very assertive way; by co-working, co-producing and co-commissioning an event that may not have been thought possible in uncertain economic climates. oO challenges the viewer to make sense of the display, categorise and suggest new and possible forms of organisation. Spread across the floors of the palazzetto, the show seems to be designed along the lines of a treasure hunt, inviting the visitor to freely walk around the space. In an idiosyncratic style, the artists and curator want you to taste the beginning and the end of the show simultaneously. The exhibition is truly unexpected as it unfolds with improbable locations and artworks: a vacuum cleaner robot wanders around and Suzuki Landie and Honda Chaly motorcycles are stacked against the walls. Black and white images of gymnasts are juxtaposed amongst these installations and integrate themselves perfectly into the space.
Pavilion of New Zealand
ntitle “Front Door Out Back”, the works by Bill Culbert were placed throughout the large building, on floors, walls, ceilings and outdoor areas. The artist lifts these objects out of their ordinary context, by forming a sculptural amalgamation of these pieces with an abundance of fluorescent light tubes, guiding visitors through the courtyards, rooms and hallways of la pietà by flowing around and often physically intersecting his sculptures. as one walks through the site of la pietà they see how each of culvert’s works unfolds, playing off the qualities of the la pietà site. The project is to introduce an energy and simplicity to the setting, igniting the rooms and passage which are usually left uninhabited, transforming them into vibrant living spaces.
The exhibition is an eight part installation which is thematically related to the domestic world, in which we see culvert employing furniture (from chairs, wardrobes, side tables), colourful detergent bottles, in combination with his signature medium, lighting, to create an entirely immersive experience for the viewer. the mundane objects are composed into simple arrangements which further emphasize ideas and notions related to the household–the placement of the plastic vessels covering the floor of the building’s main room, offer a dense carpet of color and light, or the network of chairs and tables cascading downwards all in combination with fluorescent tube lighting, suspended in the venue’s corridor harkening that of a chandelier.
Pavilion of Norway
Entitle “Beware of the Holy Whore: Edvard Munch, Lene Berg and the Dilemma of Emancipation”, the project includes a series of rarely exhibited works by Edvard Munch in addition to a newly commissioned film by Lene Berg, revolves around emancipation as an issue always vexed with contradiction, between the realm of freedom and the consequences of the isolation that often accompany the pursuit of a qualitatively different, ‘alternative’ life. The film that concentrates on three different characters who are interrogated about their roles as either victims or perpetrators in a complex situation. The film explores the interpretation of human behaviour based on preconceived concepts and established norms. Just like the exhibition as a whole, the film presents the deconstruction of an original scene which functions as a catalyst for a revision of the politics of liberation, of gender struggle and of internal conflict: the dilemma of emancipation.
The impulse to operate in the margins, on the outside trying to break in or on the inside redefining the context, is one of the key driving forces in the history of art. The striving toward a ‘new sensibility’ involves a psychedelic, narcotic release from the rationality of an established system, as well as from the logic that attempts to change that system. Such new sensibility, which resides in the gap between the existing order and true liberation, might lead to a radical transformation – and in this shift art functions as a technique through which to reconstruct reality from its illusion, its imitation, its harmony, towards a matter not yet given, still to be realised. The exhibition explore the relationship between art, its social context and changing gender relationships, both in the age of emancipation in which Munch lived and today.
Pavilion of Portugal
The Trafaria Praia is a Lisbon ferryboat, or cacilheiro, which was decommissioned in 2011. Once used to transport passengers back and forth across the Tagus River, the Trafaria Praia was transformed into Vasconcelos’s floating pavilion, which docked near the Giardini in Venice and sailed around the lagoon at regular intervals throughout the Biennale. The exhibition addressing commonalities between Lisbon and Venice, namely their rich seafaring histories, which for centuries helped expand Europe’s worldview.
The large scale assisted readymade consists of multiple layers of artwork and symbolism. First there is the boat itself, which in Lisbon is a symbol of the blue-collar workers who use the ferry travelling across the river for work. The boat also represents Lisbon’s relationship to Venice, “which evolved through trade, diplomacy, and art…examining three fundamental aspects they share: water, navigation, and the vessel.” By creating a floating pavilion, Vasconcelos is deterritorializing territory—metaphorically circumventing the power struggles that so often mark international relations.” The outside of the ship is covered in azulejos, handpainted tiles, that depict the modern skyline of Lisbon. The interior of the ship contains the work Valkyrie Azulejo. The space is covered from ceiling to floor in textiles in varying shades of blue. Large crocheted irregular forms wrapped in led lights intrude upon the space emphasizing the body’s relationship to the space. An overall immersive experience is created and the space has been compared to the bottom of the ocean or the belly of a whale.
Pavilion of Republic of Korea
Entitle “To breath: Bottari”, Seungduk Kim transform the Korean pavilion into a place of transcendental experience. dealing with issues relating to the body, self and others, and the relationship of ‘yin’ and ‘yan’ to life and death. Seungduk Kim has wrapped the entirety of the national pavilion’s interior with a translucent film, dividing the built environment from nature. the skin diffracts the daylight, showering the internal structure with spectrums of light, the intensity of the rainbows of color reflected onto the walls and floor. this metamorphosis is in direct correspondence to the movement of the sun rising and setting across the building, respiring to the natural fluctuations of the sun.
“To breathe: bottari” celebrates the dual existence of sound and soundlessness and the reality of darkness as an extension of light and light as a part of darkness. questioning the hierarchy of visual knowledge over the ‘unseen’, in the breathing bottari opposite poles are treated as part of the same whole. The artist wishes to invite the audiences to contemplate a special moment and sensation of their body experiencing an awareness of the conditions of human knowledge and ignorance and its psychology in space and time. this is the ‘notion of totality’ that she has been pursuing in her practice until now, as a way to question the conditions of civilization in this era.
Pavilion of Russia
The installation by Vadim Zakharov has united the upper and lower storeys of the Russian Pavilion. The theme of the installation turns around the ancient Greek myth of Danaë. In the central hall of the Pavilion a large square hole has been made in the ceiling of the lower exhibition space, and an altar rail with cushions for kneeling has been built on the upper floor, around the hole. Looking down, vistors can grasp and feel that we are present at a unique process of materialization of the myth. Through the huge hole in the floor, vistors fall into another semantic and poetic space, into which golden coins fly from a pyramid ceiling. Below we see women with umbrellas, which protect them from being struck by the coins. The lower hall can only be visited by women. This is not about sexism but merely follows the logic of the anatomical construction of the myth. What is masculine can only fall inside from above, in the form of golden rain. The lower level of the Pavilion is a “cave womb,” keeping tranquility, knowledge, and memory intact.
The Greek myth of the impregnation of Danaë is subjected to numerous readings: a falling shower of gold makes reference to the seduction of Danaë as an allegory for human desire and greed, but also to the corrupting influence of money. Through his artistic staging, Zakharov allows this ancient myth to find a contemporary temporal dimension. Philosophical, sexual, psychological, and cultural fragments become concentrated into a theater-like overall composition throughout the Pavilion rooms. The project has sculptural and pictorial elements and invites active participation by visitors to guarantee the flow of material goods as an ongoing process. In this Performance in Five Acts, Zakharov presents the significance of the embodiment of myths to a society that no longer lends them any credence. The time has come to confess our Rudeness, Lust, Narcissism, Demagoguery, Falsehood, Banality, and Greed, Cynicism, Robbery, Speculation, Wastefulness, Gluttony, Seduction, Envy, and Stupidity.
Pavilion of Serbia
Entitle “Nothing Between Us”, Vladimir Peric and Miloš Tomic find a particular way to present some segments of the collections they have amassed over the years through obsessive accumulation of various used objects. Peric’s installations in the Pavilion form an ensemble that has been very precisely conceived and ordered expressly for the space of the Pavilion. It includes various portions of several of his collections, but mainly consists of the Museum of Childhood. Tomic’s works are instead video diaries of his research on a broad spectrum of spontaneous, unconventional, amateurish, unsophisticated, innocently unpretentious and even naively arrogant attempts to make some kind of music outside the accepted cannons of professional music production. All such documentary recordings of utterly anarchistic content, evoking the traditions of anti-art predating the gaze of the onlooker, are just starting points and authentically raw materials that infuse the project with particular vivacity.
Vladimir Peric reshapes the content into allegorical assemblages that tell stories of the places and settings whence they were gathered, and recount the now lost times when their elements had some practical function in the lives of their former owners. The idea is to question the issue with present times, as well as the position artists assume with their works at the exhibition. These collected objects into minimalist installations, whose elements are ordered according to repetitive schemata, making the individual features of those elements disappear in the play of optical illusions. Miloš Tomic’s work presents underlying formal aspects. Departing from any stable established order, the seemingly out-of-control nature. Tomic constantly shifts the application grounds of professional skills and knowledge, in order to enable various unplanned, unexpected, and even unwanted things to appear, requiring the invention of new work strategies and methods.
Pavilion of Spain
Lara Almarcegui transformed the Spanish Pavilion into an assortment of rubble and other found objects from wastelands as an examination of the process of urban transformation. The project examines the process of urban transformation as a result of economic, political and social change. Focusing upon wastelands, modern ruins within cities, Almercegui attempts to bring attention to these urban spaces that often escape our awareness. In particular, she focuses on studying the often overlooked elements which make up a place–the modern ruins and urban wastelands which comprise them;she uncovers relationships between the sites she excavates and investigates with their past, and evaluates their possible future.
The spanish pavilion is composed of two parts: the installation at the giardini venue, speaks directly to the 1922 building constructed by javier de luque; it is an intervention which occupies its entire interior. one is met by overwhelming, towering mountains of various construction materials, cement rubble, roofing tiles and bricks smashed to gravel, paralleling the type and quantity used by workers to construct the venue, making it virtually impossible for one to enter directly. throughout the other side rooms, smaller, less hefty mounds, are found each divided according to material (sawdust, glass and a blend of iron slag and ashes).
Pavilion of The Holy See
The Vatican Pavilion chosen a theme that is fundamental for culture and for Church tradition. It is also a source of inspiration for many whose works that have left a mark on the history of art: the story told in the Book of Genesis. Specifically, the first eleven chapters have been chosen, as they are dedicated to the mystery of man’s origins, the introduction of evil into history, and our hope and future projects after the devastation symbolically represented by the Flood. Wide-ranging discussions on the multiplicity of the themes offered by this inexhaustible source led to three thematic areas being chosen with which the artists have engaged: Creazione (Creation), De-Creazione (Uncreation), and the New Man or Ri-Creazione (Recreation).
The theme of Creation concentrates on the first part of the biblical narrative, when the creative act is introduced through the Word and the breath of the Holy Spirit, generating a temporal and spatial dimension, and all forms of life including human beings. Uncreation, on the other hand, invites us to focus on the choice of going against God’s original plan through forms of ethical and material destruction, such as original sin and the first murder (Cain and Abel), inviting us to reflect on the “inhumanity of man.” The ensuing violence and disharmony trigger a new start for humanity, which begins with the punitive/purifying event of the Flood. In this biblical story, the concept of the voyage, and the themes of seeking and hope, represented by the figure of Noah and his family and then by Abraham and his progeny, eventually lead to the designation of a New Man and a renewed creation, where a profound internal change gives new meaning and vitality to existence.
Pavilion of Turkey
Ali Kazma’s videos focus on themes of labor and production, he believe the world has moved on at high speed, that the world has become a superhighway of information, that it’s mobile, etc., but Ali Kazma wanted to remind people all that we still live in a world where such work as stamping papers exists. Kazma’s work investigates the mechanical idiosyncrasies of various occupations, from taxidermy to studio ceramics, from candy making to the work of Turkish notaries. Deriving ideas about labor and the meaning of economy from ritualistic, repetitive daily tasks, his works raise questions about social organization and the value of human activity.
Pavilion of United States of America
Entitle “Triple point”, the work of Sarah Sze responds directly to the locations they have been commissioned for, transforming one’s perspective of space and architecture through radical shifts in scale, occupying the often overlooked or peripheral areas of the addressed building with her large-scale interventions. One experiences ‘triple point’ immediately in the courtyard where ‘gleaner’, a teetering structure climbs and descends the exterior, situated to the right of the pavilion’s main entrance. coalescing to form an exterior space which fully reveals itself fully only later on, its position redirects one’s access to the interior to a former exit door to the left of the entry rotunda, where they are met by sze’s makeshift structures, the assemblages appearing unfinished, but notably recalling models, machines and facilities such as a laboratory, planetarium, observatory and pendulum.
A series of interrelated pieces, has extended her exhibition outwards to encompass exterior, approach and exit, engaging with the neoclassical design on another level, challenging its palladian sense of order. the layout of the US pavilion typically invites visitors into a rotunda through a central entrance. However from here, the four galleries are divided (two positioned on either side of the domed foyer), forcing one choose which direction to go in, and then making them back track in order to view the other rooms. Wanting to create a more intuitive experience, Sze has closed off the main access, guiding visitors around to the side of the building to enter from the left orientating them to travel through the structure in a logical way. one meanders through the series of seemingly crude, but calculated installations, made of an assemble of objects which sze has found and collected throughout venice, the artist’s effort to inscribe a very fragile personal order in a disordered universe.
Non profit national and international Institutions, present their exhibitions and initiatives in various locations within the city.
25%: Catalonia at Venice
Cantieri Navali, Organization: Institut Ramon Llull
Eight unemployed individuals are chosen, to represent the widest social spectrum (a Senegalese without papers, a young and highly qualified woman architect, a woman scientific researcher, and a blue collar in his fifties..) all of them to be photographed by Francesc Torres during a period of cohabitation with the artist who document their daily lives. In addition to the visual documents on their everyday life, Torres makes an official portrait of each of them. After this first phase where the routine activities and the economic situations of all characters has been documented, the filmmaker Mercedes Álvarez makes shootings where every character expresses his/her opinions on the role of art in their lives. So, the eight unemployed people become active subjects of the exhibition.
A Remote Whisper – PEDRO CABRITA REIS
Palazzo Falier, Organization: Direção-Geral das Artes
Pedro Cabrita Reis, one of the leading Portuguese artists of his generation, shows an in-situ intervention titled A Remote Whisper which covers the entire 700 sqm exhibition area of Palazzo Falier’s ‘piano nobile’. A remote whisper flows through the rooms, embracing the walls, doorways and floors with aluminium tubes, fluorescent lights and cables like drawings in space. It is a semi-precarious, rough, yet almost architectural construction which integrates fragments of works from his studio once abandoned by him, documentary material, photos as well as drawings and paintings next to flotsam and jetsam found in the city.
About Turn: Newfoundland in Venice, Gill & Peter Wilkins
Galleria Ca’ Rezzonico, Organization: Terra Nova Art Foundation
About Turn: Newfoundland in Venice, Gill & Peter Wilkins presents new bodies of work by Gill and Peter Wilkins, contemporary artists based in Newfoundland, Canada. The exhibition is spurred by complementary explorations of mundane narratives. The work, which spans video, photography, and painting, deftly plays within the boundaries of abstraction and narrative; the recognizable and the intangible. Gill’s works blend a feigned naïveté with formal control, lifted from family life and fleeting dreams. Wilkins’ images bridge the art historical and contemporary, employing subtle, distilled abstractions of duration and form.
Ai Weiwei – Disposition
Zuecca Project Space/Complesso delle Zitelle, Organization: Zuecca Project Space
The artist’s only major new solo show in 2013, it was presented across two locations: the Zitelle complex, home of Zuecca Project Space, and the church of Sant’Antonin. Ai Weiwei present Straight, the first project developed using the long steel reinforcing bars recuperated from the schools which collapsed during the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. This work, first presented at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., is here installed in a larger scale at Zuecca Project Space. His second work, entitled S.A.C.R.E.D., is a new site-specific presentation for the Venice Biennale at the Church of Sant’Antonin, offering an immediate sense of the drama of an event which underlines the contradictory development of contemporary China.
Art and Knowledge – The spirit of the place in the 5 Platonic Solids
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Organization: van der Koelen Foundation for Arts and Science
In the Monumental Room of the prestigious Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (San Marco Square) Lore Bert exhibits 5 mirror sculptures into a paper environment along with 11 large format works, in an exhibition entitled Art and Knowledge – The spirit of the place in the 5 Platonic Solids. The 5 Platonic Solids represent 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air and universe. Lore Bert has studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin. She has organized over 200 exhibitions and 125 environments in more than 26 Countries around the world, including 40 personal exhibitions in museums. Several publications, among them 38 monographs document her work which is exhibited in several international collections.
Back to Back to Biennale – Free Expression
Campo Sant’Agnese, Organization: Associazione Eventi d’arte e d’architettura
Contemporary art, from the post-war period to date, has theorized and explained the many and different manners of self expression. Writers are a phenomenal, artistic movement which has arisen from the ashes of the highly urbanized societies, where peripheries are considered ghettoes and where being a citizen means seeing the city as a great palette through which to interpret one’s notion of reality. The Back to Back to Biennale project is a cultural event, which from a certain collective and generation-wise point of view is characterized by performances that the artists deliver, with no filter whatsoever from a Curator or a thematic point of view, there is freedom of expression, as the subtitle claims.
Bart Dorsa. Katya
Dorsoduro 417, Organization: Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA)
Bart Dorsa. Katya is an exhibition of collodion and silver glass photographic plates and bronze sculpture presented in a specifically organized dark space. The project delivers an intimate story of a Russian girl discovered in Moscow by the American artist. Katya’s journey from strict Orthodox monastic life, where she spent 10 years from the age of 3 to 13, to the Moscow underground is chronicled on her skin, face and body. Her form has been imprinted on glass and in bronze sculpture to describe Katya’s journey and the archetype of mythic crossroads, which is a primary theme of Dorsa’s work.
Bedwyr Williams: The Starry Messenger
Santa Maria Ausiliatrice (Ludoteca), Organization: Cymru yn Fenis / Wales in Venice
If a poet looks through a microscope or a telescope, he always sees the same thing (Gaston Bachelard). The Starry Messenger by Bedwyr Williams takes its name from a study published by Galileo Galilei about his discoveries through a telescope. In a series of rooms and passageways at Santa Maria Ausiliatrice (Ludoteca) this new work ponders the exploration of space both infinite and minute. An amateur astronomer’s night vigil or a worshipper’s quest into the polished galaxies of the terrazzo floor below his shoes.
Torre di Porta Nuova
Shirazeh Houshiary presents Breath, a four channel video which was first conceived in 2003, in a remastered version and as part of a new and unique, site-specific installation. In Breath (2013), the evocative chants of Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Islamic prayers emanate from four video screens. The sound is choreographed with images that capture the expanding and contracting breath of the vocalists. The installation is a rectangular enclosure clad in black felt, and is entered through a narrow passage leading to a dimly lit white interior. There are four screens hung at eye level, from which the chants of the different traditions rise and fall, swell and dissipate in a haunting chorus that fills the room and permeates beyond each of its walls. Where inside there is unity, outside is multiplicity.
Palazzo Mora, Organization: Global Art Center Foundation
Culture•Mind•Becoming – an exhibition by a group of outstanding Chinese artists – aims to juxtapose the cultural impact, appropriation, reflection, and reinvention existing in the Chinese culture through the lens of globalization. In a time when artists generally reflect upon individual empiricism as the main body of their artistic practice, the Chinese artists have returned to their cultural heritage after acquiring the knowledge of Western art. Through constant experimentation and evolvement, they bring forward a common ground of unique, creative context. The Chinese artists have been more or less influenced by the Western culture at different points in their lives. Living in a society of diverse culture, they are inspired to redefine and reinvent their common component – the Eastern cultural experience, which manifests itself through artistic presentations.
Emergency Pavilion: Rebuilding Utopia
Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, Organization: MAC (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Santiago de Chile); Fundacion CorpArtes
Forty years have gone by. When did the world begin to change? Was it 1973 or 1989? When did “imagination in power” die, was it in ’68 or 2012? Or was it on 1st January, 2013?
Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice 2013
Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Organization:Victor Pinchuk Foundation; PinchukArtCentre
The Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice presents the second edition of the first global art prize with 21 artists from almost all continents and 16 different countries. 21 independent artists statements, including the main prize winner, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and special prize winners: Ryanne Tabet, Marwa Arsanios, Jonathas de Andrade, Micol Assaël and Ahmet Ögüt offer a rich scope of artistic positions, mapping and discovering groundbreaking and future tendencies of a new generation of artists.
Glasstress, White Light / White Heat
Berengo Centre for Contemporary Art and Glass, Organization: LCF-London College of Fashion
The invited artists are asked to respond to the theme of light and heat, the components of fire, the destructive/creative element linked to the formation of the universe and primal matter from chaos. The energy from the sun’s rays provides the light and heat essential to all life forms and survival on this planet. Light and heat are fundamental to glass making – light is integral to our perception of glass while heat is required to shape it.
I libri d’acqua
Monastero di San Nicolò, Organization: EIUC – European Inter-University Centre For Human Rights and Democratisation
At the centre of his work, Nocera has often placed some crucial aspects related to fundamental human rights. With his project I libri d’acqua the artist focused his attention on migration as fully fledged social phenomenon. The essence of his conversation is put on human mobility seen as expression of the fundamental freedom of movement and aspiration to liberation that the artists represents as a symbolic journey. Antonio Nocera’s Books are travel notebooks without words, unwritten stories that follow one another, protected by the pages, and open up before our eyes. Books seem to spring from the water as divine objects of mythological memory
Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Organization: Fondazione Querini Stampalia onlus
The exhibition presents the collection, made up of more than a thousand small paintings, (all in 10×12 cm format) that Luciano Benetton has collected travelling around the world. The collection exhibits the works acquired in Australia, India, Korea, United States and Japan. This collection is indeed similar to an open inventory able to contribute and show how varying is the way the world is seen, studied and represented by artists and how their experiences help us to understand the riches kept into whatever is different and far away that the world offers to our interpretations.
In Grimani. Ritsue Mishima Glass Works
Palazzo Grimani di Santa Maria Formosa, Organization:Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Soprintendenza speciale per il patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo museale della città di Venezia e dei comuni della Gronda lagunare
In Grimani. Ritsue Mishima Glass Works is the first contemporary art exhibition created for the rooms of a museum, which used to be the former residence of a powerful sixteenth-century Venetian family. The glass works by Ritsue Mishima are the brainchild of long periods spent into the palace. The artist, who has been living in Venice since 1989, expresses herself using the ancient craft culture of the furnace and Murano glass masters give shape to her ideas, as witnessed by the pictures taken by Rinko Kawauchi, to whom a room has been dedicated, allowing us to see a poetic vision of the mysteries of glass working and the furnace.
Ink • Brush • Heart, XiShuangBanNa
Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello, Organization: Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai
In the end of 2012 Simon Ma was invited to visit the rainforest of XiShuangBanNa, in the South of China. While Simon Ma was indulging myself in the serenity of the rainforest, I was more and more astonished by the supremacy of nature. While the colors of my daily environment fade everyday more towards grey, the colors here felt so vital and bright. Simon Ma observed the trees that reach up to 90 meters height, comparable to most of the new constructed buildings in Chinese cities. In order to be so tall, these trees need to have extremely deeps roots. Simon Ma realized then that our society in order to reach higher needs to go deeper and hold on to its own traditions. The trees leaves form an intriguing composition with the feathers of the peacock. With its tail of 100 eyes it is considered as a manifestation of the heavenly Phoenix on earth. In the tradition of Feng Shui it is indicated as the celestial animal of the South of China, representing power and beauty.
LAWRENCE WEINER: THE GRACE OF A GESTURE
Palazzo Bembo, Organization: Written Art Foundation
THE GRACE OF A GESTURE, an artwork by Lawrence Weiner, forms the centerpiece of an exhibition organized by the Written Art Foundation and presented on the ground floor of the Palazzo Bembo near the Rialto bridge. A component was the installation of THE GRACE OF A GESTURE which appear on five of Venice’s major sources of transportation, the vaporetti. It transport the work through the Canal Grande, the Arsenale, the Giardini and beyond. The work was shown in ten different languages ranging from Chinese to Japanese to Arabic to Hebrew. Included in the exhibition at Palazzo Bembo was another four works by Weiner originally created for his exhibition Displaced at the New York Dia Center for the Arts in 1991.
Lost in Translation
Università Ca’ Foscari, Organization: Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA)
Lost in Translation is a large-scale exhibition of over one hundred Russian contemporary art works of the past four decades focusing on the historical, political, social, and economical issues related to the process of “translating” a work of art in the age of globalization. The exhibition presents works which are particularly difficult to decipher for an audience who is not familiar with the “Russian context” they were born in and refer to. Each work is displayed together with its “expanded translation” which points out and explains the essential references necessary to achieve a clearer understanding of the message conveyed.
“Love me, Love me not”
Tesa 100, Organization: YARAT Contemporary Art Organisatio
Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan and its neighbours
Produced and supported by YARAT, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to nurturing an understanding of contemporary art in Azerbaijan and to creating a platform for Azerbaijani art, both nationally and internationally, Love me, Love me not provide new perspectives on the diverse and culturally rich culture of Azerbaijan and its neighbours. There is currently equal curiosity and misconception about this region; the works on show provide insight into the dynamics of each nation, bringing to light forgotten or unknown aspects of history and demonstrating the breadth of vision and creativity at play within their borders.
Mind • Beating
Centro Ricerca Arte Contemporanea, Organization: Nanjing Sanchuan Modern Art Museum
“Mind” means thinking and consciousness in the psychological sense, and is the same as brains, which is a huge central hub for receiving and classifying information. The purpose of the exhibition is to regard the mind as a container, and extend to thinking system, and explore the relationship between visual creation and multi-dimensional world through “heart”, the common information reception organ of human kinds and its beating frequency. Though the words such as “globalization” and “trans-boundary” etc. have been repeatedly used, we shall still analyze the latest works and the thoughts of the creators from similar perspectives before we find more suitable words.
Ateneo Veneto, Organization: CIAC – Centro Internazionale per l’Arte Contemporanea Castello Colonna Genazzano; The Hart Foundation
Water is protagonist of this project, it tells us the relations, communications, feelings and aspirations that move through this element as a vehicle to express a mood. Water is the common feature of all works exhibited, its roaming sound attempts to hide feelings of distress, diving into water can be a way to recover the outside world. Furthermore, water means sharing, interpreting inclusive messages, water gives us the possibility to reconvert a common good into more productive elements. All this is told through the works of artists who were able to create an original dialogue with water, sometimes joyful, often painful, but always thoughtful.
Ex Magazzini di San Cassian, Organization: De Arte Associazione
One hundred years after The Art of Noise by Luigi Russolo, the exhibition reflects upon noise as a necessary condition and an integral part of any communication process. The role of art is to render dense with meaning that part of communication which usually escapes codification and understanding, so to return to an essential principle of indeterminacy. By assuming a modus operandi based on listening, or immersion, the artists chosen for the exhibition place processuality in a privileged position with regard to the demands for representation, while locating in what might be termed error an essential precondition for coming to understand the complexity of existence.
Liceo Artistico Statale di Venezia, Organization: Al Hoash
Otherwise Occupied features two internationally renowned Palestinian artists, Bashir Makhoul and Aissa Deebi. Both artists were born inside the 1948 borders, in the margins of another state in their homeland and outside the occupied West Bank and the centres of contemporary Palestinian culture. They have emigrated to become citizens of other states operating in a globalised art world. They still think of themselves as Palestinians and are in search of new ways to imagine the nation from a distance. Art is capable of occupying cultural spaces that are otherwise inaccessible or invisible. Otherwise Occupied describes other ways of imagining the nation outside and beyond the conflict; it is therefore a means of artistic and critical thinking through the de-territorialisation of Palestine.
Associazione Culturale Italo-Tedesca, Organization: Associazione Culturale Italo-Tedesca di Venezia
OVERPLAY focuses in an interdisciplinary manner on the relationship between art and crisis. Starting from the historical survey of art history (Caporali, Correggio, Jordaens, Guardi, Rousseau, von Stuck, Schifano, Vedova, Santomaso) it takes us towards the “criticality of meaning” which is present in the installation by Emiliano Bazzanella where the iPad becomes the eerie of endless unanswered questions created by a software, or towards attempts to escape, rebellion, imaginary sublimation and reconversion, that characterize a large group of major contemporary artists.
Passage to History: Twenty Years of La Biennale di Venezia and Chinese Contemporary Art
Nappa 89, Organization: Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu
The year 2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of the participation of Chinese contemporary artists in the International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia; it also marks twenty years of economic, cultural and artistic exchange between China and the West. Through this time period there is a recorded change in accepted attitudes toward Chinese culture and its international identity in the Western world, as well as toward China’s contribution to contemporary art, particularly in painting. The theme of exhibition, passage to history, derives from this? Actually, we can clearly see that it was the combined efforts of Chinese contemporary artists and critics at home and abroad, as well as those Western curators with a passion for art that made this precious period of Chinese contemporary art history possible.
PATO·MEN, CARLOS MARREIROS
Arsenale, Organization: Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau of Macao (IACM); The Macao Museum of Art (MAM)
This art installation project encourages a reflection about information and knowledge, its ordered arrangement or not, and its manipulation. From Noah’s Arc to the Renaissance, from Giulio Camillo’s Theatre of Memory to Steve Jobs’ Theatre of Memory, being Marino Auriti’s Encyclopedic Palace the cause. Several Theatres of the World dispute the order in Global Theatre, and still, there is a place for Ethics. PATO·MEN & Women are a minority but, yet, in significantly large number. They are strange beings, very orderly and witty, almost hedonists, who practice Ethics. This art installation project was essentially in black and white.
Palazzo Bembo, Organization: GlobalArtAffairs Foundation
The exhibition present an extraordinary combination of artworks, showing a wide range of individual approaches regarding the topics Time, Space, Existence. Artworks that make a sincere strong statement within each given space and at the same time help to create a complex exhibition as a total. Each room should provide the spectator with an inside about each presented artwork, project or idea from the artist point of view.
Perspectives by John Pawson
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Organization: Swarovski Foundation
John Pawson reveals a new perspective of the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore. Perspectives offers the visitor a unique view of the beauty of Andrea Palladio’s architectural masterpiece. The combination of a concave Swarovskicrystal meniscus and a larger reflective hemisphere creates a dramatic optical experience that brings new light to the interior of the famous Benedictine basilica. The Swarovski Foundation’s mission to promote creativity and innovation through working with architects, artists and designers demonstrates its commitment to the artistic community and beyond.
Rhapsody in Green
Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà, Organization: China National Taiwan Museum
In 1924, when George Gershwin created his Rhapsody in Blue, Huang Tu-Shui, (1895-1930), the first modernist Chinses Taiwan artist, cast his bronze In the Outskirts depicting an ox and cranes, a common view in Southern Asian rice fields. The color green, semantically ambiguous in Chinese tradition and absent from the bronze cast, yet obviously implied in Huang’s creation, is the departing point of Rhapsody in Green. This exhibition explores how three contemporary Chinses Taiwan artists, Kao, Tsan-Hsing (1945), Huang, Ming-Chang (1952), and Chou, Yu-Cheng (1976), artistically react to the color green, either taking an optical, an intersubjective, or a conceptual approach, reminding us of its RIGHTful place in our present living environment.
RHIZOMA (Generation in Waiting)
Magazzino del Sale, Organization: Edge of Arabia
Edge of Arabia is an independent arts initiative developing the appreciation of contemporary Arab art and culture with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia. Their exhibition for the 55th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, RHIZOMA (Generation in Waiting), curated by Sara Raza and Ashraf Fayadh, draws its inspiration from a younger generation of Saudi artists, and embraces visual art alongside technology, science and natural philosophy. Curator Sara Raza explains “Curatorially the exhibition’s title and premise re-appropriates the concept of a rhizome, the underground stem of a plant that shoots roots laterally as opposed to upwards, as a metaphor for the current generation of Saudi Arabia’s thriving art scene.”
Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi, Organization: Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
The Salon Suisse is the official accompanying programme of the Swiss participation in the la Biennale’s International Art Exhibition. It comprises panel discussions and readings, but also experimental formats such as audiovisual performances, reenactments and performance lectures. This year’s edition is dedicated to the legacy of the European Enlightenment in the contemporary art world. The curator of the Salon Suisse, Jörg Scheller, has invited international theorists and artists to engage in a discussion on Enlightenment from a multi-perspective view. All events take place at the historic Palazzo Trevisan.
Scotland + Venice 2013
Palazzo Pisani di Santa Marina, Organization: Scotland + Venice
An exhibition of new work by three distinctive artists working in Scotland today. Corin Sworn creates installations that explore the way objects circulate to disseminate stories and create histories. Duncan Campbell produces films that combine archive material with his own footage, questioning the information presented. Hayley Tompkins makes painted objects that transform familiar, commonplace things – such as knives, hammers, mobile phones or furniture. The exhibition is curated and organised by The Common Guild, Glasgow. Scotland + Venice is a partnership between Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland.
Loggia del Temanza, Organization: Centro Studi e Documentazione della Cultura Armena
A woman looks with intense energy across life and through us to the other side. What is on that other side? The residual steel glistens with a powerful redundancy; a residue that has failed to make the lives it could have made. A cinematographic flux suffuses the temporality of Norayr Kasper’s photography, as distant from nostalgia as from photo-reportage. What is at stake in these works, is not disappearance, it is existance. Steel-Lives, Still-Life is a narrative bracketed within a Palladian lightness. The woman knows too she has been bracketed by a world that has gone on without her. This is still life but one which has the reality to shock.
The Dream of Eurasia. 987 Testimonials: The Italian Attitude
Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto, Organization: Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta
The installation encapsulates two aspects: Omar Galliani’s artistic language, which draws on the great Italian Renaissance tradition, and his ability to establish a dialogue between European and Asian cultures. The underlying metaphor for understanding this new configuration is the fractal: the oval of the Eurasian face represents the faces of millions on which the column is rooted. Morphological and cultural diversity is acknowledged in the sharing of a new value that stems from the union of differences. To implement the project, the artist and curators, in synergy with Italian firms, involve 987 testimonials, whose presence was documented in the form of photos and video footage.
The Grand Canal
Museo Diocesano, Organization: China Grand Canal Application for World Heritage List Office in Yangzhou; West Lake International Artists Association.
The Grand Canal of China, a living cultural heritage and the theme of this collateral exhibition, was dug to open up the exchange of human and material resources, and led to an encyclopedic dissemination of art, ideas and culture consistent with today’s globalization. This exhibition shows the fusion of contemporary Chinese art, history, tradition and the material world. In an exploration of the Grand Canal’s cultural and practical significance, Chinese artists deal with complementary dichotomies including manmade/natural, traditional/contemporary, male/female and material/spiritual.
The Intimate Subversion by Ángel Marcos
Scuola di San Pasquale, Organization: MUSAC-Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León; Junta de Castilla y León
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Chinese Proverb. What can we do? This question forms the fundamental body of the project, though adding a synthesis: possibly the actions that we can undertake to set-up a sustainable civilization must be linked to our intimate feelings and thoughts, those territories of creative and affective thinking, charged with energy and of very difficult destruction. We know what the territories close to belongings can give of themselves, as well as the impersonation of the states of mind for consumption; thus, let us try with affections because we have no other choice.
The Joycean Society
Spazio Punch, Organization: Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco
Dora Garcia is the winner of the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco’s International Prize for Contemporary Art (PIAC), for her work, The Deviant Majority (2010), nominated by curator Agustin Perez Rubio. For 2013, Garcia proposes to produce a new work, The Joycean Society (2012-2013), that she considers as the third in a series. This artwork (video installation) is inspired by reading groups and literary clubs, notably those who meet regularly to read the works of James Joyce out loud. In this work, the artist observes and documents moments where members of a community try to understand a literary language in relationship to the narratives and stories that writing translates.
The Museum of Everything
Serra dei Giardini Viale Giuseppe Garibaldi, Organization: The Museum of Everything
The Museum of Everything is the world’s first wandering museum for the untrained, unintentional, and undiscovered artists of our times. Since 2009, it has welcomed over 500,000 visitors to its acclaimed installations in Britain, France, Italy, Turkey and Russia. The Museum of Everything works with leading writers, thinkers, curators and artists and is the world’s leading advocate for the alternative history of 19th, 20th and 21st century art.
This is not only a Pavilion
Palazzo delle Prigioni, Organization: Taipei Fine Arts Museum of Chinese Taiwan
By proposing the identity of the stranger, this exhibition manifests a shared concern for the urgency of coexistence in today’s world. Three projects by Bernd Behr, Chia-Wei Hsu, and Katerina Šedá + BATEŽO MIKILU capture the political relations between imagination and reality and investigate how the possibility of criticality produced in subjectification or estrangement might be used to perceive diverse potential forms of cultural identity.
Thomas Zipp – Comparative investigation about the disposition of the width of a circle
Palazzo Rossini-Revedin, Organization: Arthena Foundation
The German artist Thomas Zipp’s project relates to both The Width of a Circle by David Bowie, whose lyrics, using parables from Nietsche’s Thus spoke Zarathrustra, express his relationship with the ‘devil drug’, and l’arc de circle, which metaphorically denotes reactions triggered in hypnotized patients for hysteria research purposes by Jean-Maria Charcot (1825-1983). Zipp installs a version of a psychiatric unit that deals with hysteria, and the duality (schizophrenia) in one person – the artist is both patient and doctor. Zipp researches the unconscious, exploring the effects of drugs, heavy metal music, philosophy, religion and hidden aspects of psychiatry and psychoanalysis.
Dorsoduro 453, Organization: Nuova Icona
In spite of their different backgrounds, artistic mediums and geographic separation the artwork of Victor Matthews and Paolo Nicola Rossini shares an exploration of the theme of Transition and in doing so, tells their stories. Both artists question universal themes such as life, memory, dream and the subconscious, reality, time and space and transition from one moment or idea to the next. Yet departing from the same starting point both arrive at very different destinations. These two artists present the view of their reality as perceived by them internally and question what is one’s perception of the landscapes around us and what we see. They challenge this image through its transition – externalizing it through their painting and photography.
United Cultural Nations
Palazzo Bacchini delle Palme, Organization: Tongli Academic Exchange Center Foundation
United Cultural Nations is created by Mi Qiu. This term is from his daily mantra for fun and for serious. Time and place at this moment, nothing was important even though beautiful people and mellow wine. We are free from the material ankd concrete feelings.
Museo Storico Navale, Organization: Marina Militare
The artist has completed many works, even religious works, for the Italian Navy and developed an artistic curriculum – formed at the “School” of Pericle Fazzini and Emilio Greco – led to present the man to the mystery of life trough “physicality and volume”. The theme of the exhibition that the artist aims to achieve is, in fact, “the understanding and description of the women’s soul trough physicality and volume.”
Voice of the Unseen: Chinese Independent Art 1979/Today
Tesa alle Nappe 91, Organization: Guangdong Museum of Art
Who are, where are they, and what are doing now the artists who, with the historical event of the 1979 exhibition on the “Wall of Democracy” of Xidan in Beijing, gave birth to the growingly influential stream of independent contemporary art in China? This event is the most ambitious attempt to date to answer comprehensively to these questions, highlighting the history of Chinese art of the last thirty years through the work of the artists who created, from the Post-Avant-garde of the ’80s and ’90s, the movement of the non-official, or independent, Chinese art.
Who is Alice?
Spazio Lightbox, Organization: National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea
Who is Alice? is a special thematic exhibition presenting the permanent collection of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea. The exhibition presents 30 works by 16 Korean artists that transcend the limitations of physical space and time, covering various concepts and forms that traverse the boundaries of ‘reality and non-reality’, and ‘dreams and the real. The audience is invited in the ‘time travel’ across space-time, like Alice in Wonderland who took a sudden leap into the rabbit hole. The audience dream walk in a mysterious space of reality and imagination, and become the main character in the ‘shadow play’ of their own stories.
‘You (you).’ – Lee Kit, Hong Kong
Arsenale, Organization:M+, Museum for Visual Culture; Hong Kong ArtsDevelopment Council
‘You (you).’ continues his exploration into the quotidian realm of the everyday. Comprised entirely of new commissions, the exhibition is conceived through the recollection of personal and collective moments. ‘You (you).’takes the universal yet non-existing entity hinted by its title as a departure point, gazing at the notion of absence to reflect on the construction of memories, time and places. Lee incorporates various elements such as moving-image, ready-made objects and sound to suggest traces of immaterial dialogues, allowing the possibility of evoking the texture of the everyday.
La Biennale was also organizing Meetings on Art, a series of lectures, performances and debates that was enriched this year by a project by Marco Paolini, one of the artists invited by Gioni to participate in the 55th Exhibition. In the autumn four different Meetings on Art occur: one on the myth of the self-taught artist, Existence is Elsewhere;one on the anthropology of images and the history of art, Image-Worlds; and one on the encyclopedia and other flights of the imagination, Nothing is Sweeter than Knowing Everything. The last meeting, Let’s Talk About Us, is scheduled for November 24, 2013, the closing day of the 55th International Art Exhibition.
Educational activities was organised addressed to individuals and groups of students of all grades, to universities and academies of fine arts, and also to professionals, companies, experts, fans and families. These initiatives, conducted by selected a selected team of exhibition guides trained by la Biennale di Venezia, aim to actively involve participants in both Educational Itineraries and Laboratories and creative workshops.