International Art Exhibition
Il Palazzo Enciclopedico –
The Encyclopedic Palace
01.06 - 24.11 2013
Venezia - Giardini, Arsenale and various venues
Entrance: 25 €
a moral and cognitive point of view, this edition of the Biennale is
characterised by a strong acceleration towards metaphysics. Already in
the past edition there were anticipations of this tendency (see the review
of the 54ª edition
), thou what it was then barely hinted,
this year it has been proposed bossily and with overconfidence.
We could consider it an epochal edition, even just for the debut of the
Holy See Pavilion, to which I mentioned in this article
of which although now I can say that, oppositely to what I imagined,
its presence has been circumscribed, predictable, without uproars and
above all very flabby; and in my opinion not for chance:
the uproars fill mass media only when strong powers or untold lobbies
are in conflict
, not for reasons of genuine nor standard people
the Vatican debut in this edition instead of the previous seems not
casual: I really think that Cardinal Ravasi has waited until times
became ripe with the enthronement of the Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio, also
known as Pope Francis.
The cunning glance of Director Paolo
Baratta and the quasi-jesuitic outfit of the Curator Massimiliano Gioni
Detail from an official photograph ©
Biennale of Venezia
a period of default, I returned to visit the Biennale during the previous
edition, attracted by the presence of strange thematics and artworks
evoking an atmosphere of imminent proclamation, of revelation, that
this year have been expressed more clearly; in fact I consider this
edition a nowadays' epiphanic dawn of the metaphysical occultism, being
connoted by the presence of a huge selection of artworks related or
compatible to the masonic-satanic esotericism, with the presence of the
symbolism, of the iconography and the myths beloved by the so called
The ones who know these arguments will catch what I am
talking about, the ones who instead would visit this Biennale
unknowingly, in consequence of the mind opennes necessary to the
understanding of contemporary art, will take a massive dose of
doctrinal messages bringing to ancient neglected cults that if proposed
explicitly could be considered nefarious.
Therefrom we could come to the conclusion that having entitled this
Biennale to "The Encyclopedic Palace
by Marino Auriti
it is an eulogy to scientific and Illuministic knowledge (of which the
Jesuit confraternity, born right at the apex of Renaissance, is the
singular supporter inside the Catholic Church). The will of Man that
wants to heighten to the God level through the knowledge is paraphrased
in the biblical metaphoric language with the satanic rebellion to
natural rules, or divine if you wish (satan is from the hebraic sâtân
opponent). Technology and art would be part of this emancipation of Man
from the divine grace or seize, but this vision of Art is generated by
a mere dualist dichotomy.
As I said in the preface, by the commensuration of religion and its
orthodox meddlings to the heterodox and uncontrollable world of
contemporary art, I imagined that strong disputes, uproars and
provocations would be released, as always happened: the Catholic Church
has traditionally always been the antagonist of the scientific power
advocated by the Illuminati starting from Galileo Galilei, but
evidently the vatican citadel has been overmastered by the fierce
maniple of the Company of Jesus.
estranged visit has been to me an incredible opportunity of cognitive
maturation and unconcerned meditation on the piteous human longings, or
if you wish satanic or divine.
Pavilion and the Giardini
This review is born under that same intellectual disposition with which
I have visited the exhibition, and yet trying not to disregard the
individual artistic message, since the artworks can be contextually
instrumentalised even when created by unaware artists or with other
it as an exercise of symbological interpretation that perhaps cross
over the bounds of pure and simple art, but it is not my fault if this
exhibition is so dense of occult meanings.
Facing cultist and esoterical thematics, we always pass through the
world of magics and of unconscious: as soon as we enter the Central
Pavilion, we are taken by the showing of the "Red Book
" by the famous Swiss
psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung
in the past I had an interest in psychoanalysis, and I have read some
texts by Jung: surely the researcher represents a threshold towards
certain gnostic dimensions.
Unfortunately, no photos of the Red Book: as usual a guardsman
prohibited me to take innocuous photographs without flash, and in this
case the deprivation of this right is not tied to the preservation of
the artworks (which can be protected by an anti-UV glass when
necessary), but just for the presupposition that if people do
photograph the artworks then they do not buy the catalogues at the
Apart from some particularly surveilled artworks, happily this year the
room keepers have surrendered to the mass of photographers who pictured
everything in spite of the forbade signs: a keeper girl confessed that
rebuking the visitors you cause more harm, since everyone,
including myself, do that covertly.
Right after we are welcomed by a macabre mask from 1950 of André
Breton, author of the first Surrealism manifesto, movement that is
another threshold to the psychic-magical-oneiric-automatic world we
will encounter all along this Biennale. Looking at the expression it
seems indeed a death mask, although Breton was alive at that time. Also
death will be one of the subjects permeating most of the exhibition.
"Mask of Breton", ~ 1950
So we come across the representation of the untitled performance by Tino Sehgal
, awarded this year with
the Golden Lion, the highest prize, for "the excellence and innovation that his
practice has brought opening the field of artistic disciplines
some actors (the poor victims who for six months, six hours a day, will
work at this role) sitting on the floor mumble with the voice
spontaneous rhythms and laments over which the other improvises a
flabby dance: just like a tantric exercise to estrange from the self, a
hypnotic mantra. Compliments to the jury for the prize of innovation:
we have never seen a performance like this one, really... as if
contemporary art, and most of all performance, would never had before
the young Sehgal openings towards theatrical art, or as if Art would be
stereotyped within those bounds that evidently do exist in the mind of
You can find better videos that the one proposed here, since at the
time when I payed attention to it, perhaps the actors were tired and
the performance languished.
In the same room there are some artworks by the recently departed Walter Pichler
that however do not give tribute to the primacy of this artist and
architect to have imagined already in the '60 transhuman subjects
that could be considered precursors of Cyberpunk.
All around there are many "Drawings
on a Blackboard
" by Rufolf
, philosopher, architect and, obviously, esoterist and
also a member of the Theosophical Society.
Sculptures by Walter Pichler
Series "Drawings on a Blackboard"
Chalk on paper
In the adjacent room we find the paintings with alchemical symbols by Hilma af Klint
another foregoer, this time of the abstractionism, and also her a
mysticist, spiritist and close to Theosophy. In the middle of the room
there is an installation by Roger
made with the sand obtained from the pulverisation of a
from a church: a crying message. Then there are the drawings made by
the researcher, artist and healer Emma
, from Switzerland too, that are basically geometrical
mandalas. Another spiritist artist is Augustine
with his paintings guided by voices of spirits which he was in
"The Dove, No. 13", 1915
Oil on canvas
Hiorns, untitled, 2013, pulverised marble
Lesage, "Composition symbolique sur
le monde spirituel" (detail), 1923, oil on canvas
Near there is the video "Blindly
by Artur Żmijewski
who have often dealt with the impairment and sensory relativity themes:
the video shows some blind people who try to paint and it is meant as a
critique to the failure and inability of art in communicating.
A selection of ceramics by Ron
that are abstracting and reinterpret the shapes of common objects of
everyday use, in this metaphysical context appear as a tangible pause
serene and familiar, but the tantric paintings placed all around, in
which shaped we can find the ones of the ceramics, get us back down to
the mystic path.
Some ceramics by Ron Nagle
Tantric paintings of anonymous
paint on found paper
Selection of artworks, 1966-2004
The video "Short Study of the Nature of
" by Laurent Montaron
a mechanistic and technological vision restarting from the Pichler's
sculptures and is referred to the important text by Lucrezio "De
Rerum Natura" that exhorts men to rationalise the slavery of the
material world preferring a superior and unique spiritual conscience.
"Short Study of the Nature of Things",
The same argument can be extended to the paintings by KP Brehmer
, who with the algidity of
an anatomopathologist analyzes and records on graph paper all the hues
of the sky.
"Himmelfarben" [Colours of the
Water-based dispersion paint and pencil on millimeter paper, 17 parts
In this room we find the architectonic drawings by the anonym Achilles G. Rizzoli
that can be superposed to the "Encyclopedic Palace" by Auriti and to
the utopian monuments pictured in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, but
ideally representing personages and people, the author's mother
included, and some children of the neighborhood.
Over all there the pyramid on the painting "9-11-01
by Jack Whitten
is impending, which is a sort of allegory connecting the attack on the
twin towers in 2001 to an assault to ancient and mystical religious
powers. The pyramid is raising in front of an anonym parade of little
cardboard models of modest small town houses made by the anonym clerk Peter Fritz
and salvaged by the Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser
this anteposition seems remarking the separation between people and
power quite evidently.
"Mother Tower of Jewels"
Whitten, "9-11-01", 2006,
mixed technique and acrylic on canvas, ~ 305 x 605 cm
Oliver Croy and
Oliver Elser, "The 387 Houses of
Peter Fritz (1916-1992) Insurance clerk from Vienna", 1993-2008,
selection of 176 models
Always under building theme, we arrive to "La
" [The Great Library] by Gianfranco
, sumptuous assemblage that I think is evoking the
grandeurs and the destruction of the mythical library of Alexandria in
In the same room there is the projection of "Film
No. 12 (Heaven and Earth Magic)
" by Harry Smith
, another occultist,
other than the grim drawings of the artist and biologist José Antonio Suárez Londoño
pseudoscientific look inspired to Kafka with some bodies that are
analysed or dismembered, and the others by Christiana Solou
dealing with the theme of the chimerical bestiality, of the genetical
hybridisation, a subject today often proposed in the contemporary art
and, sadly, already in the reality at a scientific level.
"Film No. 12 (Heaven and Earth Magic)",
16mm film, 66'
Antonio Suárez Londoño
"Franz Kafka, Diarios II, 1914-1923",
Mixed techniques, 13 x 20 cm each
Drawing by Christiana Solou
From the beasts by Solou we go to the real and imaginary bestiary
accurately carved by the son of a peasant, with as many chimerical
hybridisations, then coming to the mystic beasts related to human
mythology drawn by Friedrich Schröder
who before to devote himself to art he lived as a detainee, as a
psychiatric convict, as a cattleman, as a circus worker, as a
woodcutter and over all as a chiromancer, naturopath and mystic healer.
Some pieces of the bestiary by
Levi Fisher Ames
Schröder-Sonnenstern, coloured pencils on paper, ~ 98 x
"Der Mondkritiker" [The Moon
Critic], ~ 1955
"Meta-(physik) mit dem Hahn"
[Meta-(physics) with the Cock], 1952
[Serpent's Seduction], 1955
Then we enter into a room all dedicated to the Italian Enrico David
personally I found in it a latent atmosphere of masonic
androcentrism and misogyny. In the official Biennale interview the
artist declares that his artworks are purely decorative and without
symbologies or conceptualisms, but how can you disregard the
self-evident decoration with masonic pyramids with golden cuspid, the
phallic representations in the Escherian and lasciviously homosexual
zipper interpenetration where genially the glandes are also the opposed
testicles, or the volcanic ejaculation wicker, and over all the small
statue of a black feminine figure really recalling the Mother Goddes
(discussed by the archaeologist Marija Gimbutas in a book I've recently
read) that is transpierced in the back, let us say impaled, by a blade
(not visible in the photo below) and exiting through its mouth? Over
all these artworks of design there is an impending and unsettling
drawing representing a feminine head, that recalls the mentally
disturbed Joker acted by Heath Ledger, which is too as cut by sharp
pencil lines: it makes me think about the homicidal schizophrenic
violence in some paintings by David Lynch.
Maybe, who knows, the artist spoke in good faith and unconsciously he
is one of the many asymptomatic carriers of that subliminal
indoctrination present everywhere which purpose is the antagonism and
the dominance in the archaic dichotomic fight between males and females.
Tapestries, sculptures and a drawing by Enrico David
surely this room is just the threshold inaugurating the misogyny theme
and the feminine subjugation with which the curatorial project will go
on: in fact going further we find the video "Corona
" by Victor Alimpiev
, seasoned with very
fine myths like the Mermaid one, of which we do not even need
explications, just watch it:
Alimpiev, "Corona", 2012
Video, 7'28" in loop
under the feminine subjugation theme, in the next room a surreal and
dismal atmosphere is perfectly in tune with the posthumous dolls by Morton Bartlett
simply representing sweet and winking pin-up girls here proposed with
clothes, but that can also be undressed. Maybe they simply are dolls,
but the doll-woman is an important aspect in the "sacerdotal"
male-chauvinism and in the occultism: the doll, as the puppet, is
equivalent to the woman as object, deprived of an autonomous thought
and mentally controlled for the use and abuse of the hieratic-male
controller; it may be taken as an erotic game, but the feminine mind
control in real life touched goals as the lobotomy routinely practiced
to correct exuberant personalities.
The dolls by Morton Bartlett, untitled
Plaster, fiber hair, paint, fabric
All around the room there are shown the 88 photocopies making the
cryptic artwork "Passport
personal archive of the artist Carl
in which doubtlessly are included also many personages, places and
monuments tied directly or indirectly to the freemasonries, as Sir
Walter Raleigh, Lord Byron, the Statue of Liberty, Vladimir Lenin, just
as Benito Mussolini. The title, motivated by the fact that the
photocopies are collected between the ones of the very artist's
passport, could even allude to the doors opened to the adepts of
88 colour Xeror copies
More booklets are in the next room, they are the artist's books of the
" by Shinro Ohtake
an entire room filled of this chaotic objects and full of all is
superficially pop, thou even of citations and something more profound.
The artwork should be related to the saturation of information, culture
and subculture, this is to say different thoughts: indeed to observe
carefully all these cabinets a whole day would be needed!
Ohtake, series "Scrapbooks"
Artist's books, mixed techniques
And another day would be needed to ponder on the one hundred eighty
small statues modeled by the Peter
Fischli and David Weiss
duo: between flying axes, spiked maces and construction bricks (objects
beloved by "brother masons"), we have several pleasantly portrayed
sketches related to some famous personages: first of all Albert
Hofmann, the discoverer of the lysergic acid diethylamide-25, or LSD,
drug correlated to the MK-Ultra program of the C.I.A., a secret project
of mind control, which was synthesised from the ergot or "horned rye",
the hallucinogen used in the ancient cult of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Then there is Stanley Kubrik, the director of the film "Eyes Wide
Shut", homage to the existence conduced by the adepts of occultist
sects or satanic-masonic, divided between exterior and hidden life.
There is even a sketch retracing the clamorous Battle of Morgarten in
1315, with which the Swiss people set out towards the independence from
the Austrian dominion going to the super power of the Holy Roman
Empire: in the mechanism that is what is happening today with the
overruling of national states in favor of the super powerful and super
bully New "European" Empire.
Fischli and David Weiss, series "Plötzlich
diese Übersicht" [Suddenly this Global view],
Circa 180 sculptures, unfired clay
Near there we find several photos of the Dutch Viviane Sassen
from the series "Lexicon
dedicated to the blacks of Africa, whom are portrayed in postures
vaguely derisive and quite sinister, recalling in many aspects death,
where there are also coffins and corpse bags. As we know the context
where they are included, personally I could consider some of these
photos as expression of the white supramatist racism.
Then we can admire some surreal paintings by Dorothea Tanning
the painter wife of Max Ernst; also in this case the curatorship has
selected an artwork representing the myth of the Siren, or Mermaid,
dated back to the archaic Assyro-Babylonian cults of the Oannes, and
then a self-portrait in an almost "bunny" outfit (yet the woman
as object) whilst she observes a truncated mountain resembling the
mysterious Devils Tower, connected by some people to the Babylonian
myth of the Anunnaki, inasmuch similar to the broken Tower in the
Tarots, and thus finally to the Tower of Babel.
Oil on canvas
Tanning, "The Truth About Comets",
Oil on canvas
The successive room is the one that intrigued me less.
Seen my scarce interest for the genre, I have not deepened the meaning
of the untitled installation of the Israeli Uri Aran
and his official interview have not diverted me from what I though at
first glance: lack of a cause more than the intellectual tribulation.
I neither lingered more than much even on the gift drawings of the
Shakers (an important pro-Christian confraternity of English Quakers
settled in the United States of America) that would be inspired too by
celestial beings and should give an idea of what the Paradise is, thou
much affected and full of everything the well known corollary of
As much as I did not observed carefully the Asian drawings that in
antithesis seem the stereotype of an infernal or spiritist world:
monstrous beings, blotches like bugs and other things encaged into
grids or scattered in chaotic compositions.
Neither the drawings that seem anatomies of celestial creatures
made by Guo Fengyi
my interest. Anyway, also here the occultism is prevailing.
Graphical artworks from South-East
Asia and Melanesia
Hugo A. Bernatzik collection
Much interesting indeed the paintings by Jean-Frédéric Schnyder
another Swiss artist (the presence of Swiss artists in this and the
previous edition is at least impressive, considering the country size),
whose imaginary reveals a healthy balance in describing a society
unstably on the mystic-religious antagonism, despite it is filled with
many symbols and subjects, yet again, tied to cults of masonry or of
the Illuminati, as for example a mountain perfectly pyramidal with the
sun in the cuspid, or the swastikas; he justify them saying the it does
not matter to what we associate them whilst he barely use them just
because they are nice to paint, in the strict sense of the act of
painting... perhaps saying that he uses them for provocation would be
Then we find a metaphysical scene in a Delvaux style with alien
cosmogony and a skeleton in the posture of Saint John the Baptist on a
lodge with masonic checkerboard pavement, a languid devil with the
typical Swiss hat, a self-portrait entitled "Stigma
a Baby Jesus which aureole is formed from the breath of the ox (or
bull) while the clouds in the sky are shaped like other horned bovines.
The tapestry "Apocalypso",
1976/78, and some paintings by Jean-Frédéric
Another imaginary bestiary is the one composed by the fine
illustrations from the series "What is a
" by Domenico
where the chimerical hybridisations are still protagonist, which are
provocatively placed into interiors usually occupied by human beings.
It is interesting also the scientific research "The Path of Totality
" brought on by Paloma Polo
, but hardly resumable in
this generic review.
"Snail on Sofa"
Artworks from 1967, India ink, tempera and acrylic on cardboard
"Woman Sole in Bath Tub"
"Winged Rhino at 15th Floor"
Successively we find the paintings of the Austrian kind oldie Maria Lassnig
representing feminine subjects even in a suicidal attitudes:
self-portraits with the gun pointed at the temples or with the head
into a plastic bag or dancing with a skeleton: I would not take such
proposals much lightly and I consider predominant the dangerous
persuasive power of the picture with brisk and pictorial colours, thus
I find strange that no protests have been raised considering that
recently in Italy it is all an outcry speaking and denouncing the so
called feminicide and the violence on women!
Then there are some doll maisonettes by Andra Ursuta
that are recalling me the voyeuristic obsession for the privacy in the
television format "Big Brother", beside a sculpture recalling the
ancient Egypt, and the voyeuristic photos by Kohei Yoshiyuki
taken by night in some parks to real and unaware swingers and related
voyeurs. But the apex of sex mania caused by sexophobic education is
reached in the incredible bulk of erotic fantasies drawn by the young Evgenij Kozlov (E-E)
denominated "The Leningrad
"Selbstportrait unter Plastik"
[Self-portrait under Plastic], 2000
Oil on canvas
"Du oder Ich" [You and I], 2005
Oil on canvas
Yoshiyuki, series "The Park",
Ursuta, "Conversion Table",
Aluminum, trims, coins, concrete, wood
"T. Vladimirescu Nr. 5, Sleeping Room",
Kozlov (E-E), "The Leningrad Album",
Ink, ballpoint pen, pencil and crayon on paper
No interest is raised in my by the abstract untitled paintings by Varda Caivano
, neither the ambiguous
" by Tacita Dean
, while the Giotto-stle
black angels sculpted by Diego Perrone
always in this context, simply recall to mind the expulsion of the
rebellious angels, the ones who will become demons.
After all this mysticism, I find the series "Relationship
" by the photographer Nikolay Bakharev
an isle of human
normality, and the series by Henrik
an exposal of the coercive sexual moral.
One of the couple of sculptures by
A photo from the series by
Details of the installation by
The artwork by Eva Kotátková
reading the title I is one of those playful installations built in
order to encourage the visitors to interact and to be photographed
inside the artwork, in this case putting the head into some cages, but
the title was sufficient to consider it not deign of my consideration: "Asylum
after previous mentions to ancient Egypt, in a context of mysticism
even the Arab world, rich of very ancient sapiential and alchemical
literature, really could not be missed: very interesting the
"Illuminist" miniatures of the Pakistani Imram Qureshi
from the series "Moderate Enlightenment
", that, as I
interpret them, at least try to propose again the spiritual research as
an alternative to the violence of war.
Instead, I can not find an interest in the Art Brut drawings with which
alleviated her depression at night.
The two initials carved on the golden stelae by James Lee Byars
would make one to suppose that these are gravestones of unknown
personages, but the installation titles and caption raise the desire to
know better the personage and his mystic phylosophy, as Zen as the two
A miniature from "Moderate Enlightenment"
"The Figure of the Interrogative Philosophy"
"The Figure of the Question in the Room"
the same room, in the low and mysterious light, we arrive to the
apotheosis of occultism: nothing less than Aleister Crowley, great
magus and pastor of hermetism as much as founder of a personal church
of his own, of which here you can see his restyling of the tarots by
hand of his friend the painter Frieda
Besides we find two as much low and mysterious videos by Melvin Moti
that can be related to
alchemy and cosmology.
"Atu XII - The Hanged Man", 1938-40
Watercolour on paper
Tarot as restyled by Aleister Crowley
"Atu XVIII - The Moon",
Watercolour on paper
Tarot as restyled by
35 mm film (colour, silent), 26'
Toward the end of the Central Pavilion ride, the metaphysical thematics
seem to decrease anyway, reverting to a more material reality, perhaps
to close the vision on the world that is and want to stay confined in
At once i notice the very meticulous reproduction of the hair in the
paintings by Ellen Altfest
reminding us the animal nature of human beings, while the sketch by Cathy Wilkes
, resembling a poor
crèche, seems to uncover the flaws and the fragility of man and its
Oil on canvas
Oil on canvas
The installation by Cathy Wilkes
The sculpture by Marisa Mertz
that should recall to mind "religious
icons, images of mythical goddesses
", for the very material
appetite for the approaching lunch time it evoked to me the image of a
fish cartouche cooked; pardon.
The paintings by Lynette
can be related to the atmospheres in the photos by
Viviane Sassen, against which I prefer anyway.
Unfired clay, wax, tin, lead, metal, iron base
"Messages from Elsewhere", 2013
Oil on canvas
The violence of Nature emerges from the tenebrous and inhospitable seas
painted by the Belgian Thierry De
, and also by the monolithic heaviness of the two steel
blocks by Richard Serra
dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini which seem then to conclude this ride
with the cognition of the corporal death.
Two paintings with combers by Thierry De Cordier
One of the two forged steel blocks of the installation
exited from the pavilion, "tornammo a riveder le stelle" [we came back
to see the stars again], nay, the sun: let us continue to the:
pavilions of the Giardini
the central curatorial project of the Biennale by Massimiliano Gioni,
the national participations' pavilions live their own thematic
independence, thus we are exiting for a while from the occult world of
"The Encyclopedic Palace" to come back to the "usual" contemporary art,
the one dialoguing with all the society.
this year proposes a huge installation: it is "Construction Materials of the Spanish Pavilion
" by Lara Almarcegui
where the debris equating the amount of materials used to build the same pavilion
have been subdivided by typology, forming several heaps of concrete,
wood, iron and glass. The work wants to make tangible the burden of the
progressive change that cities endure continuously with all its
negative implications inherent the environmental preservation; in this
case the Artist is referring to Venice and in particular to the isle of
Sacca San Mattia in Murano. Commendable engagement: today the
ecological emergency can not be ignored and it is a good thing to
promote parsimoniousness and farseeing.
Some views on the installation "Construction
Materials of the Spanish Pavilion"
"Construction Materials" (Sacca San
proposes a large size installation, dedicated to Venice and the many
paintings representing Saint Sebastian seen by the Artist around the
town: "Kreupelhout - Cripplewood
by Berlinde De Bruyckere
captions quote a nice lyrical text by John Maxwell Coetzee, of which I
report some excerpts:
all trees, the cripplewood tree aspires toward the sun; but something
in its genes, some bad inheritance, some poison, twists its bones.”
are or two kinds, the rational kind, creations of human reason,
that having been tied can be untied; and the kind that occur in nature,
for which there is no loosening, no solution,no oplossing.”
De Bruyckere, "Kreupelhout",
Wax, epoxy, iron, paint, wood, fabric, rope, gypsum, roofing
The artworks by Mark Manders
for the Dutch
apart the monumentality of some, all have that unexpressed character of
personal empiricism in the scouting of surrounding reality, a bit
inconclusive for my taste. Really nice instead is "Window with Fake Newspapers
for which have been realised fake newspaper pages utilising all the
words from the English dictionary put randomly and using photographs
taken in the artist's studio.
Manders, "Window with Fake
Newspapers", 2005-2013 and "Working
Manders, "Mind Study",
2010-2011 and "Short Sad Thoughts",
Manders, some heads studies and "Fox
/ Mouse / Belt", 1992
Manders, "Room with Broken Sentence",
"Shadow Study (Femur and Upper Arm Bone
Connected by One Single Shadow)", 2011
presents several projects by Antti Laitinen
, among which "Forest Square
where he grinds and arrange a portion of a forest, a work which
appearance is comparable to the one by Almarcegui, but related to
Nature, thus conceptually antithetic in substance, and similar in the
justifications to the one by Manders. Anyway Laitinen other than the
manipulation of the environment, in the middle of it he places Man as a
lone and bare individual who must face fundamental and primitive
activities or attitudinal ordeals. This pavilion is one of the more
correlatable to the arguments proposed in the Central Pavilion.
"Tree reconstruction", 2013
Outside view of the pavilion
"Forest Square III", 2013
C-print, Diasec, 180 x 180 cm
"Untitled [Nails and Wood]"
5 pieces of wood with nails, 20 x 20 x9 cm
"It's my island",
Performance, video projection over three screen
Social engagement is protagonist again at the Pavilion of
: "Fired but unexploded
proposes a measureless installation of videos representing the infinite
unexploded bombs found from the several conflicts of the past, like if
they were sad Objet Trouvé
to remind us how much the consequences of war are permanent even after
many years; and this is nothing against the sanitary horrors due to
recent wars in Middle East or in Africa, as also denounced in the
previous edition at the Swiss Pavilion.
As seen in the video, in the flowerbed facing the pavilion there is a
water spurt generating a small iridescent rainbow, as a sign of hope.
Asztalos, view on the video installation
Some found bomb models
unexploded bombs have been found
Asztalos, "Fired but unexploded"
for the Hungarian Pavilion
an exhibition thematically singular entitled "dentro / fora" [inside /
outside] dedicated to the paradoxical Möbius String, August Ferdinand,
German mathematician and astronomer. The artworks of the two
protagonist artists, Hélio Fervenza
e Odires Mlászho
are very intriguing and conceptually stimulating, though all together
the theme appears almost a pretext to barely give a curatorial fil rouge
to a very heterogeneous
The only reference to the encyclopaedic and scientific knowledge may be
found in the very critic spirit of the manipulated books by Odires Mlászho
that seem to devalue the serial abstruseness of referential and
auto-referential piles, the law's ones in particular, as in the
artworks series "Master Butchers
and Their Apprentices
"Unidade Tripartita" [Tripartite
Unity], 1948-1949 and strings installation
"(peixe, sombra) dentrofora (do céu da
boca) d'água ( , )" [(fish, shadow)
insideoutside (the roof of mouth) of water ( ,
Mlászho, "Martindale-Hubbell /
Inrernational Law Directory", 2013
Series "Livros moles" [Soft books], altered books
Mlászho, "Skinner IX" e "Skinner X", 2013
Series "Master Butchers and their Apprentices"
Digital collages, pigment print on paper
Munari, "Concavo / Convesso",
Galvanised iron mesh
has a very commercial character, appearing as a propagandistic project
for silk manufacture, in which Venice had surely a historic role
starting from the patrician venetian Marco Polo in his connections with
China through the Silk Road, up to the textile industry of Fortuny.
All perfectly relevant to its very theme, Silk Road, starting from the
large installation "Contiene
lo spazio (grande orditoio)
" [It contains the space (large
warper)] by Mimmo
prepared on the outside of the pavilion, up to the video
" by Anahita Razmi
assimilable to one of those advertising almanacs with pin-ups hanged in
the car repair shops or with which the truck driver stereotype adorns
his own cockpit.
Venice returns back to the countries of oriental emerging markets.
Venetian fabrics by Bevilacqua,
Fortuny and Rubelli
Kazoun, "Of Selves, Pixies and Goons",
Installation, wood and threads
Razmi, "Iranian Beauty"
Looping video, 3000 Iranian bankonotes on Iranian Fortuny Fabric
"Il Castello di Sole"
Installation, mosaics and audio
at the end of this manufacture tunnel we find some artworks where you
can go astray for long and which connection to this pavilion seems to
be just for the abuse of many trademarks and an allegorical fight
between China and Occident, but also some references to oligarchic
elitism assimilable to the Biennale's main theme: that are two large
photographs and a sculpture by the Russian group AES+F
"The Feast of Trimalchio, Arrival of the
"Allegoria Sacra, Panorama #2"
"Last Riot Sculptures, Composition #4 (Two
The esoteric atmosphere of the Encyclopedic Palace finds a perfect
continuation in the Egyptian Pavilion
where in the dark there are some mysterious sculptures by Khaled Zaki
, other than some
sincerer mosaics by Mohamed
of the Zaki's sculptures is a foot of a huge Egyptian statue with slots
to see the interior where there is the ancient, in the form of an
undecipherable sculpture presence, apposed to the modern, represented
by the binary numbering system, all closed with a padlock: really
enigmatic, but also disquieting.
Some sculptures by Khaled Zaki e dettaglio
Some details of the mosaics by Mohamed Banawy
Going beyond the captivating appearance, I find the Pavilion of the
perhaps one of the less thrilling: a little romantic gallery of vintage
objects with which have been prepared commonplace installations based
on the seriality and on many lively funny little faces. Also the videos
are views on a folk everyday life devoted to the indolent nonsense and
to the miserable survival, but one, really interesting indeed: "Children Listening Music
" by Miloš Tomić
Perić, "3D Wallpaper for Bathroom",
Installation, found razor blades
"There Is Nothing Betwwn Us", 2013,
"Photo Safari", 2013
manipulated found objects
Perić, "3D Wallpaper for Children's
Installation, found objects
Tomić, "Annual Musical Report",
Tomić, "Children Listening Music",
presents the animated cartoon on 35mm film "Imitation of Life
made by hand in the traditional Disney style. I do not even adventure
in to enclose pictures of the funny short, as the publishing of a short
excerpt taken at the Biennale caused the deletion of our Vimeo channel
for copyright infringement.
And it is not for vengeance that I do not consider this work an
artwork, although there is an enormous artistic labour behind, but
because I think that an artwork can be considered so when it is
realised by a single artist, or at farthest by a small group with a
common motivation, deeply felt by everyone. For the same reason I do
not love those artists who delegate to others the realisation of their
In this case Mathias Poledna
the mastermind of the project and one of the tens of people who have
worked in the making, or the team of workhands, this is the non plus ultra
of Artist negation. Anyway, Poledna in this exhibition that includes
several sketches used in the film making, poses right this question: up
to which point an artist is father of an artwork made by more people?
List of people who worked on it
Some animation tables for "Imitation
At the Polish
the acoustic installation "Everything
Was Forever, Until It Was No More
" by Konrad Smoleński
was off because the vibrations and clash it made impelled the
Environment Councillor to denounce the public quiet violation to the
What could be said: a prophetical title!
From the stubborn Polish people I expected something more involved and
tenacious; anyway, I have listened the installation in the internet and
I can say that I was lucky to have visited the Giardini without
this annoying presence! Dear punk rockers... making clash you can drag
the attention, but not the consent.
Personally I interpret this installation as a hope for a Church's
Smoleński, "Everything Was Forever,
Until It Was No More"
Audio installation, bells, microphones, loudspeakers
proposes the performace "An
immaterial retrospective of the Venice
where (as in the Sehgal's performance, for six months, six hours a day)
some actors retrace past editions of the Biennale only with the aid of
postures, gesticulations and words.
Apropos of past biennials remembrances, I would like to say: "oooh,
this is so contemporary, contemporary, contemporary".
Pirici - Manuel Pelmuş
"An immaterial retrospective of the Venice
At the Greek
there is the film projection in 3 episodes of 11
minutes each entitled "History Zero
by Stefanos Tsivopoulos
I find the artwork interesting, although ambiguous: an indigent lives
searching in the trash some metal rubbish to sell, whilst an old lady
who lives in luxury creates origami flower bouquets using banknotes of
€200 and €500 to change the bouquet from the previous day, which is
then trashed into the bin. The poor guy then finds into the trash the
bag with the banknote flowers, he lefts his metal and goes away
A little story that can be seen as an exhortation to the riches to help
the poor ones, but also as an inexorable affirmation telling that nobody
can live without the money-god. The second hypothesis is supported by
the inscriptions in the pavilion hallway which are listing several
alternatives to money emerged along history: alternatives that wish
then to confirm the inevitability of these symbolical objects of
exchange. But the hidden concept everybody face is right the value
exchange: why that poor guy searches for metal to sell? For the money,
obviously. But the money what is good for him? To eat, obviously. And
then, wouldn't be easier to catch the food, of which Nature is full?
The exchange of values that has subjugated mankind is between the
ability to provide to one's own needs and those pieces of paper with
which you can impose your needs to others.
Greece, Greece... desperately in the hands of Troika.
Tsivopoulos, "History Zero"
Detail of the informative papers of alternative currencies and excerpts
from the film in 3 episodes
In the Israeli
there is the representation of an mysterious installation with
multichannel videos and sculptures immersed into an obscure atmosphere
getting us back to the esoteric world of "The Encyclopedic Palace".
The artwork recounts about an hypothetical subterranean travel (as from
Hebraic mythology) undertook by an Israeli group to arrive in Venice,
where they finally model with clay statues of their own heads.
Several references to realities and myths that come to mind, like the
subterranean influence of Israel on the international sociopolitical
scenario, the Golem (the clay statue that becomes alive on the order of
its own creator) which is traditionally mute, hence in this case it is
equipped of a microphone with which at last it would speak.
The thing turning all so disquieting is the final of the story, when
the travelers completely dirty and dusty exit as creatures of hades
through a hole in the soil coming to light of the outside world,
affirming the epiphanic theme.
Ratman, "The Workshop"
Some view on the installation
Ratman, "The Workshop"
Some moments from the videos
At the Pavilion
we find a complex exhibition of projects by Terike Haapoja
inherent the ethical limits that Man could or should have in altering
the world and the environment to bend it under his own needs. Several
artworks arranged like a botanical garden present sceneries of
interference between nature and technology, thermographies of animals
just deceased and measurements of CO2
, the much
mystified and vituperated carbon dioxide, that is what it once was
called simply carbonic anhydride, or that gas emitted by anything is
living or brething, a symptom of life.
Haapoja, views of "Closed Circuit -
Haapoja, global view of the Finnish Pavilion
No need to exit outside to enter the Danish Pavilion
where it is projected the videoinstallation "Intercourses
" by Jesper Just
in which, returning to
the elitist implications of this Biennale, I catch atmospheres evoking
the Rohmerian and Godardian Nouvelle
, but with paneuropeist taste.
some moments from "Intercourses"
coming back to earth, or well with the head in the clouds, we are again
between the usual contemporary art of minimalist post-industrial
manipulation that I personally find a bit trite and inconclusive: the Pavilion of
gives homage to the sculptor Wifredo Díaz Valdéz
Díaz Valdéz, sculptures, manipulated found objects
Also the Australian
is about on the same wavelength, presenting the
sidereal and taciturn pseudorealism of the sculptural artworks by
, who in
the photographs from the series "Eyes and
" casts anyway an inquisitorial light on the open quarries
that injuring the Earth.
"Lets Go, Lets Go", 2013
Collage and ink on 12 paper panels and wood
"Naughts" (detail), 2010
Objects in form of zeros found walking, variable dimensions
"Eyes and Storms", 2012, 2013
7 Ilfachrome prints from a series of 23, 125 x 125 cm
is the last edition when you could visit the characteristic Australian
Pavilion looking like bathhouses, since it will be demolished and
I find the same attitude for the astonished contemplation of things at
in the declaration of powerlessness expressed by the
accumulative coleccionism or archival addiction of Petra Feriancová
, which comes
fortunately combined to the loquacious video "Liberation
- or, alternatively: - Promethean Conquest - The Doctrine of Sediments
- What of matter? - What direction is matter taking? - Anarchive - The
Song of the Hoe - Communism of the senses
" by Zbyněk Baladrán
, which gives a
global meaning to this pavilion.
Feriancová, some views of the installation "An Order of Things II", 2013
So we arrive to the German Pavilion
hosting the artistar Ai
, Romuald Karmakar
and Dayanita Singh
Weiwei presents an enormous installation entitled "Bang
built with 886 old wooden stools that are filling all the cubature of
the room. The artwork has a characteristic style of other artworks of
him based on multitude. The handmade stool, common homely furniture in
the traditional China that here is seen as a metaphor of the
individual, today has been replaced by plastic objects produced
industrially: a denounce of the hypertrophic postmodern development of
Karmakar is present with some of his videos investigating the
mechanisms with which violence and other mass phenomenons generate.
photographic reportage by Mofokeng represents the places where the
South African natives gathered during apartheid to practice ancestral
rites, combined to the relics belonging to the introspective background
of individual memory.
Also the photographer Singh presents some artworks related to memory
and the past, themes characterising this pavilion.
886 ancient stools
Details of the photographic
Pigment prints (colour) and silver
gelatin (black and white) 1996-2012
Karmakar, some excerpts from the videos "Panzernashorn",
2013, "Hamburger Lektionen",
2006 and "Anticipation", 2013
Singh, "Mona and Myself",
is dedicated to Jeremy
who has arranged an eclectic and captivating multitude of artworks
revealing an interest for social issues of his country, but applicable
globally, although leading to the face-off instead of the communication.
This is a pavilion where you can enjoy some good Art nice to see,
intellectually stimulating and furnished of a clear and explicative
pamphlet, other than to sip the tea freely offered to all the visitors.
Deller, "The Sandringham Estate,
"Bevan tried to change the nation"
Photographs taken in 1972 during
the British tour of David Bowie and
the social unrests in Londonderry for the economic crisis
want to be invisible"
Banner for an hypothetical
manifestation in 2017
based on a diagram related to the financial
tool called "Jersey Cash Box"
"We sit starving amidst our gold"
William Morris in form of colossus throws into the Venetian laguna
the yacht Luna of the magnate Roman Abramovich
Whatever else could the English
Pavilion offer to visitors
if not a good tea?
is wholly for the very personal art by Shary Boyle
who dedicates her exhibition to the ones who have no voice, in any
senses, to which is addressed the introductory lyrical text, of which I
quote an excerpt:
"For the activists
For all the artists who
are not invited to show, whose work is not welcome here"
the pavilion you can feel a magical and poetic atmosphere, immersed in
the dark where an installation with light projection and some
sculptures appear like suspended in time.
"Onus Opus" [Duty Work] e "Bridge and Chorus", 2012
Porcelain on vintage record players and etchings
"The Cave Painter", 2013
Installation with sculptures and light projection
Then we arrive to France
that is presenting a music project by Anri
three videoprojections in rooms almost anechoic where the "Concerto for
the Left Hand in D major" by Maurice Ravel is interpreted by two
different musicians, who are at the same time mixed by a DJ in order to
find an overlap of the two interpretations compensating the
differences. The result is an extreme reinvention of the piece. In my
opinion the installation would have been more effective if just it was
used only the audio part: the video is superfluous and have a bare
"Ravel Ravel", 2013, HD video
projection on 2 screens, 20'45"
"Unravel", 2013 video projection on
2 screens in 2 separate spaces, 6'45" e 20'45"
I was very curious to know how would have been this year the Pavilion of Japan
after the extreme disasters of 2011, caused firstly by the tsunami and
then by the nuclear plant of Fukushima which as today is compromising
the environment even on a planetary level. The previous Biennale opened
just three months after the disasters, hence it did not reflected the
As expectable, all the work of Koki
is strongly marked by the consequences that Japanese society has
endured on those events. In the artist's mind, the message that his
country could say to the world and the attitude that his fellow people
should revalorise, is collaboration, the collective acting, the
inclination to dialog and the sharing of experience, other than a
higher attention for a parsimonious lifestyle, thus to the rediscovery
of simplicity. It would be nice if it were not necessary a catastrophic
event to wake the humaneness in people.
Surely these Tanaka's projects are very interesting, commendable from a
generic social point of view, but I hope that these collective actions
would not become ways to survive in helplessness, giving mutual relief
just to carry on mindlessly, without anger. Japan, as other countries,
is already known for certain recreations of collective idiocy, like the
Algorithmic March, and other Weapons of Mass Distraction.
I would have preferred an exhibition talking of the obscure ins and
outs of those events.
Excellent the large pamphlet dispensed to visitors, with all the
artworks deeply explained by the artist's words.
"a poem written by 5 poets at once (first
HD video, 68'30"
"painting to the public (open-air)",
Collective action / billboard
"a pottery produced by 5 potters at once",
HD video, 75' and ceramics
excerpts from "a haircut by 9 hairdressers
and "a pottery produced by 5 potters at
At the Russian
there is the play of the installation by Vadim Zakharov
the mythological protagonist who had a troubled life and a son,
Perseus, from Zeus, who fecundated her assuming the form of a golden
The artwork is much complex: at the ground floor there is a room where
can enter only women, who are supplied an umbrella to shelter from the
fall of coins coming from above. At the intermediate floor there is a
balcony, made with church kneelers, from where you can see the women at
the floor below. At the upper floor there is a man astraddle on a
saddle placed over an architrave of the room and who is eating peanuts
making a heap of shells on the soil. In the structure there is a
machine providing the coins' rainfall and a recovery system of the
dropped coins to refill the tank. Beside the installation, with which
the visitors can interact, there are some black and white photographs
of a coins in a strip and a strange wooden cabinet where in the inside
there is a white rose, evidently a symbol of pureness.
Over all it is emerging a writing rebuking males for their many vices,
thus seeming to favor the female, although some attending ladies felt
scorched by this artwork.
the Zeus' golden rainfall here become vile money, not much a magical
fertilisation, and also the white rose seems to exhort women to
pureness; thus the rebuke to men in this case seems more an exhortation
to a male who fell overwhelmed and subjugated by feminine beauty, till
to cover her with gold.
Ambiguity of the artists, thou exemplary in stating the ambiguity of
the real world.
Vadim Zakharov, some
views of the installation "Danaë",
definitely closed; someone informed me that they opened only during the
inauguration. On the outside there where several graffiti.
The Venezuelan Pavilion was closed. Some graffiti on the
At the Pavilion
, nation extraordinarily omnipresent in this and
the previous Biennale, the protagonist is Valentin Carron
Artist who already in the past essayed the religion theme, the
Catholicism in particular: this seems to put us back on the argument
exuding from all this Biennale. There are exhibited some bronzes
representing some flattened wind-instruments, a Piaggio Ciao moped as Objet Trouvé
some sculpture-painting inspired to the religious architectures of the
50s and a bronze serpent with the head at both ends traveling through
all the pavilion and welcome the visitors at the two entrances: without
doubts it resembles a cobra, the typical reptile adored by ancient
Egyptians. The serpent so vituperated by the Catholic Church.
The Swiss Pavilion for Valentin
Let us arrive to the Pavilion of Korea
dedicated to the Artist Kimsooja
pavilions where you must enter few at a time and with . I have a
especial antipathy for thoseparticular requests for the visitors, thus
I gave just a peek at the entrance to see an installation that
"breaths" always in the name of colour, but much distant from the
enthusiasm I had for the past edition.
"To Breathe: Bottari", 2013
Same fate for the Pavilion of the
that I visited lastly since there where always an endless queue, so I
postponed my visit almost at the closing time. It is another
installation like intricate crowd recalling a parascientific or
alchemic laboratory, assembled extemporising in three months by Sarah Zse
I do not know if this is a celebration of scientific research, but it
seems more the representation of an illogical and meaningless chaos.
To delay the entrance in small groups is good just to create the queue
and to induce who is seeing it to think: "look how many people, it must
really be a must see pavilion", but there is no reason to justify the
Also in this case I prefer that of the past edition.
The Yankee Pavilion for Sarah
Next stop: the Arsenale.
The Encyclopedic Palace by Marino Auriti
Entering the Arsenale we face the model to 1:200 scale of the
Encyclopedic Palace by Marino Auriti
reassembled for the occasion, which gives the title to this Biennale.
Few remarks: apart that to me it seems a version on steroids of the
Panopticon, the perfect penitentiary ideated by Jeremy
Bentham, evidently it is inspired to the classic representation of the
Tower of Babel, an often recurring figure in the context of certain
powers, as for example the European Parliament palace in Bruxelles, and
also around the Venice of the biennial, like in Atlantis
, the personal exhibition
of Maxim Kantor
We are going to dive again into the world of the occultism encountered
at the Central Pavilion in the Giardini.
The fact of having placed the Auriti's model at the Arsenale's
entrance makes me think that the exhibition itinerary starts from this
venue, whilst I have visited first the Giardini; in fact here we will
find artworks introducing with more discretion the esotericism theme,
which is much more explicit at the Central Pavilion.
Oddly, all around the model we find the photographs realised by J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere
who for years has portrayed the hairdos of Nigerian women. We could
find a nexus with the Encyclopedic Palace in the fact that these
hairdressings really are true architectures.
1977 and "Onile Gogoro Or Akaba",
1975/2010 di J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere
Silver gelatin prints
In the next room the real itinerary seems to begin: we commence with
Nature, starting from the biological diversity of the extravagant
expression of the Chinese Lin Xue
who draws with a stick sopped in the ink little fantastic ecosystems
populated by weird creatures; passing by the deception of the amazing
glass flowers photographed by Christopher
which was realised by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka for a botanical
museum, but reinterpreted by the photographer combined to countries
where in 1985 some people disappeared for political reasons: when you
say diversity; ending to Nature reformulated in the proteinic chains of
the sculpture by Roberto Cuoghi
a personage with a bizarre life who would not be in other places more
appropriate than this, since he is interested in the language and cults
of the Assyrians (the ancient people eternally tied to the Babylonians)
for which he created a large reproduction of a statuette of the Pazuzu
demon, characterise by a posture identical to the one of Baphomet, the
idol venerated in the occultism: the talk is reopened.
series of 12 untitled artworks, and a detail, 2012
Ink on paper
"Angola to Vietnam", 1989
27 silver gelatin prints
The nature continues to be protagonist also in the next room. The
aerial photographs by Eduard
landscapes seen from his hot-air balloon. Spelterini was the pioneer of
aerial photography, but toward the end of his life he fell from the
celebrity of success to the oblivion and indigence, since both
the photography and the aviation became a mass phenomenon: eternal
teaching for the ones who found their own research only on technology.
Another naturalist and expert photographic technician is Eliot Porter
, of whose have been
shown some of his very meticulous flying birds images.
The video "Kempinski
" by Neïl Beloufa
as he is used to, proposes an altered nature: apparently the pictures
may betray, making the artwork to seem a simple documentary, but the
words of the interviewee describe futuristic scenarios of evolution
toward a transhumanist technology.
Nature again in the trees precisely drawn by the singular artist Patrick Van Caeckenbergh
whose artistic expression, starred by metaphysical concepts too more
than it may seem, is characterised by a peculiar naturalist philosophy,
which is also very similar to the one of Antti Laitinen.
The paintings of Daniel Hesidence
are instead visions of nature, from the words of the artist himself,
based on “a n order symbolic and loaded of emotionality”, or
metaphysical reinterpretations of the nature through the unconscious,
and they can contain diverse cosmic dimensions, from the sea to the
atoms or the galaxies.
Started from Nature we begin to encounter again the world of occultism:
there are 35 of the more than 700 "Artures
by Yürksel Arslan
an artist sympathising the Surrealism and interested in mystic and
cryptoscientific disciplines, who using also biological matter (bones,
blood and urine) paints arcane alterations pseudo surgical, anatomical,
encephalograms and hypotheses of electronic psychiatric parapsychology,
intermixed to tables with sexual deviances, hermaphroditism, sociology
In the video "Grosse Fatigue
similar rationality/irrationality Camille
completes a work of cultural analysis comparing the experience of many
human ethnicities in an attempt to create a sort of global vision on
the human thought; something like an anthropological Encyclopedic
An attention for the study of Cosmos, thou much more humble and
naturalistic, is in the drawings by Ştefan
who observed and documented meticulously the life of a sunflower,
finding in it a cosmological synthesis of all the life in the universe.
At last, confirming the constant presence of thematics inherent to
esotericism, in the middle of the room we find the statues by Hans Josephsohn
, inspired to the
Hebraic myth of the Golem, thus to the caducity and deciduousness of
life from a demiurgic point of view.
Some aerial photographs, 1903-1911
Dry transfer colour prints
Some artworks from the series "Drawings of
Pentel 120 3DX - 0,5mm A315
Untitled (Maritime Spring), 2012
Oil on canvas
Arslan, some of the "Artures",
Pigments, earth, pencil and ink on paper
"Grosse Fatigue", 2013
Videoinstallation (colour, sound)
Chalk, felt-tip pen, ballpoint pen and pencil on paper
Untitled sculptures, brass
In the small adjacent room we find another sort of encyclopaedic
compendium: that are the films by João
and Pedro Aiva
who with the iciness of an entomologist quietly describe a world of
actions and gestures seeming to look any value and function, just as
they were ill-advised automatic reactions, the one withthe three
albinos speaking around the fire in particular.
Gusmão e Pedro Aiva
Selection of 16mm films (colour, silent), 2006-13
The next room seems to be dedicated to the contemplation of the past.
The sculptures by Phyllida Barlow
seem heavy rocks, but they are made of recycled materials very
lightweight, such as polystyrene and metal mesh. They are distracting
us momentarily from the heavy presence of the occultism and, at least,
the artist must be praised for being, I think, the only sculptress who
recycles also her own artworks,breaking them to create new ones!
Instead the bronzes by Matthew Monahan
seem to be, but they are not, frail and instable memories of the
culture of the past, as diaphanous presences in the way of disruption.
Also Kan Xuan
shows us the
past, the lost one of China, identifying it with the imperial tombs
represented in his massive 171 channels videoinstallation; just as Danh Vo
does with some relics pf Vietnamese and Italian churches. Both seem to
establish and celebrate the agony or the death of the ancient temporal
powers of the old order of monarchs and papacies, replaced by the
economical powers of the new order of individuals and multinationals;
which still power is: it simply recycle itself.
Very interesting the video "Once Upon a
" by Steve McQueen
who combines 116 images from the Golden Record by Carl Sagan, the disc
that the Voyager took into the space to explain our civilisation to
feasible alien entities, with a series of sounds and indecipherable
glossolalias. It seems that in countertrend this artwork criticises the
presumption of Enlightenment and scientific knowledge, but looking
better it criticises the content of the Golden Record, which
presents a nature too much natural or normal (the man, the woman,
animal biologym bucolic landscapes, etc.) and too few satanic.
The past is protagonist again in the video by Ed Atkins
realised starting from an archive film of the objects collection of
André Breton, who is portrayed in the mask at the entrance of the
Some sculptures from 2012
Polystyrene, metal mesh, polyurethane expanding foam, paint and other
Some sculptures from 2013
Patinated bronze and steel
171 channels videoinstallation
Vo, "Hoang Ly church, Thai Binh
Province, Vietnam", 2013, wood, steel and stone
Untitled (Christmas, Rome, 2012), 2013, velvet
"Once Upon a Time",
Sequence of 116 colour images, 70'
"The Trick Brain", 2012
Video, 5.1 surround sound, 16'
The scabrous and cynical atmospheres of Arslan are amplified to
psychedelic levels in the paintings of the young Jakub Julian Ziółkowski
visions of a metastatic cosmology that is pernicious, carnal and
Some paintings by Jakub Julian Ziółkowski and two
Oil on canvas or board
A nice discover is the one of the little known figure of the researcher
and philosopher artist Eugene Von
, who dedicated himself to scan macro and micro
transcendental cosmos to find back the human creative genius, stating: “He
would be one in a million who could force the brain to give up the many
secrets that it had inherited from thousands of years.”
In front of his paintings, almost as an antithesis, there are some
sculptures by Jessica Jackson Hutchins
cumbersome homely presences, disrupting symbolical relatives.
An oil painting on Masonite
Some portraits of the artist's wife, ~1943-60
Prints from slides
Paint, fabric, collage and glazed ceramics on leather sofa
"Lascaux", 2012, lounge chair,
Proceeding further we find the interesting sculptures of the young Shinichi Sawada
a Japanese artist affected by a severe form of autism. In topic of
diversity, it is nice to see how the skill of a "diverse" person could
enchant with his artworks that are disquieting and amusing at the same
time, proving the irreducible spiritual power of the person, but it is
sad to think that probably Sawada would have done the same art even
without the consequences on his social life he endures for this
syndrome of anthropogenic and iatrogenic causes.
Glazed clay sculptures
Then we arrive to the huge exhibition of the entire series of comics
tables by Robert Crumb
illustrating the 50 chapters of the Book of Genesis from the Hebrew
Bible. A graphical and materialistic work that, following stricly the
sacred writings without metaphorical interpretations, tastes of
cosmogonic mysticism and demiurgical dominion. It has raised
critiques for a subtle satirical sarcasm, which is ambiguous anyway,
and it reached the first place on the New York Times as best seller
comic. It is a work of exceptional proportions that required four years
of work, which reading on site would have took too much time.
"The Book of Genesis ILLUSTRATED",
presented his oneiric laboratory conducted together with the detainees
of the Giudecca's women's prison: a sculptural installation moulded
with the compost collected by the convicts and the audio of the
narrations of their dreams (but as for the other artworks not readily
available or imposing particular demands to the visitors, I would not
even dream to wait the only two plays in ordained daily hours, 11am and
4pm, as the rules imposed to convicts). Perhaps my impression could be
influenced by the permeating omnipresence of esoteric arguments, but
the artwork and also the title "I dreamt
that you changed into a
cat...gatto...ha ha ha
tastes much of witchcraft, recalling the traditional superstition
telling that witches can transform themselves into black cats,
wherefrom the convict females, todays' victims of the system, would be
like the sorceresses at the times of the Holy Inquisition, other than
the transformation of the compost into a work of art like the
alchemical one where lead becomes gold.
Other garbages are utilised by Arthur
Bispo do Rosário
a Brazilian who along half a century of staying at an psychiatric
hospital (for his declaration that he was appointed from Christ to
present to God what of this world he would have considered worthy at
the end of times) has realised an enormous amount of sculptures and
tapestries using recycled materials, some miniature ships included,
being once a Navy ensign. The value of the recycle is absolutely not
the point of his work, considering that it has been done in the past
century, but in this context it takes a symbolic valence of Noahic
preservation of the rejects.
"I dreamt that you changed into a
cat...gatto...ha ha ha"
Compost sculpture and audio, 2013
Bispo do Rosário
Some untitled sculptures and tapestries
Different recycled materials
More "garbages" or rejects are present in the video by the duo Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys
where the existential dramas of the characters, represented by sad
puppets, animate with anonymous computer voices in a squalid and
depressing small theatre.
Another artist inspired by a mystical vision is the Ivorian Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
who persuaded himself to spread with a picture syllabary the oral
traditions of his peple, the Bété, a tribal community with a social
order characterised by the presence of two chiefs recognisable for
cleverness, a meticulous opposition to marriage between relatives and
the high consideration and equal rights for women other than the cult
for maternal iconography, albeit men can espouse up to three wives
contemporaneously, even beating away the previous ones. The artworks by
Bouabré, behind the naïve and tribal appearance, hide sometimes
unexpected political contents of international level. There are more
artworks of him also at the Pavilion of the
There are also some paintings, pencil drawings and a tapestry of
another African artist, the Senegalese Papa
, the proponent of négritude
or the conservation of the primitive character of African people. He
has promoted a school deprived of a too much advanced education in
favour of an artistic expression free and tied to traditions: in other
words, to prevent cultural evolution of Africans keeping them in an
state of inferiority.
I do not say that cultural evolution is always good, but also to
deprive someone of the faculty to know is a way to subjugate him.
presents a video on the transmission of people's spiritual values
through some places of devotion in the world.
Gruyter and Harald Thys
"Das Loch" [The Hole], 2010
The Bété syllabary
Ball-pint pen and crayons on paper
A tapestry by Papa Ibra Tall
"Übertragung" [Transmission], 2007
Video (colour,sound), 43'
In the next room, the memory is still protagonist, but in a mnemonic
sense: the video by Aurélien
tells about the theatrical feats of a mnemonist, revolving around the
Theatre of Memory by Giulio Camillo, with ample references to the
magical power of those representations.
From magic to occult the step is short: we completely enter again in
the mysticism with the short film by Tamar
and Kasper Akhøj
based on a map realised by a spiritist Brazilian community that locates
the spiritual colonies and the "transitory cities" of the country.
"Camillo's Idea", 2013
HD video (sound), 26' 18"
Guimarães e Kasper Akhøj, "A
Familia do Capitão Gervasio" [The Family of Captain
16mm film (black and white, silent), 14'
I have not get the meaning of the video "Ricerche:
" by Sharon Hayes
other than the citation of the Pasolinian cinema verité, but after all
the artist herself declared to have no clue where would end this
project, in an interview recorded during the development of this video.
Also the meaning of the huge installation by Matt Mullican
was quite cryptic, but in the official interview the artist conceded
many explanations, thou being still extremely weird: the artwork is the
manifestation of the thought of a personage or alter ego
he calls "That Person" (risen during his researches on hypnosis and the
irrational) which is in an isolation state, it is virtual but wants to
be real, it sleeps but wish to wake up.
Typologically similar is the work by Michael
but with an intent apparently tied to the encyclopaedic concept and
related to an analysis of the alimentary-materialistic needs of modern
Hayes, "Ricerche: three",
HD video, 38'
Untitled "(Learning form That Person’s
Installation with drawings and photos on isometric paper and sheets,
objects and performances in video
"Lebensmittel" [Food], 2006-10
protagonist with an entire room crowded by his sculptures, keeping his
monolithic and well-known concept of the bodily transience as "ark"
rowing across the soul: a mass of dismembered and skeletal person with
closed eyes, as an army of dormant and passive zombies. Not wanting to
contradict the veracity of the fundamental concept, I personally find
these artworks a bit nihilistic.
One of his sculptures is present also in the video "History Zero" by
Stefanos Tsivopoulos which is visible at the Greek Pavilion.
90 polyethylene sculptures, acrylic resin, metal and paint
A bit like it happened in the previous edition for the parapavilions
, we arrive in a space
curated by a single artist, in this case by the icon Cindy Sherman
, who has selected the
artworks of the following names: Enrico
, Miroslaw Nalka
, Hans Bellmer
, Vlassis Caniaris
, James Castle
, George Condo
, John DeAndrea
, Jimmie Durham
, Linda Fregni Nagler
, Phyllis Galembo
, Norbert Ghisoland
, Yervant Gianikian e Angela Ricci Lucchi
, Duane Hanson
, Herbert List
, Paul McCarthy
, Pierre Molinier
, John Outterbridge
, Carol Rama
, Charles Ray
, Hans Schärer
, Karl Schenker
, Jim Shaw
, Laurie Simmons and Allan McCollum
, Drossos P. Skyllas
, Rosemarie Trockel
, Günter Weseler
and Sergey Zarva
other that the ex-voto of the Sanctuary of Romituzzo, the Haitian
Voodoo banners, the Paños (pillows) drawed by Mexican detained in the
U.S.A. and obviously some photographic albums of the collection of
This space by Sherman is perhaps one of the most disquieting and it
continues the concept introduced with Althamer amplifying and elevating
it to limits of the thought bringing to consider the human body almost
a raw matter, impure, abusable, exploitable, comparing it to that of
puppets, dolls, dummies and inanimate semblances (or Golems), returning
also on the atmospheres of the woman as object, lobotomiseddoll.
Strolling in this fair of oddities , we find the surprising giant model
by Ray, some etchings of Bellmer, mostly known for his mannequin dolls,
representing erotic interpenetrations and internal views of bodies; we
find the photos that Schenker did to his fine vitrine wax mannequins of
delicate ladies as much idealised as verisimilar, and near the photos
that List did to the bizarre medical and historical mannequins from the
disused Panoptikum at the Prater of Vienna; the visually romantic
watercolours by Rama, some of which have been already seen in a
previous edition, with women bodies amputated or in sexual behaviours
as much deviated as innocent; the fetishisms and the erotic perversions
photographed by Moliner with women as dolls and creatures with
ambiguous sexuality; a hyperrealistic mannequin by Hanson; there are
the photos that Simmons and McCollum did to some minuscules models of
people in 1:220 scale that enlarged seem like human faces and bodies
disfigured and in suppuration; we find the disquieting and archetypal
madonnas by Schärer along with the disquieting vintage photographs of
babies impended by the spooky presence of their own mothers cloaked in
the background; there is a dolls house, theme present also at the
Central Pavilion, realised by Gober and offering to the visitor a
panoptical, ghostly and Hopperian vision on the meagre human existence;
there are the photographs of people wholly hidden behind costumes and
masks by Galembo and the video by Gianikian and Ricci Lucchi that with
some old toys reveals all the violence of the human society that is
inclined to hatred and war; the painting by Condo represents a mother
with bird's head, recalling the prehistoric myths of the bird-woman.
At last there are some sculptures: the gorgeous painted bronze by
DeAndrea, which cold and realistic matter really makes us to ask
ourselves what is the human body, beside the huge puppet by McCarthy
which is openable to see the viscera, and a wooden marionette by Durham
dedicated to Jesus, partially covered of mud and with the erect penis,
suggesting his earthly materiality.
We close with a sculpture by Bałka representing a monstruous pope, as
mummified and with his characteristic headdress coming from the ancient
Assyrian myth of the Oannes, the terrible fish men, entitled to the
Black Pope, that according to some traditions is that pope devoted to
Satan, but more effectively is the Superior General of the Jesuits, the
highest authority of the Company of Jesus.
"Fall '91", 1992
Some photos of the wax mannequinsby
One of the photos of the mannequins from the Panoptikum
Silver gelatin prints
Simmons and Allan McCollum
"The Actual Photos", 1985
Cibachrome prints, 32 artworks from a series of 51
Some watercolours on paper, 1939-1946
Some black and white photos and collages, 1965-1971
"Listen to Maternal Voices (Portrait of
Oil on canvas
Oil and various materials on board
ex-voto from the Sanctuary of Romituzzo
Poggibonsi (Siena), XVI-XIX centuries
"Doll House 4",
Wood, paint, Plexiglas, corrugated cardboard, stones, cement, glue,
"Bus Stop Lady", 1983
Polyvinyl policrhomed in oil, mixed media with accessories
"Jesus. Es geht um die Wurst"
[Gesù. Or all or Nothing], 1992
Wood, iron, steel, ink, paperm acrylic, mud, glue
"Children's Anatomical Educational Figure",
Fabric, wool, found object
"Ariel II", 2011
Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi
"Ghiro ghiro tondo (Carrousel de jeux)",
Betacam SP video (colour, sound), 60'
"Czarny papież i czarna owca"
[Black pope and black sheep], 1987
Wood, carpet, fabric, steel, paint
The four videos by Ryan Trecartin
a superficial and schizophrenic youth world dominated by the television
culture and by the digital relations, full of talk shows, realities and
sport programs, dense of subtle forms of competition, violence, sexual
antagonism, consumerist materialism. They are videos made with a
critical spirit that for the people subdued to these mechanisms are
indeed adding and mixing to the rest, bloating the waves of that stormy
sea. The booth is something like a miniature mall, projected with many
sofas where you can rest, placed as usual at the middle point of the
next room is thematically dedicated to industry and artisan production,
to technology and to digital: there are the industrial materials of the
sculptures by Alice
; the humorous installation "Analogue
Broadcasting Hardware Compression
" by Simon Denny
revealing the systematical deceit of technological evolution functional
to consumerism; the cold black digital textures by Wade Guyton
, the compositions by Channa Horwitz
subjected to the
binary canons of informatics, the monochromatic panels by Prabhavathi Meppayil
made with copper wires soaked into gypsum, which recall to me the
invisible omnipresence of electric cables into the house walls; the
large format collages by Albert Oehlen
realised with advertising pages and images related to consumerism and
mass marketing; lastly the reproductions of some monochromatic IKB
paintings by Yves Klein made by Pamela
starting from computer pictures of low quality where the imperfections
are emphasised in the several steps of the digital printing process. A
video by James Richards after some sequences of symbols representing
money, technology and sex, ends on a parakeet trying in vain to take
off shocked by the flashes of a stroboscopic light: quite a
remarkon all we have seen in this section.
"Analogue Broadcasting Hardware Compression",
Detail of an artwork by Channa Horwitz
Plaka on Mylar
Detail from untitled artworks, 2011
Inkjet prints on linen
One of the untitled collages, 2009
Collage on paper
Richards, "Rosebud", 2013
Single channel video (black and white, sound), 10'
Then we enter a section in darkness, full of videos and installations: Mark Leckey
proposes a videoinstallation with objects of archetypal powerful
magical symbolism, supporting that technology will row us across to a
is present with a video and some sculptures, them too related on the
objects, trying to expose the mystifications of many consumerist
everyday furnishings, but that are assuming the characteristics of
amulets, like apotropaic idols.
At last we find the apotheosis of the occult symbology in the mega
mural projection by Stan VanDerBeek
taking us back on the esoteric track with a huge selection of videos
and films perspiring, encyclopaedically, all the traditional mystic
intelligence: places and personages tied to masonries, simulacra of
ancient deities, Egyptian stylemes and hypnotic lysergic psychedelias,
doll-women and sexual objects in bodies without conscience, and so on.
"Orchids, or a hemispherical bottom",
Video with sculptures
Leckey, "The Universal
Addressability of Dumb Things", 2013
VanDerBeek, "Movie Mural lisa filme",
Selection of videos and 16mm and 35mm films
Also in the video by Yuri Ancarani
(banally a surgical endoscopic operation done with the Da Vinci robot,
in remember of the personage associated to the Illuminati), the aseptic
and icy medic technology enters the soft body of man who is bearing
upon the technology to survive: a transhuman vision per se.
Some lighting installation by Otto
that barely brighten the totally dark room take us in
other obscure and nihilistic rooms: the videoinstallation by Dieter Roth
who is the subduing protagonist of an Orwellian video controlling
system that have recorded every single aspect of his private life in
the last years of life, is a sad ascertainment of how the need of an
individual to be protagonist, who is subduing to the desires of the
voyeuristic spirit of the others, is the key for which people are
falling into the trap of privacy demise. Bruce Nauman
can not be absent, with one of his actions examining the apparently
aimless behaviours, in this case with an autohypnotic and estranging
spinning of the head emitting a sort of mantra, clearly a reference to
the whirling Sufi and other oriental disciplines.
Roth, "Solo Szenen" [Solo
Videoinstallation, 131 monitors, 3 wooden racks, 131 VHS videotapes
"Da Vinci", 2012
HD video, colour, 5.1 surround sound, 25'
Piene, "Hängende Lichtkugel",
and other lighting installations
"Raw Material with Continuous Shift-MMMM",
Videoinstallation, videoprojector, colour video screens, variable
From darkness we come back to light, but not that of the artwork by Walter De Maria
partial recycling of another huge installation of Land Art that in this
case has been conceptually reconfigured as a symbolic interface between
reason and instict.
Maria, "Apollo's Ecstasy",
1990, 20 solid bronze rods
We are arrived to the end of the main thematic exhibition's ride and
from here the Arsenale hosts the other national pavilions present in
the two main venues.
presents two videoinstallations by Akram Zaatari
inherent to war,
as one would expect from that massacred country.
excerpts from "Saida June 6", 1982,
16mm film, 80"
and "Letter to a Refusin Pilot",
2013, film and video installation,
presents the installation by Alfredo Jaar
" with which he
complains the obsolete structure of the manifestation based on
subdivision into national pavilions.
sinking and reemerging of the Giardini's model, combined to the
photograph of the Lucio Fontana's studio destroyed in the bombardment,
recalls the Arabian Phoenix's myth, the force of will that resuscitates
from its ashes.
"Venezia, Venezia", 2013
Installation, metal pool, model of the Giardini to scale 1:60,
Lightbox with a portrait of Lucio Fontana in his studio destroyed
during the war, 1946
is occupied by an installation by Petrit Halilaj
realised with mud and tree branches coming from Kosov which seems like
a nest or cocoon acting as home for two canaries that until a short
time before were in the artist's studio and as wardrobe for a dress of
canary yellow colour. The artwork talks of the inadequacy of these
little beings if left free in the nature as a parallelism with the
human being that hence would be too inadequate for natural life
and needing a protection, a shelter. At the time of my visit there were
no traces of the canaries but thousands of defecations on the floor.
"Analogue Broadcasting Hardware Compression",
As to continuing the topic on human abilities, the Pavilion of
proposes the series of videos by Ali Kazma
investigations on the endurance of human body to different social
customs to which people submit, like the tattoo, the UVA rays tanning,
the body building, the Shibari, et cetera.
excerpts from the videos "Resistance",
at his debut, proposes instead the work of three national artists, in
order to offer more opportunities to new generations. As you would
expect, the theme of woman and her social condition in an Islamic
country is predominant: from the paintings by Marian Haji
who deals the antagonism
between genders, to the photos by Waheeda
by now a bit trite, representing women cloaked into their black abayas
who face everyday life. And at last a note on nomadism with the
collages of the documentarist photographer Camille Zakharia
(detail), 2013, charcoal, crayons, pigments and paint on paper.
270 x 800 cm
Malullah, serie "A Villager's Day
Out" (detail), 2008,
digital prints on paper
"c/o" (detail), 2013
Photocollage on paper, 152 x 584 cm
is based on the concept of Sakti
, the primordial generating
force, surely related to the skill of the six actual artists (Albert Yonathan
, Sri Astari
, Eko Nugroho
, Entang Wiharso
, Rahayu Supanggah
which artworks are arranged in an atmosphere seeming to amalgamating
into a conceptual unicum: a curatorial project very well devised and
with an emotional impact.
Unluckily there are no information materials.
Details of some sculptural installations, evoking conflicts between
detail of the installation with huge books on wooden desks
In the background: Albert Yonathan,
installation, labyrinth of ceramics
Astari, installation detail with
marionette-dancers and symbols of Eros and Thanatos
In the Pavilion
there are the videoportraits by Kaspars Podnieks
that seem to
criticise the immobility or the inability to react of the rural
society, and an installation by Krišs
denouncing the colossal pulling down of the forests,
once considered pride of the country.
Videos from the series "Rommel's dairy",
Videos and digital prints 200 x 140 cm
"North by Northeast", 2013
Installation, wood, metal, motor, electronic components
At the Pavilion
of the Istituto Italo-Latino Americano (IILA)
did not fell out the habit: by entering you find yourself like into a
clashing Pachinko room. A tunnel with many video artworks and amplified
audio that create a dazing cacophony. Arrived almost at the end of the
exhibition itinerary, it is hard to ponder other than the traditional
artworks also the too many videos.
One of the most striking project is the video in form of commercial
advertising the perfume "U
" created by Martín
using floral essences coming from the garden cultivated by the
Uruguayan President Jose Mujica. The 90% of the proceeds of the one
bottle of perfume will finance the first National Fund for Contemporary
Art, on the wave of the presidential example for he is donating the 90%
of his wage to housing projects; the usual demagogic propaganda that do
not discuss the social order established and fundamentally unfair (a
personality of such level has much more involvements and interests into
global economical and financial spheres, and he can easily pass over a
miserable official wage of $12,000.) Also this video and the bottle
itself are stuffed of esoteric-masonic subjects: from the pyramid with
separated cuspid to the scenes evoking those from the movie "Eyes Wide
Shut" by Kubrick.
Sastre, the perfume "U from Uruguay"
and some excerpts from the video, 2013
Apparently opposed it is the provocative video "ADN
" by the artistic collective Quintapata
where it is criticised the scientific method in the scenery of mass
control, warning of the Orwellian implications of the personal DNA
tracing, which can be gathered even from a chewed chewing-gum.
Important work, although it is handled too lightly. The visitors have
been invited to taste the chewing-gums made available and then sticking
them on the video screen as a disparaging act, but indeed doing an act
"ADN", 2013, videoinstallation, 27'
In the middle of the room we find two floor installations; Lucía Madriz
realised a mandala with rice grains and legumes all rigorously organic,
representing a molecule of hemoglobin overlayed to one of chlorophyll,
revealing how much similar are the fundamental bricks of life, both
animal and vegetable, then alerting us about the GMO invasion infesting
presenting instead "Campo de Color
a more romantic, sensorial and aromatherapic multitude of colours and
fragrant spices, which, counterbalancing the sweetish smell of the
nearby chewing-gums, floods the room with a comfortable scent.
"Vitalis (Chloros phylon-Sanguis)"
[Vital (Chlorine Blood breed)]
Installation, rice, dried organic beans and peas, 3 x 400 x 500
"Campo de Color",
Installation, pigments and spices
Instead, in my opinion, it is deplorable the artwork of the Italian Luca Vitone
"Il sol dell'avvenire
[The sun of future] which appoints the money as a way to freedom and
progress for the mankind toward a "new world". Beside there are,
apparently opposing, the prints by Guillermo
representing the poetry of a vanishing world
overcome by modernity.
"Il sol dell'avvenire", 2012-2013
Tableau, woolen fabric, paper and various materials, 100 x 150 x 100 cm
Pigment prints, 80 x 100 cm
done a documentary work on how it is expressed the individual freedom
sentiment of the persons confined, yet again, in a prison; a research
comparable to the one we did for the 2nd edition of the Toilets Pavilion
which investigates the free expression of the people "confined" outside
art. Also the video by Susanna Arwas
examines the manifestations of folk expression through the graffiti she
photographed in Venezuela.
instead realised the sculpture "Third
a reproduction of the soviet capsule Sputnik 10 realised with cans and
other garbages picked around El Salvador; it is not known if this is a
denounce or a derision or an exhortation.
6 photographs from the series, 100 x 100 cm
Cloth, found aluminum cans, plastic, light, sound, 140 x 500 x 80 cm
The video "Orientación
[Orientation] by Christian Jankowski
where tens of citizens are blindfolded and oriented to one of the
characteristic mountains of Montevideo, knowing the continuous
recurring to masonic references that is pervading the Biennale, really
seems a mass ritual to evoke the rite of initiation of the new adepts
of Masonry, whom eyes are blindfolded before to enter into one on the
Lodges, also called Orients.
Also the video "Blak Mama
", as in a
sort of Dante's Divina Comedia for Latinos, is stuffed with references
to mysticism, to deviating habits and to "esoteric journey", or that
itinerary that the adept undertakes toward enlightenment.
On the contrary, the video-object dedicated "A
la tumba perdida de Andrés Castro, a los héroes sin tumba de Nicaragua
[To the lost tomb of Andrés Castro, to the heroes of Nicaragua without
tomb] by Marcos Agudelo
evokes the heroism of the small ones against the powerful ones, as
David defeating Goliath.
The video "Knock Out
" by Jhafis Quintero
instead shows the fight against oneself, of which I ask myself what
would the aim be, but probably it focuses on the outdoing of one's own
abilities, an oxymoron that we should instead reformulate as outdoing
of one's own sloth.
On the same point and as previously dealt with, also David Zink Yi
" investigates on the limits of
the human body, along the lines of the performances by Jochen Gerz in
Next some excerpts from the various videos.
Bucher, "The Second and a Half
Dimension", 2010, installation,
HD video (colour, sound), 9' and black and white print, 70 x 90 cm
"A la tumba perdida de Andrés Castro, a
los héroes sin tumba de Nicaragua", 2008, videoinstallation,
video-object, lava block with iPod slot, 12 x 10 x 8 cm
Alvear and Patricio Andrade, "Blak
HD video (colour, sound), 95'
Quintero, "Knock Out", 2012
Video DVD, 11'
"Ghost Chaco", 2009, video (colour,
Farocki and Antje Ehmann
"Labor in a Single Shot",
2012-2013, video, 15 chapters, 19'68" totally
"La cadena de los tiempos II",
2013, photographs on video
Video (black and white, sound), 8'25"
Exited from the IILA Pavilion, there is the curious videoinstallation
by Erik van Lieshout
drive-in to watch some interviews filmed in Tanzania on the right for
Lieshout, "Ego", 2013
Videoinstallation, HD video, LED screen, cars
Then we enter into the Pavilion of
presenting the project Polar
by Tavares Strachan
dedicated to the Arctic continent and to the culture of its
inhabitants, they too subjected to the effects of globalisation.
One of the neon sculptures of the triptych "Here
" receiving visitors at the entrance was broken.
Despite the noble stated intent,in the essence of its narrative syntax
I find ambiguously macabre the video "40
Days and 40 Nights
of the series", where a choir of Inuit
children disappears leaving an empty stage. Also the collage drawings "Constellation
represent creatures in extinction, composed with a delicate pointillism
of subjects from various cultures twined with numbers recalling the
ones on patent's drawings, referring to genetic engineering with which
some would like to patent life.
It is amazing the sculpture of blown glass plunged into mineral oil "How I Became Invisible
reproducing the skeletal-circulatory system of Mathew Hanson (one of
the two Yankees who first reached the North Pole), but unfortunately it
is not properly reproducible in photos.
The installation "The Difference Between
What We Have and What We Want
a block of Arctic ice" is surely the most praiseworthy for it is
criticises the crave for wanting what one do not have even at by moving
mountains and waste a lot of energies: has been brought up to Venice
and maintained into a shrine with a cooling system (but running on
Strachan, "40 Days and 40 Nights",
view of the Pavilion of Bahamas
"The Howl", series "Constellation", 2013
Paper, pigments and Mylar on Plexiglas
"The Difference Between What
We Have And What We Want"
Two refrigerated ice blocks
is hosted into a structure realised for the occasion by Gio Sumbadze
on the style of the parasitical architectonic extensions built by the
population to broaden their own apartments in the Georgia out of
control after the fall of the Soviet Union. These structures, right to
stay into the Masonic Lodges theme, are called Kamikaze loggias
These informations in themselves represent the thematic most
interesting element of this pavilion, whilst the proposals of the other
artists hosted in the inside (which have a minimalist post-industrial
look totally shabby), thou related likewise to social themes, stay
confined in universes too relativistic and closed.
Global view of the Georgian Pavilion
Inside view of the Kamikaze Loggia
"Religious Aerobics", 2010-2013
After the last edition excessively poetical, surprisingly the Chinese Pavilion
is monolithically involved with the consideration on the existential
condition in a totalitarian and oppressive world, insomuch even Ai
Weiwei could have took part in it, although there is some transhuman
But this is the sign of transformation in progress in their
society, which anyway leads to a permissive relativism and to
powerlessness in front of the economic powers. China wants to prove it
is tolerant, but also technopathic
with no less than a small aeroplane in the video "Limitless
" by Miao Xiaochun
that with a mephitic gas trail transforms humans and fruits into
digitised statues, and a posthuman cyber-Judgement Day.
We find the disconcerting photographs by Wang
disquieting infernal visions of people into school classrooms, at the
emergency room, in the libraries; but also the all-beautiful paintings
by Tong Hongsheng
no less than Buddhist subjects, to remind the never healed wound of
Globally this pavilion promotes a human evolution toward the posthuman
cybernetic existence, representing at one end a natural and physical
world made of suffering, and to the other end a limitless and aseptic
virtual space, even through the spiritual transition of nihilism.
Would you like to be dematerialised to born again
digitised into a virtual system where to endure as electronic entities
that continue to pay taxes for the eternity? Bravo...
Qingsong, "Temporary Ward"
and detail, 2008
Lightbox, 180 x 300 cm
Qingsong, "Follow You", 2013
C-print, 180 x 300 cm
A painting by Tong Hongsheng
with the technique of Vermeer
Xiaochun, "The Last Judgement in
C-print in two parts
3D computer animation, 10'
Xiaotao, "Sakya" ["Pale
Earth", one of the Tibetan Buddhist schools], 2011, computer animation,
Xiaotao, "The Adventure of Liang
Liang", 2013, computer animation, 11'51"
2008, computer animation, 34'06"
More installations of the Chinese Pavilion are at the outside: "The Sea Water of Venice
" by He Yunchang
invites to grab one of the available bottles with seawater leaving
another one with other seawater; the relocation of a temple in Hui
style with which China would prove the interest for their traditions
despite the frenetic transformation; and a sort of small Great Wall
made of transparent bricks with words and phrases from Chinese culture
translated automatically by Google, perhaps to say that for Western
people it is not easy to understand certain aspects of their country,
but in this telematic context the artwork surely omits the government
"The Sea Water of Venice", 2013
Glass bottles, table, seawater
(All the original bottles have been replaced by the visitors with
"Guge Bricks 1500", 2013
1500 slogan and words on transparent bricks
not available: this is the second, and not the last, we
Pavilion of Argentina was closed: lack of substitution personnel?
of United Arab Emirates
Messianically entitled Walking on Water
" by Mohammed Kazem
an immersive installation with a high sea panorama and a platform with
GPS coordinates. The sea expanse is very exciting, but the tracking
Global Positioning System, another tile toward the creation of an
Orwellian world, express the absurd (and encyclopaedic) obstinacy of
man-scientist in reducing Nature into something indexable, definable or
of South Africa
is very ample.
Charming and proud are the persons photographed by Andrew Putter
who catalogues the
various ethnic groups of black people.
Similarly Zanele Muholi
portrays visages of persons with a nonconventional sexuality. The
political instrumentalisation of personal sexual inclinations has come
to South Africa:if really one wants to have acceptance, what is the
point in continuing to propose these distinctions?
An old pass booklet for black people photocopied by Sue Williamson
, the collages by Sam Nhlengethwa
,the video by Penny Siopis
, the paintings by David Koloane
and the video "REwind
" evoke the apartheid times that
has left, despite it is by now a closed chapter, a mark in the spirits
of black people. Johannes Phokela
paints ancient Western nobles without face on a background of
to rebuild the actual cultural context of her country with some false
gold reproductions of objects coming from three collections, two of
colonial kind and one of the natives.
Amazing the book sculptures held together with the help of bolts
created by Wim Botha
"Native Work", 2012
15 silver gelatin prints 50 x 35 cm
17 digital images on screen
"Faces and Phases",
Series of 200 prints on paper
"The Journey", 1998
Series of 19 acrylic and oil paintings on 29 x 42 cm papers
"Glimpses of the Fifties and Sixties",
Series of 30 collages and mixed media on 36 x 47 cm papers
Series "Collar II",
oil sketches on paper, 77 x 59 cm
"Son of a rich man", 2006
Miller, Gerhard Marx and Maja Marx
Audiovisual installation with monitors and headphones
Clay, gold spray and silk velvet
"Obscure White Messenger", 2010
Single channel digital video, sound, 15'04"
"Study for the Epic Mundane"],
2013, books and stainless steel, 155 x 188 x 183 cm
Senza titolo (Serie "Witness I",
2011, African encyclopaedia, wood and stainless steel,
45 x 21 x 22 cm
"Generic Self-Portrait as an Exile",
2013, dictionaries and stainless steel, 46 x 32 x 27 cm
And then we arrive to the Italian Pavilion
which is quite ample too and that shares the external space with the
installation of China: Piero Golia
with "My gold is yours
casts a smart provocation mixing some gold powder into a monolith of
cement inviting the visitors to detach pieces to take away, whilst we
can see the traces of the performative installations by Sisley Xhafa
acted during the inauguration.
Also in the inside there are installations as remains of performances; Marcello Maloberti
is present with
two cryptic totemic artworks: "La voglia
" [The mad desire], a marble monolith where there acted
four performers with beach towels, and the series "Bolidi
[Meteors or Racing cars] made of weird bar tables, studded belts and
yellow melons that have been used by some fifty people. Nearby, the
artoworks "La Cupola
" [The Dome]
and "Rome Bone China
" by Flavio Favelli
evoke the Roman
Catholic culture hinting to the advancing of the Chinese economic
"La voglia matta", 2013
Marble rock, beach towels, fanzine
In front some of the "Bolidi"
Some of the "Bolidi", 2013
Wooden bar tables, mirrors, belts, melons
"La Cupola", 2013
Sheet metal, wood, glass, neon
"Rome Bone China", 2013
Decals on vintage plates
several artists have been subdivided into groups of two coupled
following opposing definitions, from which the title of the pavilion
Again conceptually cryptic are the two opposing artworks on the theme perspective/surface
by Giulio Paolini
and Marco Tirelli
Paolini, "Quadri di un'esposizione"
[Squares of an exhibition],
2013, pencil drawings and various elements on wall, dull white base,
Plexiglas shrine with etched drawing, 36 Plexiglas sheets
Tirelli, untitled, 2013
Mixed media on paper, bronze, wood, plaster, mirror, glass, plasticine,
clay, brass and burnt wood
In the background: Giulio Paolini
huge installation by Marco Tirelli reintroduce the topic of esoterism,
temporarily interrupted with the national participations, with symbols
and objects related to the mystical-scientific-alchemical world: the
owl, the guillotine, the compass, the alembic, the dissections, et
Tirelli, untitled, 2013
More details of the installation
Also the artwork "Piccolo sistema
[Small system] by Gianfranco
(a minimal apartment/studio including a bed) proposes
again the scientific research as human salvation in the thematic system/fragment
which has as
opposing artwork "The
" by Elisabetta
expanse of 10,000 bricks made with the clay coming from the places
flooded of Polesine and marked with the names of the space debris
orbiting around Earth listed in a dedicated catalogue) that depicts a
menacing, hostile and merciless nature.
Baruchello, "Piccolo sistema",
Structure of wood and various materials
Benassi, "The Dry Salvages",
~ 10,000 bricks, sand, book
The previous two artworks can be conceptually summarised by "Due
" [Two] by Massimo
, consisting in an itinerary with two alternatives: a
plain and even way impended by the writings ASCOLTARE [TO LISTEN] and
CAMMINARE [TO WALK] and that it is leading nowhere, and a rough rise
combined to the writing CANTERELLARE [TO SING SOFTLY] from which you
can see an opening to a compartment which is inaccessible thou. The
words are the ones by Giuseppe Chiari and include also PIANOTER (to
thrum in French), placed at the start, and FANTASTICARE (TO FANTASISE)
placed in the inaccessible room. Also this artwork seems to be related
to the initiation path and to the existence in an occult sphere which
access is not easily reachable. In fact the mirages offered by the
Multi-Level Marketing, by religions and other hierarchical structures,
all versions of the pyramidal exploitation existing in thousands
flavours in our morbid society.
The artwork by Bartolini, in the opposition sound/silence
it has been twined "Fe2O3, Ossido ferrico
" by Francesca Grilli
, an performative
installation consisting of an iron plate which is eroded by a water
dripping driven by vocalisations through a microphone: an allegory of
the will and of the endurance.
Bartolini, "Due", 2013
Bronze casts and the 5 artworks by Giuseppe Chiari "Ascoltare",
"Camminare", "Canterellare", "Fantasticare", "Pianoter"
Grilli, "Fe2O3, Ossido Ferrico",
Performance, iron plate, water, voice, microphone
For the subject view/place
the work "Viaggio in Italia
[Travel in Italy] by Luigi Ghirri
a collection of photographs shoot by 20 photographers between 70s and
80s, is coupled to the olfactory and invisible "per
" [for the eternity] by Luca Vitone
, consisting in the
diffusion of three rhubarb essences in the pavilion spaces (that at the
time of my visit I did not perceived thou) in memory of the invisible
menace of asbestos still persisting in Italy.
coupled the huge heap of earth, equalling the weight of the one dug to
bury the corpses in several mass graves and placed in some wooden and
iron monoliths by Francesco
, with the performance "Ideologia
" [Ideology and Nature] by Fabio Mauri
, an enervating
striptease that, although raising consensus among more intellectual
persons for the appreciable conceptual subject against subjugation and
totalitarianism, it will raise pressure and raise up something
more to basically sadist.
Ghirri, "Viaggio in Italia",
117 photographs realised by 20 photographers
Arena, "Massa sepolta"
[Buried mass], 2013
80 m³ of earth, wood, cement, metal
"Ideologia e Natura", 1973,
I wanted to end the visit to the Arsenale with the debutant Pavilion of
the Holy See
to which the Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi gave
the obvious title In principio
[In the Beginning]. Apart the three artworks by Tano Festa
that inevitably refer to
the "Creation of Adam" and the " Original Sin" from the Michelangelo's
Cappella Sistina, the pavilions is subdivide in three child themes
assigned to three artists: Creation
to Studio Azzurro
to Josef Koudelka
to Lawrence Carroll
The Studio Azzurro arranged an interactive videoinstallation talking
about nature and the life condition through the words of people on the
screens that can be activated with the touch, among which there are,
yet again, also convicts.
Koudelka is present with some excellent black and white photographs
exploring several sceneries of destruction: from the war to the urban
decay, to the pollution, to the exploitation of the environment. The
photographs have been placed on the floor, perhaps as a sign of blame
Carrols has been assigned to Re-Creation
probably for the way he realises his artworks through multiple
processes and the use of recycled materials. He is exhibiting some
untitled white paintings, of which one is frozen under a layer of ice.
Synthesising the Vatican Pavilion is little communicative and
expectable. I would have expected less catechistic messages, and an
initial impact more emotional and spiritual, whilst indeed after all it
seems they have just venally promoted the artists to whom the
collection of Holy See is betting.
Anyway, the Church, presumed guarantor of that ethics of Creation and
natural orthodoxy, with a pavilion so weak, or maybe for a matter of
numbers, it does not succeed in counterbalancing the charming world of
illusion and magic proposed in the rest of the Biennale, then becoming
subservient to that.
Festa, untitled, 1979, photographic emulsion on canvas fixed on
board and enamel, 162 x 200 cm
Azzurro, "In Principio (e poi)",
Some photographs by Josef Koudelka
Some paintings by Lawrence Carroll
With this chapter the visit to the main venues closes. Next destination:
But if you want to have a vision really global on the artistic panorama
present at the Giardini and the Arsenale, you can visit also the
The extreme observatory on the most popular and less considered form of
Outsider Art, that we launched during the previous edition of the
Biennale, this year returns even richer, with more artworks left by
visitors inside the rest rooms of the Giardini and the Arsenale. You
find the review of the 2nd Pavilion of the Toilets of the Biennale
d'Arte di Venezia in this page
participations and collateral events
Outside the two main venues, the mystical atmosphere vanishes, taking
us back of the planet of what is real.
To review the exhibition offered during the Biennale, between national
participations and collateral events, not counting the alternative
exhibitions, would need a limitless time, but let us see the shows that
to me are more interesting and worth a visit.
Not to be missed is the Pavilion of
with the show of an impressive multichannel
videoinstallation, or to better say on film, where Richard Mosse
tells, in a perfectly
lucid way and with a very clear summarising narration, about how are
insinuated into the naturally harmonious tribal culture of native
people of Congo those deviating habits and behaviours typical of the
modern man to push them into the trap of the self-destruction and of
A punch in the stomach of war business! My compliments, excellent work,
both for the contents and for the beauty, entirely filmed on infrared.
Captivating, poetical and dramatic.
"Beaucoup of Blues" [Many Blues]
and detail, 2012
Infrared digital photograph, c-print, 182,8 x 228,6 cm
"The Enclave", 2012-2013
16mm infrared film transferred on HD video, 39'25"
Very beautiful the Pavilion of
that without hesitations speaks of religious creeds.
This pavilion hosts also the Mobile
determined to debate the urgent sociopolitical
Some artworks from the series "Mistakes in
Right Lines", 2013
Pencil and oil pastel on paper, 192 x 150 cm, and two silkscreen prints
on paper, 180 x 150 cm
2013, ink on Fabriano paper, 144 x 95 cm
2013, ink on Fabriano paper, 100 x 105 cm
Zvavahera, "His Presence",
2013, ink on Fabriano paper, 151 x 114 cm
Thebe, "Sunrise with Mermaid",
2013, acrylic on canvas, 126 x 104 cm
installation, charcoal and acrylic, variable dimensions
Of the Mobile Emergency Room
I recommend the artwork by Mads Vind
"Natürlich Ist Nicht Gut
[Nature Is Not Good], which title is a phrase told by Peter
Brabeck CEO of Nestlé, the bust seems right the one of Brabeck to
which it has been put in the mouth a GMO corn cob; but all the artworks
are very important for they face real emergencies.
Two views on the Mobile Emergency Room
"Natürlich Ist Nicht Gut", 2013
Plesner, "Syrian Lullaby",
Untitled (Egyptian women standing for their rights), 2013
of Angola Luanda
has been awarded with the Golden Lion as best
national participation, for “the
curators and artist who together reflect on the irreconcilability and
complexity of site”
, that to me seems rather an encouragement
prize for this first edition; anyway there are several interesting
artoworks. The protagonist artist, Edson
, placed on the floor several piles of prints with
typographic reproductions of his photos on urban social research which
which you can assemble your own catalogue of preferred artworks,
obviously paid. In the same rooms there are some precious ancient
artworks belonging to the exhibition venue.
Chagas, series "Found Not Taken",
Photographic reproductions, typographic prints on paper
Mayembe, "Vuata Nkampa Ku Makaya Katekela", 2006
Wood, 110 x 75 x 67 cm
Lukene, "É agora que é Futuro?"
[Is it now that is Future?], 2010
Mixed technique on canvas, 99 x 99 cm (closed)
Kabenda, "Quadro 8", 1995
Mixed media, collage on wood
91 x 118 cm
Very various the Pavilion of Iraq
country massacred by the invasion that justly still can not find rest
but where art and life seem not to be annihilated for the tragic
We find recycle art realised more as a denounce of the poverty than for
aesthetic pleasure, immanent memories maybe nostalgic of Saddam
Hussein, lives of political dissidents, visions of ancient bucolic life
and more: a little biennale with many sofas where to have a moment of
"Saddam is Here",
Photographs, variable dimensions
"Another Life", 2010
Cartoon series, 2003-2013
Ink on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm
Bicycle parts, 59,5 x 104,5 x 47,3 cm
(Yaseen Wami, Hashim Taeeh), untitled, 2013
Cardboard and various materials, variable dimensions
"Date Sellers", 2011
Oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
"The Love of Butterflies", 2010
Very interesting also the Pavilion of
The entrance to the Pavilion of Azerbaijan "Carpet Interior", 2013 has been created
by Farid Rasulov
The exceptional "projecting" sculptures by Rashad Alakbarov
offer a charming
point of view on chaos and order.
Alakbarov, "Miniature", 2013
Installation, iron, projector
Installation, iron, projector
Two different points of view of the artwork "It
is not chaos", 2013
Installation, iron, projector
Kitsch effect for the photos by Fakhriyya
, for the ones loving this genre.
Instead the artwork "Blank History
has a solemn atmosphere: an multitude of historical symbols of several
totalitarian and religious regimens laying in the dust (there are
which are impended by a carpet without texture, symbolising the need to
begin to write a new history.
Wedding: "Girlish Dreams", 2013
52 digital photographs, wooden frames
"Blank History", 2013
Cement, woollen handmade carpet, lime
of Bangladesh Supernatural
in spite of the naïf appearance of some artworks, transmits a planetary
level message of peace between populations and harmony with nature,
with so much simplicity that all the tragedies caused by men appear
even more absurd. There are also artworks of other international
In the same venue Officina delle Zattere there are other interesting
"Jungle of humanity", 2013
"Activities in school time", 2013
Lala Rukh Selim
"Life on the delta", 2013
Wood, pillows, iron, dried red chilli
peppers, hay, synthetic hair
"Save the nature",
Mixed technique on canvas
I recommend also the delicate, soft and comfortable Thai Pavilion
that does not follow the guidelines of the Encyclopedic Palace, but it
proposes independent thematics. You will find the installation "Poperomia
" by Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch
and "Golden Teardrop
video and an interactive sculpture by Arin
Views of the installation "Poperomia",
bricks, ceramics, woollen thread
of Croatia Between sky and
proposes the existential research based on dream by Kata Mijatović
. A show full of
performances in video.
Mijatović, "I am not conscious",
C-print on Dubond, 70 x 105 cm
Mijatović, some excerpts from videos
and global view of the pavilion
The cage where visitors are
invited to write their dreams
A view of the pavilion
Also the Ukrainian
Pavilion Monument to a
is rather interesting, as often it is with Post-Soviet
countries: politic thematics, cultural evolution of the present,
memory and inheritance from the past.
Granite, 45 x 20 x 30 cm
Excerpts from "Shelter", "Father's story" and "Monument"
"Monument to a
"In solitude", 2012
Installation, A4 paper, ball-point pen
of Bosnia and Herzegovina The
Garden of Delights
presents several artworks by Mladen Miljanović
on death and
immortality, among which a reinterpretation of the painting "The Garden
of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch.
Miljanović, "The Garden of Delights",
2013, HD video, 5’48’’
Miljanović, "A Sweet Simphony of
Absurdity", 2013, HD video,
our Economy and Culture
: two witty looping videos with the enervating discussions
really existed between politicians and artistic directors on which
project to choose for the decoration of the palace of People's
Assembly, and an eloquent installation made with small middle-class
living room paintings over a wallpaper of insects called Anophthalmus hitleri
no-eyed"], a blind coleopter species endemic of Slovenia.
view of the Pavilion of Slovenia
Excerpts from the videos "Fruits of Our
Land" and "Framing the Space"
Details of the installation
Nearby there is also the Central Asian
which was not possible to visit thou: this is the third
and last national participation that this year we have found closed in
full opening hours.
Pavilion of Central Asia was closed
: a large dimension installation that, in
opposition to the actual socio-political guidelines subservient to the
globalised economy of labour, evokes the risks of migratory fluxes,
this is to say the contagious diseases as the great pestilences that
many times have marked human history. From the commercial exchanges on
the Silk Road travelled by the Venetian Marco Polo, to rats.
on the installation "Silentio Pathologia"
by Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva
Other ambient installation are shown by Irena Lagator Pejović
at the Pavilion of
, which has received a mention from the jury. Indeed
this pavilion seems to close the esoteric lapse, for we can find again
connections to the esoteric themes of the Encyclopedic Palace: we start
with the gilded threads in "Further
" that are barely visible into a dark room, as if
they were the invisible weaves of a plot not clearly visible or
esoteric, or maybe a metaphor of the spiritual life after death; we go
through another totally darkened room, "Image
" where there are tiny small holes from which you can see
the external light seeming a virtual cosmos reflecting along with your
image onto the mirror floor, making you feel to be immersed into that;
we arrive in the room of "Ecce Mundi
[Here is the World] of total dazzling white, which walls, ceiling and
floor are decorated with many tiny little men stylised as if they were
frames of people spinning into the void, suggesting the anthropocentric
and Illuministic though of human centrality in cosmos.
Lagator Pejović, "Ecce Mundi",
Drawing and print on canvas, ink, pencil, neon, wood, 306 x 306 x
Esoteric atmospheres also for Catherine
, selected artist for the Pavilion of
where I see an attempt to ,reconcile subversive culture of youth masses
to the mystic oligarchy of the elites: like in a concert of The Beatles.
Lorent, some views on "Relegation"
Detail of one of the hermaphrodite statuettes with the colours of the
The permeating presence of esoteric themes in all this Biennale
justifies an interpretation with a mystic key also for the Icelander
: it is an ambient installation where an architecture
finely decorated with regal patterns, evoking the Baroque and Arab
styles, interpenetrates the exhibition venue not being part of it, as
if the two structures were belonging to different dimensions but
momentarily visible simultaneously; it seems an allusion to the
existence of occult realities and societies.
of the installation "Foundation" by
, another debut of this year, is also a little biennale,
with many different artworks, although it has been criticised for the
scarce presence of artists from Kenya and too many from China, but it
is anyway a pavilion full of interesting artworks, of which many are
inherent to nature.
"Savana 3", 2012
Acrylic on canvas, 107 x 152 cm
over Venice", 2013
Photographic prints from performance, 120 x 80 cm
Fan Bo, "The Flowers Blow and Fade", 2011, oil on
canvas, 230 x 120 cm
Chinese colour on paper, 155 x 200 cm
2010, bronze, car paint, 201 x 60 x 50 cm
bianca" [The white mask], 2013
Tempera on canvas, 110 x 160 cm
Aluminium, 135 x 135 cm
Zhengjie, "Floating Floras
Classic Series No. 01", 2010
Oil on canvas, 210 x 210 cm
Ling & Liu Ke
Installation with video
Two steps away from the Kenyan Pavilion there is the exuberant
installation by Bill Culbert
"Front Door Out Back
" for the New Zealander
: almost a set-up for tourists but showing also
awareness for ecology.
Culbert, some views on the installations of "Front Door Out Back"
is surely the most extravagant: a boat docked at the
Riva dei Partigiani all covered by Joana
with tiles illustrating a panoramic view of Lisbon
before the earthquake of 1755. The floating artwork weighs the anchor
everyday to make a short route toward Punta della Dogana.
Vascolcelos, "Trafaria Praia",
tiles hand painted
For who have an interest in nature, I recommend the collateral event Rapsody in Green
with artworks by
Chinese artists, among which the incredibly detailed paintings by Huang Ming-Chang
Ming-Chang, "Paddy in Autumn"
and a detail, 1994
Oil on canvas, 140 x 202 cm
Painted iron and steel wool, 150 x 50 x 40 cm
"Destiny of the
Green Grass", 2004
Painted iron and steel wool, 207 x 103 x 20 cm
Pavilion The Unconnected
that have reached its third edition, is not effectively a national
participation and it is not even present any more among the collateral
or official events of the Biennale, thus it has been "downgraded" to
self-managed event, but on the other hand it is sited on an venue
easier to find and reachable afoot, in Dorsoduro.
Expecting a totally virtual and immaterial exhibition, it is surprising
that it has been dedicated instead to people not connected to the
internet and that the shown artworks are basically paintings or related
to painting; it is yearning the video on smartphone where it is
simulated the painting of the framed scene or person. The same venue is
materially decadent and romantic.
This U-turn toward physical seems to be produced by an identity crisis
typical of the telematic means and the result of a dichotomy of who is
hanging the balance between the flight into the unknown of the change
and the safety in the solid land of tradition.
I do not consider internet a place or a territory of belonging, but
just a means of knowledge and also of expression; perhaps it is also
this misconception that can have determined this afterthought of the
technophile initiative; a bit like to organise an exhibition of just
spatula painting; personally I have a more traditional vision of
Pavilion, in the way of territorial belonging.
Anyway this weakness seemed prophetically already written in the
artworks of Miltos Manetas
himself (the inventor and Guru of the Internet Pavilion and protagonist
of this edition), so tied to the physical reality; in particular, the
oil painting "Sad Tree
" of 1995,
with three cypresses of which the third one is bent downward, just like
Nice the excellent and in-depth free catalogue, where thou there is a
long and pompous description of a Münchausen-like travel that Manetas
did around the world to meet personages more or less influential, from
Los Angeles to the desert of Sinai and with a mystic final: very
interesting, but at the same time it seems like an excusatio non petita
to justify the
Manetas, untitled (The
Oil on canvas, 300 x 600 cm
Manetas, "Looking at the Blackberry",
2013, oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm
Painting Enrico Ghezzi on the Blackberry, 2013
Another collateral event not to be missed is Lost in Translation
, a large
exhibition of Russian artists focusing on the interpretation of
artworks hard to understand for their strict correlation to the context
where they were created. The excellent captions describing all the
artworks permit an in-deep reading and a reconstruction of the
interesting Russian artistic sphere from 70s up today.
Komar, "The Perfect Slogan",
Oil on cardboard, 75 x 300 cm
Elagina, "Magum Opus Laboratory",
1996, installation, paper, watercolour, ink, fountain pen, pencil,
plywood, encaustic, paperboard, wood, metal, stamp, bone, glass, plastic
"Girl from the Urals", 2012
Single channel video, 9'05"
"Structured Space", 2012, single
Kossolapov, "Malevich - Marlboro",
1997, acrylic on canvas, 122 x 108 cm
Kulik, "Tolstoy and Hens",
Wax, fabric, wood, glass, stuffed hens, oil
270 x 200 x 150 cm
Faybisovich, "Bundle under
Pine-Trees. Double Session", 2001
Three channels videoinstallation
Dubossarsky and Aleksandr Vinogradov, "Golden Fish", 1994, Oil on canvas, 200 x
Bratkov, "Slogan", 2010,
digital print, neon, 180 x 635 cm
"LONG LIFE TO THE EVIL OF TODAY FOR THE GOODNESS OF TOMORROW"
As already written in the preface, I consider this Biennale an
epiphanic dawn of the esoteric occultism, a revealing of an ancient and
neglect metaphysical mysticism dense of iconographic topics and symbols
typical of the masonic, cabalistic, alchemical-scientific and satanic
cults belonging also to the so called Illuminati, or the tradition of
Promethus or Lucifer, the bringer of light (of knowledge) stolen to
Anyway, I find this epiphany a wan self-commiseration: right the ones
who would represent the opposing force of rebellion against a god
father and master show, as in any religion, that romantic languor of
decadent self-celebration, of contemplation of the Self and of the
splendid or luckless times.
At the end it is all a bailamme
where all is mixed up: the metaphysical and humanist Illuministic
mysticism to the deadly, sadistic and nihilistic cultist deviations.
Surely, if this exhibition wants to be the summary of that world, then
it has been an excellent opportunity to observe its all-embracing
panorama that maybe could never be seen in a so encyclopaedic way; but
it could leave many people even more confused on what are the intents
of magic esoterism or the self-determination of Man, if there is a
doctrine for one's own spiritual evolution or if, as I affirm, the
doctrines represent the error, the immanent imperfection from where to
start to follow philosophically the perfection.
Surely, the divergence between who believes on a heavenly vision of
earthly life (in the natural configuration of life to be preserved as
it has been given) and who believes on an existence aimed to the
evolution toward infinite possibilities (in the voluntary break of
natural limits), you can evince how much is unite anyway this mankind
that enters into the discussion on where to go; as if the change would
be possible only all unite.
At last, I wonder what would say, or he have said, Philippe Daverio
about this Biennale, considering that there is an ample argumentation
on initiation themes, topics that the critic has often dealt with.
Daverio was rather sarcastic in saying his opinion on the previous
edition curated by Bice Curiger, defining it a feast of folk
entertainment, and also this one follows more or less the same trite
scheme with the play room, the witches room, the dark room, the wonder
Indeed, Daverio has always somehow criticised the Biennale di Venezia,
and after all I too agree that Art must not be entertainment and that a
Biennale like the Venice one should rather be simply a convention for
artists, a forge where to create thinking.
Going to more materialist aspects, the admission ticket price this year
has lifted to €25 for Giardini and Arsenale, and to €80 for the
permanent pass: too high.
Furthermore, since the Biennale has the subsidy of the State, it would
be good if Italian citizens would get at least a discount, or even free
admission, in the bargain nowadays art culture of Italian people is
Not to be missed: Irish Pavilion The
by Richard Mosse - Fondaco Marcello, San Marco 3415