Oct 04 2011

Venice Biennale: Giardini Pavilions

Giardini Pavilions top

Yes, I’m back from Venice, and am still recovering from mosquito bites (there are hardly any mosquitoes in the UK, so my body reacted pretty badly)! Mr T and my main reason for this short Venice trip was to visit the 54th Venice Biennale, an art extravaganza that showcases exhibitions from 89 participating countries, held every two years.

Giardini Pavilions 1

This year, the Venice Biennale ‘ILLUMInazioni (ILLUMInations)’ is curated by Bice Curiger, and runs through November 27th (yes, it’s not too late if you wish to visit there). If you are new to the Venice Biennale, well, it’s huge. I mean it, it’s just HUGE! The main venues are in Arsenale and Giardini area, but there are also various exhibition venues scattered around the city. Today I’m going to share some photos I took in Giardini pavilions.

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@ Netherlands Pavilion: Opera Aperta / Loose Work by Barbara Visser, Herman Verkerk, Johannes Schwarts, Joke Robaad

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@ Central Pavilion: Classroom: Partial exercises by Nicolas Paris

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@ Central Pavilion: Hippy Dialects (Ourhouse) by Nathaniel Mellors

When these heads suddenly started to talk, I nearly wet my pants!

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@ Central Pavillion: by Maurizio Cattelan

These stuffed pigeons artworks were spread throughout the central pavilion.

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@ Central Pavillion: #Jan25 by Norma Jeane

These graffiti was made from a tri-colour Plasticine block (as in the second photo). The visitors were encouraged to touch, move and make something with the plasticine.

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Entrance of cafeteria @ Central Pavillion: designed by Tobias Rehberger

The cafeteria was designed for the 53rd Venice Biennale (2 years ago), so it was a nice surprise to see it still there :) The inside of the café is super cute as well.

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@ US Pavilion: Algorithm by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla

After seeing hundreds of artworks in a few days, this was the one that stuck in my memory the most. It’s a custom-made pipe organ – but with an ATM inside!

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That’s Mr T withdrawing some money from the ATM (yes, it actually works!). Every time someone uses it, the pipe organ plays musical soundtracks. I heard that during the first three days, more than 10,000 Euro was withdrawn from this ATM!

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@ Danish Pavilion: Quatrosopus by Han Hoogerbrugge (a video animation)

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Outside of the Israeli Pavilion: One man’s floor is another man’s feelings by Sigalit Landau

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@ Czech Pavilion: The Sleeping City by Dominik Lang

OK, I am not really a sculpture fanatic, but I loved this installation of collective sculptures (the photo above is just a small part of the work). The artist has transformed and re-constituted some works of his father (who was also a sculptor).

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@ British Pavilion: I, Impostor by Mike Nelson

I’m a big fan of Mike Nelson, a British installation artist, so I was over the moon when I heard that he was chosen to represent Britain at this year’s biennale. He has transformed the whole building of the British pavilion completely, turning it into grimy, dream-like, complicated, thought-provoking spaces. It was such a shame that I could only take photos of the courtyard (it was too dark to take photos inside).

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@ Japanese Pavilion: teleco-soup by Tabaimo

I didn’t know anything about Tabaimo, a young Japanese female artist, until I saw this video installation. The way she used the exhibition space was very clever: both the interior and the open space beneath the pavilion is connected by a well, and her hand-drawn, multi-channel animation is projected in the mirror-panelled walls. Totally surreal, and it was the best video installation of this year’s biennale for me.

Phew, I still feel my belly full from all these artworks I’ve seen in such short times! I will be sharing more photos from Arsenale (hooray for contemporary art!) as well as some touristy ones throughout this week :)


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