Saturday, June 08, 2013

Venice Biennale 2013: Giardini – National Pavilions


Venice Biennale 2013: Giardini – Russian Pavilion.  Vadim Zakharov’s Danae installation in the Russian Pavilion, curated by Udo Kittelmann, has united the upper and lower floors of the pavilion in a single project. The theme of the installation turns around the ancient Greek myth of Danae. Vadim Zakharov: “The installation has two points for viewing, in the central hall of the Pavilion a large square hole has been made in the ceiling of the lower exhibition space, and an altar rail with cushions for kneeling has been built on the upper floor, around the hole. Kneeling and looking down, we fall into another semantic and poetic space, into which golden coins fly from a pyramid ceiling.” 

Russian Pavilion.   Vadim Zakharov adds, “Below we see women with umbrellas, which protect them from being struck by the coins. The lower hall can only be visited by women. This is not about sexism but merely follows the logic of the anatomical construction of the myth. What is masculine can only fall inside from above, in the form of golden rain. The lower level of the Pavilion is a “cave womb,” keeping tranquility, knowledge, and memory intact.”

 Russian Pavilion.   “A falling shower of gold makes reference to the seduction of Danae as an allegory for human desire and greed, but also to the corrupting influence of money. Through his artistic staging, Zakharov allows this ancient myth to find a contemporary temporal dimension. Philosophical, sexual, psychological, and cultural fragments become concentrated into a theater-like overall composition throughout the Pavilion rooms. The time has come to confess our Rudeness, Lust, Narcissism, Demagoguery, Falsehood, Banality, and Greed, Cynicism, Robbery, Speculation, Wastefulness, Gluttony, Seduction, Envy, and Stupidity.”  Curator Udo Kittelmann said.

Venice Biennale 2013: Giardini – British Pavilion.  The British Council presents English Magic, a new exhibition by Jeremy Deller, which was conceived and created for the British Pavilion and curated by Emma Gifford-Mead. The exhibition reflects the roots of much of Deller’s work, focusing on British society - its people, icons, myths, folklore and its cultural and political history. He weaves together high and low, popular and rarefied to create unique and thought provoking work.
Above:The Sandringham Estate, Norfolk, UK – 24 October 2007.

Courtesy British Council – photograph by Cristiano Conte

Jeremy Deller


British Pavilion. English Magic addresses events from the past, present and an imagined future. Deller frames these instances in a way that is contemporary but also true to the original subject, weaving a narrative that is almost psychedelic; hovering delicately between fact and fiction, real and imagined.
Above:  Bevan tried to change the nation. Various cities and towns across the UK, 1972-73.

British Pavilion. “We sit starving amidst our gold.”  Represents long dead Victorian designer and socialist William Morris throwing Roman Abramovich’s 377-foot yacht, Luna, which was moored outside the Giardini, into the Lagoon.

British Pavilion. English Magic, a new film work by Jeremy Deller, forms a major part of his exhibition The film brings together many of the ideas behind the works in the Pavilion, featuring visual and thematic elements that reflect Deller's interest in the diverse nature of British society and its broad cultural, socio-political and economic history. The music is performed by the Melodians Steel Orchestra and was recorded in Studio 2 of Abbey Road Studios in London.
Above. Ooh-oo-hoo ah-ha ha yeah. Abbey Road Studios, London 18 March 2013. 

British Pavilion.  The Small Faces. A selection of Neolithic hand axes, dated around 4,000 BC, found  along the Thames Valley.

British Pavilion. True to British culture, a good “cuppa tea” was offered, and most appreciated.

 photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

Venice Biennale 2013: Giardini – United States Pavilion. In the United States Pavilion, Sarah Sze’s Triple Point Installation co-commissioned by Holly Block executive director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts and by critic and independent curator Carey Lovelace. Since the 1990s, Sarah Sze has developed a sculptural aesthetic that transforms space through radical shifts in scale, colonizing peripheral spaces, engaging with the history of a building, and altering the viewer’s perception and experience of architecture through large scale, site-specific interventions.

United States Pavilion. Sze approached the pavilion as a site of live observation and experimentation; much of the exhibition evolved on-site over a three-month installation period. Elements from the urban landscape of Venice, photographs of stone, leaves from the Giardini, tickets from the vaporetto, were collected to serve the growth of these installations. Small fragments of the sculptures were dispersed throughout shops and roofs around via Garibaldi, to be discovered by chance within the fabric of daily life.

Co-commissioner Carey Lovelace, artist Sarah Sze, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Richard Armstrong and co-commissioner Holly Block, executive director of The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

The United States Pavilion

 photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

United States Pavilion. Triple Point brings together many of the ideas that Sze has developed during her practice. Central to the exhibition is the notion of the “compass” and the desire to locate ourselves in a disorienting world. Each of the rooms of the United States Pavilion functions as an experimental site, in which objects attempt to become instruments or assemblages that seek to measure or model the universe. The aspiration to model complexity—and the impossibility of that undertaking—is a key theme in Triple Point.

 photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

The United States Pavilion

Venice Biennale 2013: Giardini – Spanish Pavilion. Lara Almarcegui represents Spain with a large installation in the Spanish Pavilion, curated by Octavio Zaya, which includes a research project on the island of Sacca San Mattia on Murano.

  Photograph courtesy Spanish Pavilion

Spanish Pavilion. The work of Lara Almarcegui starts from the awareness of the city, fallow land and buildings as a starting point for reflection on the evolution of the urban area itself and the elements that compose it. With committed projects, which explore modern ruins, abandoned exercise areas, the mountains of rubble through the creation of guides, maps and brochures, Almarcegui has exhibited her work in various capitals and participated in international contemporary art events.

Spanish Pavilion. In the pavilion, a large sculptural installation interacts with the architecture of the building occupying the whole interior. The intervention consists of heaps of different building materials, corresponding to the same size and type that were used to erect the building itself in the last century.  

Spanish Pavilion. A big mountain, made up of concrete debris, tiles and bricks turned into gravel, occupies the central hall, making it virtually impossible to access the space. Other smaller mountains, each made of a single material (sawdust, glass and a mixture of steel slag and ash), are placed in the rooms perimeter, where the public can circulate around the main heap.  "The materials come from from demolition, after being subjected to a process of recycling, have been turned into gravel through the system of treatment of the materials currently used in Venice," says the artist.

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