Thursday, July 14, 2011

Venice Biennale: Illuminations

Venice Biennale: 54th International Art Exhibition - ILLUMInations.   The 54th International Art Exhibition, titled ILLUMInations, directed by Bice Curiger and organized by la Biennale diVenezia chaired by Paolo Baratta, is open to the public until November 27th, 2011. The Exhibition, spreading over 10,000 square meters between the Central Pavilion in the Giardini and the Arsenale, comprises a single display featuring 83 artists from all over the world. Four participants have been asked to create the parapavilions, sculptural structures mounted in the Giardini and at the Arsenale to house works by other artists (see blog further down). By adopting the title ILLUMInations the Venice Biennale also aspires literally to shed light on the institution itself, drawing attention to dormant and unrecognized opportunities, as well as to conventions that need to be challenged. ILLUMInations points to light, a classical theme in art that closely relates to Venice. Equally, by accentuating its spurious suffix “nations”, its semantic scope is not only broadened to embrace the real world and socio-political dimensions, but it also highlights the distinctive character of the Venice Biennale with its national pavilions.
Note: perched on the La Biennale logo above some of the 2000 embalmed Pigeons by Maurizio Catellan’s the rest can be spotted thought-out the Central Pavilion in the Giardini.

 Photograph by Francesco galli - courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. The director of IllUminations, Bice Curiger is an art historian, critic and curator of international exhibitions. Her curatorial activity at Kunsthaus Zurich parallels her important work in the publishing sector. In 1984, she co-founded the prestigious art magazine “Parkett”, of which she is editor-in-chief. She has been publishing director of London Tate Gallery’s magazine “Tate etc” since 2004.

photograph by Manfredi Bellati

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations - Golden Lion for Best Artist. Golden Lion for the best artist goes to Christian Marclay (United States, 1955; on display at the Corderie, Arsenale) The Clock, 2010.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations - Silver Lion for a Promising Young Artist.  Silver Lion for a promising young artist goes to Haroon Mirza (United Kingdom, 1977; on display at the Corderie, Arsenale and at the Central Pavilion, Giardini).
Above:  Haroon Mirza, The National Apavilion of Then and Now, 2011.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. James Turrell, Ganzfeld Piece, 2011.  "I like working with light and using it so that the spectator can physically percieive how the presence of light occupies a space.  I want to use sunlight, moonlight, starlight to give more energy to a work of art." Nature and art unite in order to form a complete work of art, in harmony with nature.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations.  James Turrell's art dealer, Gianfranco Schiavano of the Galerie Hausler Contemorary, Munich/Zurich.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Monica Bonvicini, Untitled (15 Steps to Virgin), 2011.  The artist achieves physical freedom through her art, a protest against power of politics and the media.   Her strong, everyday-life objects appeared in international exhibitions and prestigious museums: chains, cages, glass cases, walls, polystyrene floors and working tools.   Her large installation at the Arsenale is made of platforms, prints and pieces of wall-furniture, partially inspired by the complex stairs represented in Tintoretto’s Presentation of the Virgin painted between 1553 and 1556. 

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Monica Bonvicini, Blind Protection, 2008-2009. 

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Urs Fisher, Untitled, 2011. Installation, which involves  three 1:1 sized wax candle sculptures.  

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Urs Fisher, Untitled, 2011. Installation.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Urs Fisher, Untitled, 2011. Installation.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Spazio Numero 13, 2011.  Simple geometrical shapes express the desire of shaping precisely a material that, by its very nature, tries to resist to any conceivable shape.  On the wall, the moon, projected as a light source on dark space.   Everything slowly dulls, in an interior more and more permeated by subtle reminders.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations - a detail.  Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Spazio Numero 13, 2011.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Nicholas Hlobo, Limpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela, 2011.  This South African artist cuts, fuses, rips and recomposes heterogeneous materials and creates complex artworks.  His installations are characterized by the experimental use of various recycled materials.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations - a detail. Nicholas Hlobo, Limpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela, 2011.

 Venice Biennale - IllUMInations - a detail. A corner from the Cindy Sherman room in the Giardini, Untitled installation, 2010. 

 Venice Biennale - IllUMInations.  Gabriel Kuri, Communications Diagram, 2011. 

 Venice Biennale - IllUMInations. Llyn Foulkes, Mr. President, 2006.

Venice Biennale - IllUMInations - Tintoretto. Three works by Tintoretto are part of ILLUMInations: The Last Supper (from San Giorgio Maggiore Basilica), The Stealing of the Body of St. Mark and The Creation of the Animals (above, housed in the Gallerie dell’Accademia). The three canvases, granted as a loan by the the board of Venetian museums, are on display in the main room of the Central Pavilion in the Giardini.   “Tintoretto’s art," Bice Curiger highlights "is unorthodox and experimental, distinguished by dramatic lighting. The inclusion of these paintings in the Biennale is founded on the conviction that, with their visual and expressive directness, they still possess the power to engage a contemporary audience.”

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