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Biennale Post 5

Gabriel Kuri always makes me chuckle, and I was glad to see his works in the Venice Pavillion at Giardini. He makes art that is unexpected and witty with an everyday element. I appreciated these materials and concepts very much.

Three Arrested Clouds

Three Arrested Clouds detail

Communication Diagram

Biennale Post 4

I loved the Chilean showing at the Biennale so hard, but I will do my best not to gush. The project is called Gran Sur by the artist Fernando Prats. His work really touched me with its physical nature. He imbues his work with the essence of sites affected by the 2008 Chaitén volcanic eruption and the huge earthquake in 2010. He creates paintings by rubbing large papers on the edges of cracked homes, leaving them curbside on a rainy day, or throwing rubble at the blank pages. His search for beauty in the wake of these natural disasters seems restorative, a kind of artistic rehab. Ah, sometimes my words are so unsatisfactory! Here, let me show you.

The paintings resulting from these actions:

Then there’s the Elephant Island project that thrills my adventuring, 8 year-old boy heart. Fernando Prats re-purposes the words that Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton printed in a 1911 advertisement for his Antarctic expedition:

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”

These neon words were installed on Elephant Island on the site of the famed Endurance shipwreck.

They’re outside the Chilean Pavilion too, as a still-relevant challenge.

Sigh, I love how hopeful this art makes me feel. As a last word, here’s an enlightening interview with Fernando Prats.

Biennale Post 3

One of the best things I saw in Venice was an external Biennale exhibition, Anish Kapoor‘s Ascension at the Basilica di San Giorgio. I can’t say it any better than the blurb from the Art Map so I will copy it here:

“Anish Kapoor presents a site-specific installation in the Palladian basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore: a column of white smoke rises. A cross between the sacred and profane, the smoke is also an ephemeral boundary between substance and the immaterial.”

The stillness required to focus on smoke…the difficulty in seeing forms within vapors…the backdrop of Andrea Palladio’s harmonious and glorious architecture…the serenity of being in a holy space as I kept repeating in my mind the phrase “a cross between the sacred and profane”…definitely makes the list of my favorite moments.

Biennale Post 2

Another good one was Lee Yong-Baek at the South Korean pavillion at Giardini, and I’m not just saying that because I’m South Korean. (Granted, I felt very proud to be represented well.) Called The Love is Gone, but the Scar Will Heal, this exhibition presented artwork that was beautiful and fascinating but also something more. The artist addresses the stark contrast between an angel and a soldier, the inner and outer self, reflection and destruction.

Angel Soldier_Video

Uniforms from Angel Soldier_Video hanging above the pavillion

Pieta: Self-death

Broken Mirror

You should also check out the website. You can access the whole catalog online, complete with high-quality images.

Biennale Post 1

I am reviving this blog just so I can jot down my reactions to the stimulation of the 54th art biennial in Venice. There is a lot of bad, as you can imagine, with so much art concentrated in one place at one time. But some is very good–even life-changingly good.

The first post will be about Urs Fischers‘ untitled works at the Arsenale. He has created wax sculptures out of wax with wicks that are lit each day. It is quite something to see Giambologna’s Rape of the Sabine melting away. And every time you see them, the sculptures have changed. It is a beautiful experience.

Identity Crisis

So, er, I think I might be having a little one. I’ll be back when I have a stronger grasp on what I’d like to say and if that has any significance. Ciao, darlings!

You know how sometimes life gets so busy you feel like all you want & need is more time? Well, that’s me now. I wish I could blog more, but here’s a calming playlist to tide you over until I can. Cheers.