It's time to plan an autumn trip to the capital city of contemporary art. At this time, Venice is still beautiful. The crowds of tourists, who flew from Hirst's exhibition in the Palazzo Grassi to the hands of Lorenzo Quinn from the water and back, are finally dissipating.
Kristin Masel, the curator of the main project of the Biennale, looked for "Viva Arte viva," which can be interpreted as "long live the living art!" Thanks to this, artists from 86 countries received powerful incentive to move outside, to the pavilions: artists of the art scene involve viewers in the creative process by entering into contact with them. Live art includes performances (Denmark), variations on the theme of theatrical productions (the pavilion of Russia & Germany) and all kinds of interactivity, where the viewer (pavilions of Austria, Japan & Russia) becomes the actor and central figure. Each project, in one way or another, interacts with the audience and turns the guests into active participants in what is happening. For example, in the pavilion of Japan, there is nothing suspicious, but then, a curious spectator rises up the little ladder - and suddenly "emerges" in the center of the hall a floor above; his head, which suddenly became the basis of the exhibition, attracts the audience's views. To feel like artwork is a thrilling experience.
Some pavilions, on the contrary, are so full of life that the viewer ceases to notice them at all. Nevertheless, the viewer observes, for example, the live, experimental recording of an experimental music group. In the pavilion of France, everything is serious: During the sound recording, spectators are asked not to interfere. Stand by the geyser hitting the ground and, watch a powerful jet from the roof of the pavilion of Canada, or think about the eternal garden, whose violent post-apocalyptic greens swallowed the pavilion of Denmark. The only drawback of "non-static" compositions is that they live their own lives, and avoid missing the chance to get the most out of the projects of Biennale, some sessions need to be “caught,” and some carefully planned. Among the latter was a five-hour presentation of "Faust" in the pavilion of Germany, which this year received the main prize: "The Golden Lion,” which comes with weekly breaks.
In an attempt to achieve maximum audience sympathies, the curators and artists of the national pavilions use certain tricks to lure guests into a network of quests (the pavilion of Greece) or permitting, no, even insisting, that the works touch, and interacted with physically (the pavilion of Austria). By pushing a hand or foot into a special hole, the viewer becomes part of the installation, and thereby completes the form conceived by the artist. Without participation, the artwork looks unfinished, and sometimes may not exist at all.
The main themes of the Biennale are global issues, which artists used to attract the attention of guests. These are the ecology, societal and the geopolitical situation of the world. There is a general consensus that the projects of 2017 were the most impressive and, more importantly, the most understandable for untrained viewers from those that were presented in the last ten years.
The pavilion of Japan, whose projects are usually characterized by painstaking and delicate execution, exhibits traditional Japanese buildings. Transformed in a special way, they create the illusion of distorted space turning into cosmic objects.
The Korean pavilion of the 2017 Biennale turned into a Venetian Times Square with themes like icon painting and art of the 20th century. It was a white room, and on the ceiling hung dozens of dials-clones, each with a name, surname, occupation and year of birth. The dials held real data, which the artist collected for the project. The arrow on each dial moved in the speed of which a person earned his or her dinner.
The French pavilion is decorated with wooden panels, deconstructing the space, and is an active recording studio. Inside - a collection of rare musical instruments, and lucky people periodically manage to get to an improvised concert.
An improvised viewing platform on the roof of an inverted truck is the Austrian pavilion.
The Pavilion of Russia housed three exhibitions united by the name Theatrum Orbis. Spectators are met by dark halls with Grisha Bruskin's sculptural works inspired by topical geopolitical problems, from terrorism and migration to the relationship of power and crowd. The Recycle group focused on the topic of social media, imprisoning a person in the "fetters" of the Internet; to free the prisoner, the viewer had to use his or her smartphone, and point its screen at the project.
The storm cloud in the pavilion of Israel was surrounded by impressionistic vertical surfaces: it acquired its appearance thanks to the bacteria planted by the artist on the material. Day after day, the bacteria did its job, constantly changing the face of the exposition.
A few more frames from the biennale from my personal archive- for the sake of brevity, I will now limit myself to photographs only, letting the intrigue remain for those who still wish to go to the Biennale.
Pavilion of Canada
Pavilion of Czech Republic
Pavilion of Great Britain
Pavilion of Latvia
Pavilion of Spain
The Main Project
A well-known quote from an experienced collectors goes like this, "Look at the art at the Biennale, but buy in Basel" (The Biennale is a non-profit event and it is not possible to buy works directly in it, unlike the Art Basel fair). There are so many fairs that you can buy art at during any time of the year, but the idea as a whole remains true: to become the owner of the works seen at the Biennale is quite realistic. With pleasure, we could help you with this: as in any other case, we can help you pick up, buy and bring it to any part of the world.