Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Return to Venice - Part II

Day 2 was all about the Giardini, the Giardini is where the permanent natinal pavilions are. Navin's Paradiso di Navin was right at the entrance, in the a paradise of calm (more on this later).

I have formed a system in my Biennale wanders, for the Giardini, I prefer to start at the Grand Pavilion which is the International Exhibition curated by a certain curator. This year Bice Curiger under the title of Illuminations. I then make my way around the country pavilions. Upon entering the Grand Pavilion, what struck me hard was the Colombo lazer beam room, genius especially in its distortion of physical space, kind of sci-fi. Jack Goldstein's video and the big big room of Tintoretto. Three Tintorettos were on loan to the Biennale by Venice, a classical painter of light in a sea of contemporary.

Strange especially when you look around and realise that there are pigeons everywhere. For a moment you think the pigeons might move and you think, yeah, they invaded the Pavilion, then you realise that they are dead and stuffed and Maurizio Cattelan's trick.

They are a menace yet you cannot avoid them as you make your way through the Pavilion. I loved how they were on the pipes and loomed above Jakob ahd his invisible installation (again). My faves were the Polke paintings the Fischli and Weiss installation. There was an interesting room of coloured panels by a young artist but to me it was so obviously about light and colour that it was a bit much though entertaining. I suppose with a theme like Illuminations, one cannot avoid the discussion fo national dialogue, space, borders and literaly, light, even if after a bit of time it seems a bit cliched.

Fischli and Weiss

Susan and Lara where my lunch dates at Da Franz, Andrew Glenn and Jonathan were around too. Another handy Giardini favourite, great food, a twist on the Venetian faves. Literally next door to the Giardini. I had my bacala fix and venetian bigoli with anchovy paste. To die for.

We went to all almost all the countries in the Giardini, except for England, Germany, Japan and Israel. I wanted to kick myself for not going to see England the day before as it transpired that Mike Nelson's installation created queues hours and hours long. High lights were the Nordic Pavillion and USA.

America's Gloria by Allora and Calzadilla was a glorious celebration of what is America with an undertone of darkness and criticism of authority and recent policy. Sponsored by Hugo Boss (this was very clear, the fashion invasion, more on this later too)

singing ATM

I also liked Korea and France. It was how they really seemed to "capture" a nation, their nation, or at least what the nation appears to be, their obsessions. There was no denying the monochromatic nihilistic world of France's Boltanski. Nor the pop subversiveness of Korea's Lee Yangboek. Sweden was serene and stunning and included Pia's Borderless Bastard that was sprinkled around other pavilions a very clever and "dialogue" between a national artist and Pia's statues (recorded on audio guides).



The Swiss pavilion made me so uncomfortable and was just so in your face it was THE low on my Pavilion list though I can appreciate the effort. It just seemed a bit ridiculous that a country that is neutral who should not engage much should go out of its way to make such a grand (obnoxious) statement about the "Crystal of Resistance" that forms in countries that have been ravaged by both man-made (political) and natural disasters. Sure it was hopeful, after all, crystals are positive and light and beautiful and they form as a result of a struggle, however, it was slightly self-riteous and terribly voyeuristic when your nation does not actually engage but is a safe haven. Perhaps Hirschorn was trying to criticise his country's position, not sure but I know that cottonbud kryptonite and bits of glass poking from chairs and bubble wrap tried a bit too hard.

A corporate space but a very nice one was Fabrizio Plessi's Plessimari supported by LVMH. I had gone to Plessi's Guidecca studio two years ago with Arnold Can and Yves Carcel and Fabrizio showed us the blueprint. The blueprint was now alive iwht tilted life sized boes with "water" projections. Peaceful yet dramatic and very beautiful though definitely somethin that could never be commissioned by a nation unless that nation was a fashion conglomorate like LVMH.

Going through the Giardini with Lara and Susan, joined later by Norbert and Juanita meant that we properly did the Giardni, I ususally take my time but in this case, we saw almost everything. Even popping over to James Putnam's collaboratoral event next door.

Susan and Lara

By this time my legs wanted to drop and all I wanted to do was sleep, we had an apteritivo at Bauer and Susan made me promise to meet her at the White Cube party. I remember the jetlag that day was so unbeareable, I skipped the Pinault party and made a fuss about getting back up to go to the Monaco Hotel for Christian Marclay's party by the White Cube. I finally did and it was worth it.

The ballroom of the Monaco is stunning. Caught up with Masoud and was introduced to Ole Schereen, the star architect and awesome guy. He had great stories about living in Bangkok in the late nineties, right after our economic crash. Sadly I missed the right night screening of Marclay's The Clock, the 23.59 hrs. was apparently amazing.

Me at the Monaca in thatwasBoat's toile

Arnold then rescued us to take us to Maurizio Cattelan's Toilet Paper (his new mag) party, it was a rave, in a school in the Isola San Savorola. Far and could have been cool if we got there earlier. So Arnold rescued us again with his boat and we landed at the Bauer, us and a few buckets of champers with the motley crew we collected plus Gabe, Xerxes, Erika and Julian Solmes.

Arnold and Ole
Lara, Erika and Hannah

Oh Venice, how we love you. Especially when there is space for us to sit on the Bauer terrace after a day like that one.

1 comment:

  1. "I skipped the Pinault party and made a fuss about getting back up to go to the Monaco Hotel for Christian Marclay's party"

    If I wanted to be satirical I could have a lot of amusement with lines like that. But I'm being nice as I nicked that photo of the guy on the tank treadmill. It's fab ;)