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Venice – Somehow


Somehow, overnight the trekkies have vanished. As they predicted they have moved on, beyond, to another parallel or distant place.  Stuart’s project finishes with the same fleetingness with which is commenced … ungraspable and momentary… his project popped up and then evaporated around Venice numerous times.  Perhaps you glimpsed it.  You might only realize later that you were also momentarily in its molecular structuring.


Success!  Laresa’s leg of fame, now has a cast (sorry we had to use that one) of dozens.  This relic, now cut free from its human mold is an artifact and evidence of traces: participant artists of the 54th Biennale di Venezia; the ‘authorization’ of the artist that converts humble, common matter to exalted ‘idea’ as art; the homage to Piero Manzoni whose signature assigned status to human forms and scatology; the history (legacy…ok sorry, we are done now) of sculpture which marries to the cast from Duchamp to Nauman and beyond – and of course the emphasis we see this year at the Biennale through artists such as Fischli Weiss, Urs Fischer, Nairy Baghramian, Hany Armanious and more…that the cast has been resurrected in contemporary ways to further confound the material proposition.  No more bum starts for Laresa…she can run wild and free now for her last day on the ground.

Ahhh!  Ohhh!

Yesterday we spent a little bit of time with our pal Pipilotti Rist whose major show at ACCA in December we are currently plotting  – her gorgeous trippy, effervescent works provide a welcome light and hypnotic moment in the selection at the Pavilion Italia.  Projected onto 3 kitsch scenographies of Venice (the typical ones) Pipi has projected her glorious tumbles of images to activate a magical, and alchemical transformation – nocturnes, fireworks, sunrises, the tempest are all conjured.  The audience smiles and gasps and lingers to take in these moments of ecstatic reverie.  Happy.

And around the traps…

We are excited to be bringing Yael Bartana’s TRILOGY to ACCA in August.  Still the queues wait to enter into the Polish pavilion to take in Yael’s three films, which offer a complicated fable of Jewish resistance and reclaimation.    Frankly we are surprised that in the time poor Vernissage period so many people appear to be viewing all three films – a commitment of around an hour.  They are compelling.

We wish our competence in Spanish was better, but even without a total grip we enjoyed the arena of discussions and interactions devised by Dora Garcia in the Spanish Pavilion.   Participatory practice is not thick on the ground here… this is a less Latinate, and more Germanic biennale somehow

Sculpture and its reconstruction and resuscitation is a big theme at this biennale. Two of our favorites:

Dominik Lang’s beautifully conceived exhibition of his late father’s sculptures in the Czech and Slovak Republic Pavilion, which brings and breathes new life and emotional intensity into an overlooked practice.

We previously mentioned Carol Bove’s high plinth mise-en-scene of sculptures, but also loved Nairy Baghramian’s cast rubber plates, Gabriel Kuri’s gravity sculptures and have got to go back to the Arsenale to see Trisha Donelly’s installation.

Art and politics at the Biennale appear in number of instances in the national presentations, indicating a world in geo-political turmoil and change.

Ahmed Basiouny’s ‘30 Days of Running in a Place’ is a stand out in this regard, featuring video documentation of this running performance from 2010, along with daily footage of the Cairo’s demonstrations earlier this year, in which the artist tragically died. In this pavilion, the struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights is brought to the fore with purpose and to lasting effect.

In another running work, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s (USA Pavilion) ‘Track and Field’ features former Olympians jogging on a treadmill atop an upturned tank. One of only a few obviously spectacular works this year, it nonetheless as a relentless quality about it that impresses and also impacts on everything surrounding it, the loud rumble of the tank proliferating the giardini and requiring a number of other pavilions to close their doors during the performances.

Omer Fast’s 2010 film Five Thousand Feet combines an interview with Predator drone operator with various unrelated narrative sequences in a most compelling way – Blade Runner meets the Hurt Locker.

Controversy surrounds Gelatins showing of debauchery behind the Arsenale with its drunken antics and political messages but is it more than boy games?  We will think on that.

Almost out of time and yes that reminds us of Christian Marclay’s epic 24-hour The Clock which must be up for popularity award … best reason to sit and vague out for a few minutes.



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