Venice Biennale- ILLUMInations

25 Oct 2011

Wander around the maze of walk ways rather than catching a water bus

Floods in St Marks Square and the queue for St Mark's Campanile

Ive never been to Venice or the Biennale, so this seemed like the perfect trip for a break and inspiration! Arriving into Venice on Sunday just after midnight I was surprised by how quiet and calm the narrow walk ways and water ways were. The hotel we had booked was closed and the lady running it refused to come and let us in (cow), so we had to find and pay for another hotel for the night. Admittedly not the best start but the next day the sun was shining and even though the Biennale was closed today, there was still plenty for us (me and my friend Nic), to explore. We jumped on a water bus and found a cafe close to the Giardini, had coffee and fed biscuits by hand to pigeons and sparrows. Wandered through the walk ways and the market, found the Piazza San Marco and was completely stunned as we turned a corner to see the St Mark’s Basilic.  We went up the 323 ft St Mark’s Campanile and grabbed a pizza roll and some beer from the local supermarket.

On Tuesday we went to the Arsenal district and the Giardini and went around the WHOLE exhibition! We were exhausted but it was worth it!  Talk about art fatigue!

The three highlights for me were Mike Nelson‘s large scale installation, Impostor at the British Pavilion. He spent three months transforming the British pavilion in Venice for the biennale. The resulting installation is a delicate and melancholic meditation on identity and historical memory. More info.

Christian Boltanski‘s installation Chance at the French pavilion. This exhibition playfully explores the luck and fate of newborns, whose beginnings are subject entirely to chance. While the title translated in french has a positive connotation of luck and good fortune, the english interpretation conversely suggests hazard or risk, rendering the exhibition appropriately ambiguous. More info.  Watch a video of the installation here on designboom.

Fernando Prats‘ Sismografias project at the Chilean Pavilion. Fernando effectively stones his paintings, he lets the branches whip them or that the doves leave the marks of the flapping of their wings on them; the photographs of his work process reveal that he even licks the smoke cured surface of the paintings in order to leave enigmatic traces, or that even worms “draw” fascinating labyrinthical lines on the fertile territory of this other incarnation of painting. More info.





Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.

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