Highlights of the Venice Art Biennale 2017

Venice in the summer, nothing may sound more romantic or magical. – Wrong. Having already been to Venice several times before,  I would not recommend the floating city in this season, i.e. unless heat and swarms of tourists equipped with selfie sticks are just your thing. Nevertheless, here I was, standing with my suitcase at the Venezia Santa Lucia station on a late July evening. I’ll have to admit, the site was breathtaking; a golden sunset illuminated the Grand Canal, welcoming us in the spectacular city. So, one would ask, why were we here?  For The Venice Art Biennale 2017.

Every  two years, from May to November, the famous exposition has a showcase of upcoming artists coming from all around the world. These are scattered all around Venice and, mostly, in the Giardini and Arsenale. This year’s pieces were particularly interesting, as some artists took into consideration actual political situations, such as the dilemma of mass immigration or climate change. Here are some that I found particularly interesting and memorable.

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Anne Imhof: “Faust” (German Pavilion, Giardini)
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Anne Imhof: “Faust” (German Pavilion, Giardini)

The German Pavilion was quite something, and to be honest, was the one exhibition that remained stuck in my mind. Addressing issues of our today society, the powerful, yet unsettling piece is a live performance, where actors move around in imprisoned spaces. Even the exterior facade is protected by watchdogs, – Rottweilers to be precise. There is no questioning why this pavilion received the “Best national pavilion” Golden Lion prize and Absolut Art Award 2017.

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Quinn Lorenzo: “Support” (Ca’Sagredo Hotel, Grand Canal)

The piece “Support” by Lorenzo Quinn looks better in picture and one could say, a bit too “easy” of a concept. However, I still find the idea of showing climate change in sync with the city itself very attractive and surprisingly delightful.

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Lee Wan: “Examining Society through the Individual” (Korean Pavilion, Giardini)

South Korea always has a spunky, fun exhibition and never fails to disappoint. A small room made of clocks imagined by Lee Wan definitely got my heart ticking..

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Phyllida Barlow: “Folly” (British Pavilion, Giardini)

Situated right next to the German Pavilion, the British Pavilion is quite the contrast. Playful, colourful and dynamic sculptures are juxtaposed in the gallery, inviting visitors to explore. This piece which deserves its name “Folly” by Phyllida Barlow leaves you feeling light yet empowered.

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Takahiro Iwasaki: “Turned Upside Down, It’s a Forest” (Japanese Pavilion, Giardini)

The Japanese artist, Takahiro Iwasaki uses simple and used material to create complex, intriguing sculptures in relation to the environment and society. The center piece is an interactive piece. Curious visitors pop their heads right in the middle of the center piece, which I found very amusing. Although, this exhibition was extremely interesting, it did disappoint, as I had particularly enjoyed the previous Japanese art pavilion.

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Lani Maestro & Manuel Ocampo: The Spectre of Comparison (Philippine Pavilion, Arsenale)

 

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Liu Jianhua: “Pavilion of Time and Infinity” (Arsenale 2)

 

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Lounging in the groovy settings of the Giardini Cafe with my mother, aka, art partner in crime
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Giardini Cafe: Tobias Rehberger & Artek (Golden Lion prize: Best Artist)

 

 

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