Monthly Archives: July 2011

beauty and the beer factory…

A break from the Biennale and back to Biella and 2 recent trips we made with the UNIDEE residency…

What can i say, life is sometimes not so bad! On this day we visited the factory of the marvellous Menabrea beer, situated right here in Biella. Founded in 1846…

Meanwhile another trip sees us heading to Castello di Rivoli (near Turin) and the contemporary art collection there.

The gallery holds on to the arcane notion of no photographs being allowed inside the permanent collection, eventually i wrestle permission to take them only for the institutional blog i keep for the UNIDEE residence itself, click here to see them. Otherwise am posting one sneakily in here (until someone tells me to take it down!)

The work by Goshka Macuga is called The Nature of the Beast and revolves around the original painting of Picasso’s Guernica presented at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 1939 and the placement and role of the tapestry at the United Nations HQ in NYC from 1985 to 2009.


my “i imposter”

Still inside the Giardini…this time in the British pavilion am posting about the  I Imposter installation by Mike Nelson, a labyrinth of of rooms, corridors, spaces, attics, corners…I know he has done this sort of thing before…but really in this environment (and in view of some pretty mediocre neighbours – including a super banal Boltanski-by-numbers installation in the neighbouring French pavilion) it stood out both conceptually and formally…and it was fun too. I guess you can experience it a thousand different ways, here are the spaces where i lingered:

It took three months to transform the neo-classical box that is the Great Britain Pavilion featuring 2ft-thick walls, 3,000-odd square feet of exhibition space and a 30ft-high ceiling. Nelson set himself the task of “making it disappear“…

Meanwhile in the Czech and Slovak Republic pavilion, Dominik Lang’s The Sleeping City where he intervenes on soviet era works by his sculptor father (Jiří Lang, 1927–1996)…

other posts on the venice biennale 2011 in this blog

giardini – catch that pigeon

pavilions inside gardens inside the biennale

my “i imposter”

stars of track and field we are

stars of track and field we are…

More of the beautiful and the ugly from the pavilions…

An upside down tank from the Korean War with a treadmill installed on its right track – one of the installations by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla in the U.S. Pavilion. A USA track and field athlete runs on it periodically to make the treads (and the heads) turn. The athletes throughout the day changed, i filmed a woman (see above) but other times really muscular male runners performed and the whole thing became way more testosteroni…

“armed freedom lying on a sunbed”

The German Pavilion (renamed Egomania) converted into a “chapel” called A Church of Fear vs. the Alien Within by Christoph Schlingensief, literally blows your mind, an assault on all your senses, the fact that the artist was dying while he made the work and died before the opening of the pavilion is palpable..

 …on spectacle… Crash- Passive Interview by Hajnal Németh at the Hungarian pavilion:

other posts on the venice biennale 2011 in this blog

giardini – catch that pigeon

pavilions inside gardens inside the biennale

my “i imposter”

giardini – catch that pigeon…

Arriving in the Giardini, the first thing i noticed were the pigeons…which at first i thought were real…

but as i entered the Central Pavilion (often called the Italian Pavilion) of the Venice Biennale and i found them everywhere, invading the art space i realised it was in fact an old work by Maurizio Cattelan called Others

…how appropriate as the pigeons metaphorically crapped over some of the pretty dubious choices made by the “controversial” curator of the Central (Italian) Pavilion, Vittorio Sgarbi. However let’s dwell on the positive…

Polish artist Monika Sosnowska conceived a star shaped, wallpapered Para-Pavilion, inside which hangs the powerful and effecting photography of South African photographer, David Goldblatt. If you have the time, read the stories under the photographs, it is really worth the effort…

Ex Offenders at the Scene of the Crime is the title given to Goldblatt’s series…

David Goldblatt on the series Ex Offenders: “Very many South Africans have been the victims of crime, often violent. We have either suffered it personally or we know someone close who has. With much stress and considerable expenditure of income we try to protect our persons and property. Yet withal we remain extremely vulnerable to attack by people who would seize our property and damage or end our lives. Having been a victim of armed robbers, muggers and thieves I asked myself who are the people who are doing this to us. Are they monsters? Ordinary people? Could they be my children? Are they you and me? I wanted to burrow under the statistics and meet some of these doers of crime as individuals. I wanted to do portraits and ask, Who are you, what makes you tick, what did you do, how did you come to do it, what do you think of what you did, what will you do now? Who to photograph and where? Even if I could meet active criminals they would not be likely to agree to being photographed or to answering such questions. I did not want to photograph prisoners in jail. I wanted to meet perpetrators as ‘ordinary’ people such as one might encounter in a street or supermarket. And I wanted to do this in situations that were somehow related to the crimes they had committed or of which they had been accused. So I came to people who had been accused of crime, found guilty and been punished. If they had been in prison, they were now free or on parole. Where to do the portraits? It seemed to me that the scene of crime is likely to be a place of special significance. Life-changing events were probably experienced there. So, with the exception of two portraits that I did at the place of arrest, it is at the scene of crime that I have been doing the photographs. Thus these photographs and the stories of the people within them. Most were trying, often in desperately difficult circumstances, to go straight. Hence I call them not criminals, not offenders, but ex-offenders.”

other posts on the venice biennale 2011 in this blog

pavilions inside gardens inside the biennale

stars of track and field we are

my “i imposter”

stars of track and field we are

pavilions inside gardens inside the biennale…

It’s that time of year again and i have been to the 54th Biennale of Art in Venice, this year under the banner headline of Illuminazione (ILLUMI-nations), and curated by art historian and critic Bice Curiger.

But before i get down to the nitty gritty of the art stuff, i wanted to post about the pavilions. The Giardini (gardens) venue in the east of Venice has been used for the Biennale since 1895, it is home to the Central Pavilion and a further 29 national pavilions, built at various periods by the participating countries themselves. They are kind of ridiculous and kind of charming and old world and many are somewhat at odds with the “contemporary art” they house within. Here are some of them…

click on thumbnails for a better view

other posts on the venice biennale 2011 in this blog

giardini – catch that pigeon

stars of track and field we are

my “i imposter”

stars of track and field we are