Category Archives: Italy

2013 venice biennale #13

The Bahamas Pavilion “Polar Eclipse” installation by Tavares Strachan, who surrounds us with documentation of a re-enactment of a historic narrative:  the 1909 polar expedition of Robert Peary and Matthew Alexander Henson.

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Marcello Maloberti installation “La Voglia Matta” (above) – spare a thought for the performers who sit/stand on a lump of marble for hours on end…art…

“The Dry Salvages” by Elisabetta Benassi – 10,000 bricks made from clay taken from areas of the 1951 Polsine flood that are imprinted with the names and alphanumeric cataloguing codes of the largest pieces of space debris still in orbit around the earth…

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2013 venice biennale #12

The Kingdom of Bahrain, “In A World Of Your Own,”…always pots of money and lavish full colour catalogues (free) on display…:

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Akram Zaatari “Letter to a Refusing Pilot” – the events that inspire his film are worth mentioning; In the summer of 1982, a rumour made the rounds of a small city in South Lebanon, which was under Israeli occupation at the time. It was said that a fighter pilot in the Israeli air force had been ordered to bomb a target on the outskirts of Saida, but knowing the building was a school, he refused to destroy it. Instead of carrying out his commanders’ orders, the pilot veered off course and dropped his bombs in the sea. It was said that he knew the school because he had been a student there, because his family had lived in the city for generations, because he was born into Saida’s Jewish community before it disappeared. As a boy, Akram Zaatari grew up hearing ever more elaborate versions of this story, as his father had been the director of the school for twenty years. Decades later, Zaatari discovered it wasn’t a rumor. The pilot was real.

2013 venice biennale #11

In the Latvia Pavilion, in the Arsenale, North by Northeast:

Krišs Salmanis – Salmanis’s singled out tree serves as a trace of the opposite, of the desperate struggle of a very small and economically troubled country, fatigued by massive unemployment rates and an emigration of its workforce. The removal of one tree hints at the immense removal of whole forests in Latvia, where the regular patches of wood felling sites disfigure and deform the rural landscape. (from official press release)

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Kaspars Podnieks – “Rommel’s Dairy” – Podnieks’s photographs might suggest the notorious Victorian post-mortem portraits where the recently deceased were carefully propped up in order to capture their presence amidst the living one last time. Postures of these figures often appear unnatural, not unlike the ones in Podnieks’s photographs, after all it is highly unnatural (and physically uncomfortable) for people to find themselves balancing on a tiny platform more than five meters above the ground for their picture to be taken. Rather the somehow unnatural and restrained pose is determined by the setup, leaving little room for self-expression of poses. This extraordinary bodily experience leads to an altered state of consciousness and a certain tension reflected in the faces and bodies of the farmers, an air of intensified concentration that contributes to the overall uncanny effect of the photographs. (from official press release)

…from far away these hovering figures look like photographic portraits but as you get closer you notice blinking eyes, flecks of falling snow…i found it all to be a wee bit magical…(the noise comes from the neighbouring mechanism of Salmanis’s swinging tree)

2013 venice biennale #10

Graph drawings by Channa Horwitz, who limited herself to using only 8 colours throughout her career, stating that limiting your choices gives you power…

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…and i know this is a bit obvious and done before, but it’s always spectacular and it smells amazing…spices  and pigments by Sonia Falcone in the Latin America Pavilion at the Arsenale:

Surreal meets tradition in the Indonesia Pavilion “Sakti” – a Sanskrit term associated with change, liberation and primordial cosmic energy…i don’t understand it but i did enjoy the oddness…:

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2013 venice biennale #9, the complete genius of Crumb…

So am a bit behind the times as this has been out for a few years now, but i am somewhat blown away when i discover this gem in the Arsenale. Robert Crumb’s graphic novelisation of the the Book of Genesis…in its entirety…took him 4 years to do…despite the fact that i am extremely NON religious…i immediately go out and buy the book (and by the way, the good news is it’s not expensive!):

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