VeniceBiennale_Bill Culbert

55th Biennale di Venezia Recap

VeniceBiennale_Ai Weiwei_Bang

For the last few days of May, the art world made its biannual pilgrimage to the glimmering city of Venice for the preview of the 55th Biennale di Venezia, a show that is widely considered to embody the global pulse of contemporary art.   This year’s central exhibit, “The Encyclopedic Palace,” is ambitiously curated by Massimiliano Gioni, an associate director of the New Museum in New York. The exhibit’s namesake and inspiration lie in the never-actualized concept of self-taught Italian artist, Marino Auriti, of a grand museum that would house all of mankind’s greatest achievements. At the most basic level of interpretation, Gioni traces this concept to present a comprehensive exhibit of artwork, collections of objects and artifacts that explore the relationship between humans, art, and the outside world. Gioni explains, “Today, as we grapple with a flood of information, such attempts to structure knowledge into all-inclusive systems seem even more necessary and even more desperate.”   Critically acclaimed artists such as Cindy Sherman, Bruce Nauman, and Richard Serra are present, but it is the oddball works of “outsider artists” that are most memorable. Creepy, lifelike plaster sculptures by John DeAndrea make way for pornographic doodles by Russian teen, Evgenji Kozlov. Works by Karl Jung and Hilma Af Klint tackle the mystical realm, while work reflecting obsessive compulsion is seen through the 387 tiny houses built by an Austrian clerk named Peter Fritz (later discovered in a junk shop by Oliver Elser and Oliver Croy).   Beyond the main exhibit are 88 national pavilions which showcase the “best” art that each participating country has to offer. The more visually stimulating pavilions include Canada, featuring newcomer Shary Boyle’s projected images on sculptures of the female form; New Zealand, featuring thought provoking sculptures of fluorescent light encased within everyday objects by Bill Culbert; Latin America, showcasing a colorful installation of pigments and spices by Sonia Falcone; Germany (who shook things up by swapping pavilions with France) with an installation by Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei created with 886 wooden stools; and Russia, with a participatory conceptual installation by Vadim Zakharov, in which gold coins rain down on umbrella clad female visitors (inspired by the Greek myth of Danaë).   The central exhibit and select national pavilions are open to the public now through November 24th, just be sure to wear some seriously comfortable shoes.  

left, top, Ai Weiwei : Bang

VeniceBiennale_Albert Yonathan Setiawan

Albert Yonathan Setiawan : Cosmic Labyrinth, The Silent Path & Sri Astari Pendopo : Dancing the Wild Sea

VeniceBiennale_Bill Culbert

Bill Culbert : Daylight Flotsam Venice

VeniceBiennale_Drossos P. Skllas_Three Sisters

Drossos P. Skyllas : Three Sisters

VeniceBiennale_Eugene Von Bruenchenhein_Untitled Marie

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein : Untitled (Marie)

VeniceBiennale_Eugene Von Bruenchenhein_Untitled Mariejpg

Eugene Von Bruenchenhein : Untitled (Marie)


Eva Kotatkova : Asylum

VeniceBiennale_John DeAndrea_Ariel II

John DeAndrea : Ariel II

VeniceBiennale_JOliver Croy and Oliver Elser_The Houses of Peter Fritz

Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser : The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz

VeniceBiennale_Laura Almarcegui_

Laura Almarcegui

VeniceBiennale_Marco Tirelli_Senza Titolo

Marco Tirelli

VeniceBiennale_Marino Auriti_Il Enciclopedico Palazzo del Mondo

Marino Auriti : Il Enciclopedico Palazzo del Mondo

VeniceBiennale_Mark Manders_FoxMouseBelt

Mark Manders : Fox Mouse Belt

VeniceBiennale_Mark Manders_Mind Study

Mark Manders : Mind Study

VeniceBiennale_Michael Schmidt_Lebensmittel

Michael Schmidt : Lebensmittel

VeniceBiennale_Odires Mlászho_

Odires Mlászho

VeniceBiennale_Sarah Sze_Triple Point Pendulum

Sarah Sze : Triple Point Pendulum

VeniceBiennale_Sonia Falcone_Campo de Color

Sonia Falcone : Campo de Color

VeniceBiennale_Vadim Zakharov_Danaë

Vadim Zakharov : Danaë

VeniceBiennale_Walter De Maria_ Apollo’s Ecstasy
Walter De Maria : Apollo’s Ecstacy

Written by Guest Blogger Jenny Held 
Photography Jenny Held