Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Japan pavilion at Giardini

The Japan pavilion was captivating. Chiharu Shiota's installation The Key in the Hand was ambitious in its execution - the entire room was enmeshed with keys and yarn hanging from the ceiling over and around 2 boats. There were also 2 videos of small children talking about their earl memories. The keys represented the passing on of links and memories across time. They had been gathered by the artist from around the world. This installation won the 'wow factor' ward in my opinion.

Kay Hassan

"Everyday People" by Kay Hassan were made up of shredded scavanged  advertisement posters which had been collages and reassembled. They were portraits of people whom Hassan had met. The works were thick and almost sculptural and quite powerfully direct.

Chris Marker & Kutlug Ataman at Venice Biennale

Two striking examples of portraiture
The first - Chris Marker's extensive display of passengers on public transport were wonderful. He managed to capture an inexplicable expression in many of these portraits. Sensitive and timeless images from a master.
The second set of portraits by Kutlug Ataman was displayed in the form of a wave suspended from the ceiling. They were small LED images of people who knew a Turkish philanthropist Sakip Sabanci. A novel way of presenting the images, to good effect I thought.
Both exhibits had a very direct human appeal and were a relief after lots of intense conceptual works.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Highlights from Arsenale at the Venice Biennale

Having 'done' the Giardini part of the Venice Biennale on day one, on the second day at the Biennale we went to Arsenale.
There we saw an astonishing range of works, and the theme of the Biennale began to strengthen. 'All the World's Futures' is asking how artists can bring the public to understand and make sense of the upheavals we are witnessing in our  political and social lives. Artists responded more or less directly. The curatorial hand of Okwui Enwezor was directive and evident. More of that later. Here are some works I enjoyed on day 2.
The first - by Katharina Grosse... I had seen images of her work but never seen them first hand. The color in the installation was ambitious. This was one of the works that I could not see a strong link with the curatorial theme, but it was good to look at!
The second - at the other end of the scale from Grosse's  flamboyant installation was a series of  incredibly delicate works by Tiffany Chung from Vietnam. Her breathtakingly beautiful drawings which at first appear to be floral themes, are in fact maps of statistics relating to terrible facts such as war casualties and displaced persons applied to maps. The colors and sizes of the dots indicate the intensity of the crisis.
Ricardo Bray' work was a series of miniature worlds - installed in a series of glass cases - a cross between reliquaries an treasure troves of items including found objects, artist books and drawings.

Venice day 4

Some postcards of Venice. Starting with the local market which features a greengrocer on a boat. Then some classic images from a vaporetto.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Australian Pavilion at Venice Biennale

It was wonderful to see Fiona Hall's work at the Australian Pavilion. The installation was extensive, and fitted with the theme of the curator of the Biennale - All the World's Futures. Unlike many of the contributions by other countries, the link to concerns about global politics, social issues and the influence of world finances was clear. Including the Tjanpi Desert Weaver work was great- providing a respectful link to the past and present.

Wiliam Kentridge at Venice Biennale

Wonderful to see an installation by Kentridge in the Italian pavilion at Arsenale. The first image is presented initially as a print In a series of prints tracing the history of Italy. This image is then enlarged and mounted on a wall as a kind of stencil/cut out  made from cardboard. It is titled 'Death of Pasolini'. Of course all of the images that Kentridge has presented are moving. Quirky and powerful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Hard not to be completely clichéd when talking about Venice. Here are photos of where we are staying - near the giardini- the gardens where  the large part of the Biennale is held. The first photo is of the door to our apartment. The neighborhood is not at all touristy which is a relief. Once again we are the odd folk out which is nice because we can observe Venetian life as it is lived, not as it is seen from St Mark's Square.  We walked to the Biennale today through this glorious avenue of trees with the smell of honey suckle, pines and mock orange, past a  plant nursery - divine. Venice is spring is so different from Venice in autumn which is when we were here last time.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

National Archaeological Museum at Cagliari

I love seeing objects that were worn and handled by people over 3,000 years ago. Was this a present for a lover? How did the person who wore it feel when they were wearing it or touching it? It is such a human link to imagine the creation and use of these items, now sitting in a case in a museum. These necklaces would look at home in a contemporary jewellery store ..... The small icons have such a resonance of the hands that made them!

Old town Cagliari

 hard to read but the writing on the wall in the image above says 'roads of the heart'

 in the old town of Cagliari there are artist studios and the walls of the district bear testimony to this
below are images of an arch... with a religious painting and flowers, and facing it another arch with a pasteup .... and interesting mix up of old and new