Sunday, August 7, 2011

Venice Biennale at the Arsenale

I am becoming especially adept at getting lost in Venice. It was a very long walk over to the Arsenale from the Giardini keeping this fact in mind. Everything I read about the Italian Pavilion was true - it was awful, overwhelming, and too much exhibited in once space to focus on anything. I tried and failed. One of the highlights of the Corderie/Artiglierie was the location. It featured old and new machinery from the old shipyard and was right next to the lagoon. A highlight were the remains from the GELITIN performance that took place the opening week of the biennial.

I devoted 1:50 - 2:50 PM to Christina Marclay's The Clock and it lived up to every moment of the hype. I could have spent a couple more hours in front of this video but needed to see the rest of the exhibitions as my ticket was only good for that day. The sheer amount of clocks, references to passing time, and reintroducing clips from the same movie so they appear in real time (in just the hour I saw) was incredible! I couldn't look at a watch on a person's arm the same way again for the rest of the day. Another reason why I loved this video is that I'm guaranteed never to see it in its entirety so I'll always wonder what took place in the hours I couldn't view. My phone never reverted to Italian time, so I've been spending my days adding six hours to whatever time it says. Walking into The Clock and knowing exactly what time it was, was reassuring. There were 12 white Ikea couches constantly rotating with people. Here is an image from Manfredi Bellati of the installation:

Urs Fischer's wax sculptures were also one of my favorite pieces to see this day. This is what his self-portrait looked like 1.5 months into the exhibition (here's to wondering how long it will continue to burn as the Biennale is up through November and it was 2/3rds of the way through in July).

The one thing I was annoyed with is how his head fell in such a "placed" position compared to all the other parts of his body. I know full well that this was arranged by someone to show that it indeed was a person's lifelike figure at one point but it was slightly insulting to view in that format.

This is what the sculpture looked near the opening:

Here is the large Untitled sculpture that looked like it went through violent destruction before my arrival:


[Both early Urs Fischer images via.]

I also enjoyed Jean-Luc Mylayne's bird photographs and had to show two images in one since the reflections were hard to contend with.

Unfortunately, there was no place to float postcards ANYWHERE in the vicinity of the Giardini or the Arsenale. That is my job to find tomorrow. There are plenty of exhibitions associated with the Biennale throughout the city. I will have to find the place.

Venice at night (twice) near the Arsenale.

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