The Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva: The Pavilions, Part One

by Paddy Johnson on May 11, 2017 Events

The Giardini

A view of the Giardini. All photos by Marsha Owett.

Today we spent the majority of our time looking at the Pavilions and we’ll be spending much of tomorrow similarly. Overall, there seem to be fewer people visiting the pavilions and Biennale this year—as evidenced by shortened bathroom cues and the ability to get a cup of coffee in less than hour. It’s hard, though, to discern the reasons for this. It’s not like anyone knows in advance what the shows (or weather) will be like. Still, I wondered if the poor quality of this year’s biennale might have depressed some enough that they took the day off. And perhaps the Americans here are too worried about the President’s recent firing of FBI Chief James Comey to focus on art? I know it’s an issue for me as well as many others I’ve seen over the last two days.

As for the pavilions, it’s a mixed bag—some good, some bad, and some stinky. I mean that literally. At least three pavilions this year need stench warning signs for those with allergies.

I’ll be discussing a lot of the work in greater depth in a separate post. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of what we saw this afternoon.

SWITZERLAND

The Swiss Pavilion, Carol Bove, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler

Carol Bove, Teresa Hubbard/Alexander Birchler

RUSSIA

Grisha Bruskin, Scene Change

Grisha Bruskin, “Scene Change”

Grisha Bruskin, Scene Change

Grisha Bruskin, “Scene Change”

Grisha Bruskin, Scene Change

Grisha Bruskin, “Scene Change”

THE NORDIC PAVILION (FINLAND, NORWAY, SWEDEN)

Findlandia, Norvegia, Svezia

Installation view of “Mirrored”, an exhibition including Siri Aurdal, Nina Canell, Charlotte Johannesson, Jumana Manna, Pasi “Sleeping” Myllymäki, and Mika Taanila.

THE UNITED STATES

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, “Tomorrow is Another Day”

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, “Tomorrow is Another Day”

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, “Tomorrow is Another Day”

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, “Tomorrow is Another Day”

Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford, “Tomorrow is Another Day”

GERMANY

Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017

Anne Imhof, “Faust”, 2017

CANADA

Geoffrey Farmer

Geoffrey Farmer

GREAT BRITAIN

Phyllida Barlow, Folly

Phyllida Barlow, “Folly”

Phyllida Barlow, Folly

Phyllida Barlow, “Folly”

Phyllida Barlow, Folly

Phyllida Barlow, “Folly”

FRANCE

Xavier Veilhan, Merzbau musica

Xavier Veilhan, “Studio Venezia”

Xavier Veilhan, Merzbau musica

Xavier Veilhan, “Studio Venezia”

Xavier Veilhan, Merzbau musica

Xavier Veilhan, “Studio Venezia”

AUSTRALIA

Tracy Moffet,

Tracy Moffett,

Tracy Moffet

Tracy Moffett

Tracy Moffett

Tracy Moffet

CZECH REPUBLIC AND SLOVAK REPUBLIC

Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, Jana Zelibska, Swan Song

Jana Zelibska, “Swan Song”

ISRAEL

Israel, Gal Weinstein, Sun Stand Still

Gal Weinstein, “Sun Stand Still”

Israel, Gal Weinstein, Sun Stand Still

Gal Weinstein, “Sun Stand Still”

BELGIUM

Dirk Braeckman, Belgium

Dirk Braeckman,

SPAIN

Jordi Colomer, Spain

Jordi Colomer, “Unete! Join Us!”

ALVAR AALTO PAVILION OF FINLAND

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, “Natives”

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, “Natives”

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, “Natives”

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, “Natives”

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen

Nathaniel Mellors and Erkka Nissinen, “Natives”

GREECE

George Drivas, Greece

George Drivas, “Laboratory of Dilemmas”

George Drivas, Greece

George Drivas, “Laboratory of Dilemmas”

George Drivas, Greece

George Drivas, “Laboratory of Dilemmas”

VENICE PAVILION

Venice Pavilion

Beatrice Moscas, “Luxus”: Note—Moscas is described as the “artistic director” not the participant/artist, which makes sense for this pavilion. It reeked of perfume and with the exception of this room, looked like the inside of an airport boutique. This just looks like props for a stage play.

EGYPT

Moataz Nasr, Egypt

Moataz Nasr, “The Mountain”

SERBIA

Milena Dragicevic, Serbia

Milena Dragicevic, “Enclavia—Painting a Consequence of This Kind of Life”

AUSTRIA

Erwin Wurm, Austria

Erwin Wurm

All photos Marsha Owett

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