That’s all folks! From the SS Hangover to the Museum of Everything: last report from Venice
And before we switch back to normal: a few last snapshots from Venice. Comprising some of everybody’s favorites: the SS Hangover, an Austrian cartoon, and Fischli & Weiss. Plus my chance encounter with grand old lady Marisa Merz, right after she had received her lifetime achievement Golden Lion. After the jump, some last thoughts and tips.
• Want to visit the 55th Biennale? Do know there are some 50 ‘collateral’ events and 70 other exhibitions in Venice, during the Biennale. So start with Il palazzo enciclopedico. With 150 artists from 38 countries, for most people this will already be more than enough. A few highlights? Danh Vo’s temple, the show in the show curated by Cindy Sherman (with Belgian photographer Norbert Ghisoland) and Suddenly this overview by Fischli & Weiss.
• Finish your day at Arsenale by watching Ragnar Kjartansson‘s SS Hangover: a sailboat with a small orchestra, caught in an endless trip between point A and point B. Everything seems to fit: the setting (boat and venue), the music (nice composition), the irresistable mix of melancholy and humour. Still waiting for that perfect video to be posted on YouTube, though.
• Tino Sehgal might have won the Golden Lion for best artist, but you’ll agree that when compiling a list of his strongest works, you won’t be picking the one at Il palazzo enciclopedico (Giardini).
• Now that I’m thinking about it: everyone might be saying that performance-based work is one of the big trends in contemporary art, you’ll see remarkably few of those works at the Biennale.
• Strange to notice as well how smoothly everything went, during the opening days of the Biennale. You’d think that some artists would try to capture everyone’s attention by setting up some guerilla act, something strange or unexpected. Remarkably well-behaved, that contemporary art scene (I’m not talking about all the parties, bien sûr).
• The exhibition everybody seemed to want to see: When attitude becomes form at the Prada Foundation. I spent almost an hour in a queue and had moved 1 meter towards the door. As I still had 5 meters to go, I gave up.
• The biggest hype during the opening days? Anri Sala at the French/German pavilion. I’m still wondering how big Ravel’s part was, in all that. Difficult to not be impressed, listening to his Piano Concerto for the left hand in perfect audio conditions. Other pavilions many connoisseurs were talking about? Chili (with Alfredo Jaar) and Lebanon (with Akram Zaatari’s Letter to a refusing pilot).
• Another exhibition you can skip: Personal structures, at Palazzo Bembo. But if this is your first visit to Venice: do go to the second floor, for a wonderful view over the Canal Grande (on your left) and the Rialto bridge (on your right).
• Hungry? Lunch? Avoid Via Garibaldi (too crowded), and opt for that quiet garden of The Museum Of Everything.