Following on from last week’s previews, the Venice Biennale – one of the most prestigious cultural events that presents all forms of art, and gathers thousands of visitors from all over the globe – is now in full swing. Hunger visited the 55th International Art Exhibition with the Biennale’s sponsors, Swatch, to check out the eclectic mix that we’ve come to expect before Jean-David Malat, the director of the Opera Gallery London, picks his Venice Biennale highlights for us.
Venetians 2013, Installation by Pawel Althamer
Polish artist Pawel Althamer showcased at the Central Pavilion with a captivating installation. Althamer created plastic manufactured figures, all with cast faces and hands of local Venetians. Bonded by plastic ribbons, the life-size figures became a surreal body landscape featuring the people and soul of Venice.
Walking on Water, U.A.E pavillon by Mohammed Kazem
Kazem’s installation transports the viewer to the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight. The projected sound and image of the large seascape creates a feeling of complete isolation for the observer, and proves the most tranquil spot in Venice.
Constellations series, Bahamas pavillon by Tavares Strachan
Bahamian artist Tavares Strachan, based in the US, exhibited his most recent project focusing on the Polar Eclipse. The exhibition space included various collections such as installation, video, sculpture and collage work by the artist. Walking through the exhibition, Strachan shares with us his experiences from an expedition to the North Pole. He created pieces that narrate his journey and explores themes of culture, physical displacement, and the evolution of historic discoveries. The accomplished work successfully executed the artist’s theme of displacement, both emotional and physically, through geographical and scientific measurements. A beautifully created combination of art and scientific exploration, this installation should be on everyone’s must see list.
‘Follow Him’ and‘Temporary Ward’ from Transfiguration, China Pavilion by Wang Qingsong
Wang Qingsong contributed large-formatted images that provide a visual shock. His photographs transform life situations to visual illusions. Taking commonplaces, such as a ward or an office space, Qingsong stages the environment and photographs them to become still art performances that critique the values of contemporary Chinese society. Not only does it dramatise realistic situations, but it also represents China’s economic and social spheres.
Love Me or Love Me Not, Arsenal North by YARAT
Love Me or Love Me Not, the exhibition featured in the Arsenal North was organized by YARAT, a not-for-profit contemporary art organisation based in Baku, to showcase recent work by 17 artists from Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, Russia and Georgia. The artworks that really stand out are Kiosk de Curiosite by Fahrad Moshiri, an intricate thread installation piece by artist Faig Ahmed and Recycled by Aida Mahmudova
Beyond the Venice Biennale Pavillions…
The Giorgio Cini Foundation hosts both shows on the San Giorgio Maggiore Island in Venice, and both are well worth a visit. The first, an exhibition of new work by renowned British artist Marc Quinn, known for ‘Siren’, his gold sculpture of Kate Moss and ‘Self’, a sculpture made from his own frozen blood, exhibits more original sculptures and paintings – one of a nude, pregnant Lara Stone. Consisting of more than 50 works, Quinn focuses on the metamorphic abilities of both human life and nature.
The second exhibition, Fragile, houses a wide collection of artworks by some of the most influential artist of our time, such as Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys, and Damien Hirst. The selected artists were chosen to showcase works that involved experimenting with industrial fragile material and glass, and the intriguing results are set to captivate.