Venice reflections

art

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Light installation by Spencer Finch
and Buddha’s hand sculptures by Huang Yong Ping
(Fare Mondi/Making Worlds at Arsenale)

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Latex sheet used for the cleaning of a wall at the Doge’s palace in Venice
by Jorge Otero-Pailos, theorist of architecture and contemporary preservation
(Fare Mondi/Making Worlds at Arsenale)

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Arsenale spaces

To perceive such a mass of artworks as in the Venice Biennale, one will have to do some coding – consciously or not. The simplest way is perceiving by like or dislike, and it’s not a bad one. However, I try adding some more categories, like: does this artwork express critique, or is it an act of celebration? Do I perceive it mainly as communication – horizontally – or does it open to the vertical dimension as well? Is it conceptional, or… what?
Much contemporary art springs from concept. Only a few works succeed in transcending it; like few sperms ever reach an egg.

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Tomas Saraceno’s Black Widow spider web
in the large, enlightened central space of the international pavillion;
Nathalie Djurberg’s inverted Garden of Eden in the dark room underneath
(Fare Mondi/Making Worlds at Giardini)

Good curating, though, can provide meaning also to what otherwise might appear abortive. At the Biennale’s international exhibition venues – Fare Mondi/Making Worlds – there is rhythm and lightness to the curating, bringing the works in tune.
I add rhythm as another coding category.

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outdoor stools, above;
sculptural installation by Richard Wentworth, below
(both at Arsenale)

How do these categories coincide, overlap or differ?
Do I, for instance, always like those pieces made in celebration of something which I can attach myself to – like humanistic values? No. Can I keep disliking a work when the curating connects it to some other in a meaningful way? No. Now, this is fun…

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Styrofoam sculpture by Carsten Höller at Arsenale, above;
two photos from Giardini, below

And then, suddenly, something seizes me and I leave all questions behind.
It’s art.

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Ttéia I; gold thread in square forms, by Brazilian artist Lygia Pape

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