We met up with Jan and Ken at the Arsenale section of the Biennale on Thursday. We moved through the enormous structure housing the many installations, stopping at those that caught our eyes. This area seemed to be somewhat less political, more wide-ranging in topic than what we’d seen at the Giardini. Here are some of those that particularly resonated with me.
Riccardo Brey created a room of tables of assemblages using a huge variety of found and created materials, with fascinating textures, colors, and ways the pieces referenced each other. This one had gleams of bronze on black, very beautiful.And although I abhor Georg Baselitz’s patheticly stupid comments about women artists, I can still appreciate his unsettling upside-down figure paintings with their layers of texture.
There were many wonderful artists in the Italy pavilion. A room showing a video montage by Peter Greenaway called “In the Beginning, Was the Image” explored the stock images that appear over and over again in art, using visuals, sound and text in a fascinating way. Also liked this figure sculpture in a room of painted walls, with a tiny video monitor in the background playing scenes titled “memory”
How about a room filled with thousands of tiny, perfect portraits, suspended on walls and ceiling? I could have looked at the individual photos for hours. And these fragmented women you peer at through a crack in a wall were also affecting.
Hanging in an old boat dock were two absolutely stunning phoenixes from Chinese artist XU Bing, all made from construction debris.
We were hungry by this point, so we walked over to via Garibaldi. One of the Venice food aps suggested a “workingmen’s trattoria” nearby, so we sat down to lunch. It was a total comedy of errors, with the four of us peering at our uniformly lousy food in disappointment. Over salted pasta, stringy overcooked fegato, ugh. The really bad house wine was the highlight. Ah well, a run in with bad food at some point is part of the Venice experience, I guess.
Back on the vap, we went to an exhibit at the Palazzo Tiepolo Passi called Dialog of Fire, where artists created installations in glass and ceramics. I especially loved this roomful of softly glowing glass pillows.
Home to rest, and sadly, pack. We met Jan, Ken and Nan for a late dinner at Estro, and had another enjoyable meal there with good food (the crudo plates were fantastic, except for some oysters that could have been better), wines, and conversation.
Buona note, Venezia. Off to Croatia tomorrow!