Posts Tagged ‘Across the Great Divide’

Blackpaint 657 – Cow on Wheels, Slamming Gate, Flat Brick Skirts

November 8, 2019

Venice Biennale continued

Seems like weeks ago now – but here is the remainder of my pick:

 

Italian Pavilion

This is in the firm of a labyrinth with melted human remains at various points, as well as an artificial beach set up with deck chairs and umbrellas – and the above.

 

Peruvian Pavilion

Several billboard-size paintings like the above; indigenous peoples displayed, ironically, I assume, in leisure/glamour poses.

 

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Uruguayan Pavilion

Great collection of little paintings and drawings, like the above.

 

Serbian Pavilion.

Contrasting paintings (colourful and snappy) and sculpture, in old Communist heroic style.

 

Belgian Pavilion.

A series of unsettling tableaux, making up a sort of asylum of demented characters like those in the picture.

 

Great Britain 

Works by Cathy Wilkes.

Assemblages and paintings, in bland, pastel shades like the above, which refer to domestic, “feminised” surroundings suggesting (to me) a sort of restricted, imprisoned existence – maybe that’s just the meaning I expect such pieces to carry.  The piece is a moulded pregnant female belly.

 

German Pavilion.

Large boulders distributed around a space divided by marked out lines on the floor, as in the picture.   Loud, whining, screaming noises.  According to the handbook, “architectural elements, sound, sculptures and installations create a space that makes the economic, political and social conflicts of the present day socially tangible…” and so on.  This is very typical of the handbook, which is strong on interpretation, but gives one very little idea of the actual nature of the exhibits.

The Greek pavilion provides another good example of this.  My diary entry reads: “GREECE – Liked this one; video of Christos and his mate making bean stew – courgettes, beans – toms? Why not?.. and some celery.  His mate preferred the chicken.  Also, thousands of upside-down jam (?) pots, crammed together on the floor, so you could walk on them.”  The handbook says:”Sounds, moving images and architectural elements dub the pavilion building with new layers of meaning: translucent and open, the past and the future coexist in a condition of active present, where the ardour of the instantaneous allows for interpretations of the past to configure in an associative and instinctive manner.”

 

 

Czech Republic.  Stanislav Kolibal

Liked this one.  Terrific geometric drawings and sculptures, some with string, some with melted ends.

 

Nordic Countries Pavilion.

Artificial tree trunks, more boulders (see Germany) and hanging sheets of vari-coloured latex “seaweed”.  It’s all to do with environment, climate change and mass extinction, obviously, I guess.

From here on, displays by single artists in the Central Pavilion of the Giardini:

 

Soham Gupta, Kolkata

 

Zhanna Kadyrova, Ukraine

 

Henry Taylor, LA

 

 

Ulrike Muller, Austrian, works in LA

 

 

Njideka Akunyili Crosby – Born Nigeria, lives and works in LA

These collages, together with the paintings of Michael Armitage (below) were my favourites in this section.

 

Nabuqi, Beijing

Cow on wheels, on track – what could be more profound?

 

This could, I suppose…Shilpa Gupta, Mumbai,

Gate slams periodically into white wall, slowly demolishing, or at least, damaging it.  Shades of Kapoor…

 

 

 

 

Three works by Michael Armitage, born in Kenya, lives and works in London and Nairobi.

Big, sometimes crudely coloured and drawn African paintings, suggestive of hand-painted posters; some with pink undercoat shining through, like Poussin (or Harold Gilman).

OK, enough with the Biennale-

 

Had to include this photograph I took last week, of the house opposite, which is having a loft installed.  Two apparently cloaked figures stand motionless behind the polythene sheets, while a yellow-clad guitarist plays his instrument at the front of the building…

 

Across the Great Divide

Blackpaint

8.11.19