Posts Tagged ‘The Giardini at the Biennale’

Blackpaint 517 – Venice Preserv’d

October 30, 2015

It’s preserved in brine.  No-one lives there, except for shopkeepers, hoteliers and gondoliers maybe; the average resident’s age is over 50.  Anyway, this is the pavilions blog.

Giardini (the Pavilions)

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Kerry James Marshall

This magnificent “mirror” picture is one of 5 or 6 both abstract and figurative pictures in the main pavilion, which houses individual artists, rather than national projects.

The British Pavilion

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Sarah Lucas

 

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Sarah Lucas

The British and Russian pavilions form, for me, the opposing poles of the national exhibitions; the Lucas sculptures are joyfully obscene and the great yellow phallus wags like a middle finger before the Gran Bretagna sign (see above).  Inside, a number of sculptures rest on piles of spam tins or plunge headlong into toilets with cigarettes poking out of their bumholes and vaginas.  Lacking in subtlety and pathos perhaps – but no denying the popularity with the punters.  Everybody was laughing and snapping away uproariously; four mature German women obviously very intellectually stimulated…

Romanian Pavilion

I loved the Romanian show again this year, because it contains some real paintings – and good ones at that.  I thought at first glance they were abstract, but was sharply informed by my two companions that they were not; “There’s a hand – and there’s a man in that one”.  True, but the thick paint, applied in swipes by a knife maybe, and the vivid colours make them look abstract.  They are collectively called “Darwin’s Room”, so there is a conceptual basis – but I liked the paintings too much to bother with that.  They remind me of Bosch, or Brueghel, or even the Matthias Grunewald.

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Adrian Ghenie

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Adrian Ghenie

Russian Pavilion

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Irina Nakhova has put together a rather oddly matched group of exhibits; the above is a hologram(?) of a pilot’s face peering anxiously out of a giant oxygen mask; amusing and memorable but… on the other hand, there is a very moving display of film and photographs on the lower floor, constantly playing through “windows”; unsmiling soldiers in uniform, sometimes with guns, scratchy old film of Russian people going about their lives, photos of victims of the NKVD, shot at a rifle range, people whose faces are scrawled over with a pen like the Rodchenko photos.  At one point, the walls appear to be closing in.  The faces, at an angle, look like stained glass windows.

To finish, two more Bellini paintings from the Accademia:  Note the similarity in the position of the dead Christ in the Pieta to that of the baby in the Virgin and Child.

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Giovanni Bellini

 

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Mirror Portrait

Blackpaint

30.10.15

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