Sunday, July 29, 2007

La Biennale

Thanks to a new friend, I got to the go the Biennale for free! Let me make my disclaimer by saying that I am neither an art lover or afficianado, but since the Biennale is the worlds largest art show, I figured I should check it out at least once in my life.

The Biennale is down by that park I discovered a month or so back...the one with all the trees. Nice setting. I dont know if it is truly the largest as far as land area goes (although it is quite large), but it does encompass over 30 countries, so in that respect, I think it takes the cake. By the name, obviously, you understand that it happens every other year.

I have come to learn that I prefer the older art---the things I see in the churches and buildings here in Venice. I just dont think I understand this contemporary thing. It's all so vague and subliminal and worst of all, political. Since when does art get to be political?

There was the Romanian exhibit which was a large room with filled cement bags nailed into the walls...some of the dry cement was piled on the floor below each bag. In the middle of the room was some video of the communist regime there in the 80's. The little descriptive plaque on the wall said something about how the cement bags represent the uncertainness of the communism then and the democracy they have now.....whatever?

The American exhibit was a crack was a tribute to some artist who had recently died of aids...most of his work apparently had to do with 'wasting away' (I only found this out later after talking to someone). He had a huge room filled with liquorice hard candy on the floor in the shape of a large rectangle. It apparently weighed the same amount as him and his partner did during their health (his partner also died of aids) and when people come in and take a piece of candy away, it signifies the slow demise of our (their) lives---how encouraging! They also had 2 stacks of papers (about 3-4 feet tall when I saw them)....basically the size of a newspaper sheet opened up. All white with a black border and in the middle in small print it either said "Memorial Day Sale" or "Veterans Day Sale". Obviously another political statement, but again, the idea was for everyone to take one of these posters off the pile to signify the wasting away. So now I finally know why all these people in Venice are walking around with rolled up tubes of paper....what are they going to do with these things when they get home (or how are they going to get them home is a better question?!).

However, my favorite has to go to Finland (and this will indicate to you how much I appreciate contemporary art!). It was a huge wall, about the size of a movie screen, and filled with dartboards all butted up next to each other! There were hundreds of them. And best of all, they gave you darts to throw!!! Not only visually attractive (circles, lines, etc) but interactive. Now that's art!

Runner up would have to go to France. This woman had received a 'dear john' letter. For whatever reason, she decided to send it to 107 different people and ask their take on it. She mailed it to the police commissioner, a psychologist, a writer, a housewife, a clown, you name it. And all these people wrote her back (amazing)! So the entire exhibit was this dear john letter and all the response along with videos to match...she had huge pictures of the letter in brail and with all the grammar corrected (like our 3 grade teachers with their red pen marks). It was quite amusing.

Germany and Korea were quite disturbing..enough to give you nightmares and some were just silly---in the Italian building there were large pictures of a black square on a white canvas! How is that art? I can do blog is more creative than that!

But who am I to critique art....I am sure that the person who was taking a picture of the trashcan with a rolled up "Veterans Day Sale" poster shoved in it has a much better sense of art than I do, right?


Ashley said...

I like art but I never really got to the point that I could appreciate the type of art you described at the show or anything that looks like a 5 year old made it! Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

actually art has always been political, it's just that nowadays they make it ridiculously obvious; it seems this day in age everything has to be spelled out for people, doesn't it?