150609: La Biennale di Venezia – Arsenale: 53. Venice Biennale - Arsenale

La Biennale di Venezia – Arsenale: 53. Venice Biennale - Arsenale A dignified art-promenade The audience is guided into a time machine. But in which direction is it leading them? At first to the classics. In the dimness of the Arsenale, an amazing intervention based on the concept of the Brazilian Lygia Pape, who passed away in 2004, astounds the onlooker. The geometrically braced wiring creates the effect light rays penetrating from outside. The concept of reconstructing the three-dimensional work is outstanding. The perfectly balanced lighting transcends the materiality. The art room distances itself from the outside hectic; the Leitmotiv for “Fare Mondi / Making Worlds”. Similar to the Giardini - Palazzo delle Esposizione, curator Daniel Birnbaum offers diverse representational systems. Then: a series of broken mirrors in portrait mode, classically framed: Michelangelo Pistoletto. Twisting of the topic “light” combined with identity. On the opposite side, a section with drawings by the Slovenian artist and urbanist Marjetica Potrc displaying sketched suggestions for interventions and alternative architecture in crisis-ridden areas and economically precarious living situations. The sequence is puzzling. but on the other hand, the unusual juxtaposition reminds of Pistoletto’s phase of socio-economic criticism. Nevertheless, Birnbaum’s focus is not easily decoded. One of the main motives behind the selection seems to be based on the attempt to stage varying formalisation strategies with serial or repeated moments; or at least trying to channel the view into this direction. This reminds of Peter Greenaway’s strategies as director, artist, and curator to reveal grammars. And on the other hand there is tendency to re-auratize the renovated halls of the Arsenale. Compared to earlier exhibitions at the Arsenale, Birnbaum loosens up the mode of presentation. It is no longer a compact exhibition parcours, but more of a ventilated art promenade with numerous classic positions of contemporary art. One makes extremely interesting encounters while strolling through the exhibit. Yona Friedmanns’s or Carsten Höller’s visual translations of architectural transfer-situations or the videos by the Italian artist Grazia Toderi, leading into the orbit of nocturnal urban landscapes viewed from an infinite distance. The interventions by the young Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou seem to liberate the Arsenale’s somewhat strict classification system. In his large format installation he offers an architectural mix of an African village combined with integrated video installations and references to various cultural citations and symbols of the global world. And this is where sentimentality kicks in. Following the obsessive and excessive exhibitions by Harald Szemann or the exhibition “Less Aesthetics More Ethics” shown at the seventh Architectural Biennial in these halls, it gradually becomes apparent that the individual positions are able to prove their quality and some sections of the exhibition even stimulate a debate. But all in all, the entire enterprise lacks the character of a clear statement. The readiness to experiment, surprise, or maybe even provoke, is lacking. The opportunity to make a lasting mark with a large scale Biennial exhibit is neglected. Instead, this is simply a routine job done well. By Roland Schöny La Biennale di Venezia – Arsenale 30122 Venezia, until 22.11.09 www.labiennale.org

La Biennale di Venezia - Arsenale & Giardini
30122 Venezia,
Öffnungszeiten: täglich 11 - 19 h, Fr, Sa bis 20 h,
Montag geschlossen außer 25/07, 15/08, 5/09, 19/09, 31/10, 21/11

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