Category Archives: venice biennale

Post Hoc, a litany of obsolete inventions and phenomena

Defunct television channels, destroyed artworks, missing aircraft, cancelled military projects, former nations, extinct birds, list of sinkholes, discontinued burial techniques, tornadoes, failed banks, discontinued fragrances, obsolete aeronautical machines, etc.

This year, the New Zealand pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale will feature lists of inventions, life forms, phenomena and “things” that no longer exist. The work traces a kind of “history of progress” through the history of obsolescence. Although the “things” listed are now lost to us, their existence still lingers in the present. We might not see them anymore but they’ve made this moment possible.


Dane Mitchell, Post hoc, 2019, Digital Working Drawing


Dane Mitchell, ​Hiding in Plain Sight (​ detail), 2017. Installation view, Connells Bay Sculpture Park, Auckland

The lists will be broadcast throughout the city via a network of tree cell towers, the often derided communication towers that camouflage as nature. The fake trees are being installed in various historical sites across Venice: 3 will be located at the New Zealand pavilion as a sort of networked plantation, and 4 in other sites across Venice. Inhabitants and tourists will be able to hear a whispering of the lists as they walk by the synthetic trees.


Dane Mitchell, Post hoc, 2019. Screen shot from production video filmed at SJ Cell Tower & Artificial Plant Company Limited, Guangzhou, China


Dane Mitchell during the installation of the work at Palazzina Canonica in Venice. Image facebook

The artist behind the project is Dane Mitchell, an artist interested in the physical properties of the intangible and visible manifestations of other dimensions.

“We all live in some sort of technological filter bubble,” Mitchell told me when i asked him what guided the selection of lists of defunct things. “The work pushes up hard against the edges of my own — it is undoubtedly an expression of the perimeters of knowledge I might have access to. The work embraces the fallibility of encyclopedic thinking — it is a (western) delusion to assume that we might be able to ‘hold’ the world in such a way, however, Post hoc is contradictorily an attempt to momentarily hold aloft these vanished things that sit under our present moment.

The lists are very much generated by, and authored by me. In this way they have a poetic logic…one list leads to another leads to another and onwards. I started with ten, and was apprehensive about the task of amassing this list — a list that reads for seven months, averaging 25,000 words a day — but through a meandering approach the lists grew. The filter bubble is also an expression of the types of material forces I’m interested in, be it in relation to science, belief, materiality, etc. The ‘bubble’ is certainly an expression of my own habits and predilections.”


Dane Mitchell, ​Hiding in Plain Sight (​ detail), 2017. Installation view, Connells Bay Sculpture Park, Auckland


Dane Mitchell, Post hoc, 2019. Production still at SJ Cell Tower & Artificial Plant Company Limited, Guangzhou, China

This year, the New Zealand pavilion will be located inside the Palazzina Canonica, the former headquarters of the Marine Research Institute. The Giardini, the historical site of the biennale exhibition, has space for only 29 pavilions of foreign countries. New Zealand is not one of them. Like many other nations, it has to find a palazzo elsewhere to host its exhibition. Dane Mitchell, however, has devised a cunning way to sneak inside the Giardini of the Biennale. He installed one of the tree towers in the Parco delle Rimembranze, a nearby park covered in (natural) pines. Visitors touring the Giardini of the biennale will be able use their wifi-enabled device and grab the transmissions emitted from the neighbouring green space.

I admire the bravery and irony of creating a project that highlights disappearance in a city that’s slowly sinking into physical oblivion. Without even mentioning the art biennial, a format that’s often been labelled as ‘outmoded’.

Interestingly, the title of the exhibition is “Post hoc” which translates to “after this” in Latin, the most famous dead language of the Western world.


Dane Mitchell, Post hoc 2019. Production still

If you want to know more about the project, do check out Dane Mitchell’s discussion of it a few weeks ago at daadgalerie in Berlin:

Dane Mitchell, Övül Durmusoglu and Heman Chong panel discussion at daadgalerie in Berlin on 12 March 2019

Dane Mitchell, Post hoc is on view at Palazzina Canonica (and across the city), the New Zealand Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, from 11 May until 24 November 2019.

The Venice Biennale reports. Part 3: Protests and modern slavery at the Arsenale

0AC_8509_xubing.jpg
Xu Bing, The Phoenix, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

The Venice Art Biennale is 120 years old and i can't believe they've waited that long to give the reins of the event to an African curator. It was high time and bloody welcome.

Okwui Enwezor explained in his curatorial statement:

How can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined, and articulated? Over the course of the last two centuries the radical changes - from industrial to post-industrial modernity; technological to digital modernity; mass migration to mass mobility, environmental disasters and genocidal conflicts, chaos and promise - have made fascinating subject matter for artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, musicians, etc.

The 56th Biennale is thus set against the backdrop of economic, ecological and humanitarian crises. Any kind of art or design event has to pretend that they care for the state of the world these days (unless they are the Frieze art fair of course) but somehow this edition of the biennale demonstrates far more energy, determination and spirit in tackling the sufferings of our world than many much younger and openly socially-engaged events i've attended recently. It has both political gravitas and lightness of language. Humour and vigour. It even has music and graphic design.

A bit of a user's manual wouldn't have gone amiss though. You find yourself navigating a sea of works, they are accompanied by a title and the name of the author. Nothing else. In some cases you know the work, in others the piece is pretty self-explanatory but far too often you look at something that might or might not appeal to you and you've no idea what it represents and comments on.

But let's get to the works, shall we? First stop of the Biennale was, as always for me, the Arsenale, the city's former shipyards and armories:

0i550M_gluklya.jpg
GLUKLYA/ Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Clothes for the demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin, 2011-2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0AC_8556_gluklya.jpg
GLUKLYA/ Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Clothes for the demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin, 2011-2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0againstputinfa8_b.jpg

0i2clothePutin9f73.jpg
GLUKLYA Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Clothes for the demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin, 2011-2015

Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya lined up against the Arsenale's brick wall dozens protest "signs" designed as clothing to represent different groups who are under or misrepresented in the political climate of Russia. The clothes are imaginary but they do reference the 2011 Russian protests.

0calhoun-and-mccormick-angola.jpg
Chandra McCormick, Farming at the Louisiana State Penitentiery at Angola, 2004

0_8647_calhoun_mccormick.jpg
Keith Calhoun & Chandra McCormick, from the series Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

Keith Calhoun & Chandra McCormick have been documenting Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States, since the 1980s. Angola is located in Louisiana, the state that tops the country's list of states by incarceration rate. Angola's nickname is The Farm because inmates work in plantations under the supervision of guards on horseback.

0i1paperwork23588_n.jpg
Taryn Simon, Paperwork and the Will of Capital: An Account of Flora As Witness, 2015

0i9503_simon.jpg
Taryn Simon, Paperwork, and the Will of Capital, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i_8165_simon.jpg
Taryn Simon, Paperwork, and the Will of Capital, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

Taryn Simon looked at archive photos documenting agreements, contracts, treaties, and decrees signed by powerful men. Most of the photos showed floral arrangements in the background. The signings involved the 44 countries present at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. This conference led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Simon worked with a botanist to identify the flowers that marked each signing. Over 4,000 plant specimens were imported to Simon's studio from the world's largest flower auction, in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands. Everyday millions of flowers are shipped there from all over the world and are then distributed to the world's flower shops. These flowers symbolise globalisation. Simon recreated the bouquets from each signing and photographed them against background and foreground colours informed by the colour schemes in the historical records of the original ceremonies.

The installations showed Simon's usual care and precision but it has far less bite or sense than her previous works. It looked pretty and you can draw parallels between the dried up flowers and the disintegration of any desire to regulate the financial order if you're so inclined but i couldn't see the point, to be honest.

0noFoodfor7_b.jpg

0i2dearafrica43a6.jpg

0LoveJesus7be2_b.jpg
Karo Akpokiere, Zwischen Lagos und Berlin, 2015

0tszwischenrmoo1_500.jpg
Karo Akpokiere, Zwischen Lagos und Berlin. Photo by Karo Akpokiere

Karo Akpokiere's drawings are inspired by his experiences of living in Lagos and Berlin.

0i2craftBrubury90a4.jpg

0i2craftdetail8433.jpg
Maja Bajevic, Arts, Crafts and Facts, 2015

0C_9354_bajevic.jpg
Maja Bajevic, The Unbelievable Lightness of Being, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

Maja Bajevic's Arts, Crafts and Facts is a series of rugs and pieces of fabrics in which traditional Bosnian embroidery reproduces the fluctuations of the Stock Market indexes around the world, turning intangible financial data into tangible needle work.

0i1blindssspot.jpg

0blind-spot-15-2-web.jpg
Mykola Ridnyi, Blind Spot

0mykola7c7.jpg
Mykola Ridnyi, Blind Spot. Installation views at the 56th Venice biennale for contemporary art, 2015. Photo: Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

I'm going to simply copy/paste the text of the artist:
According to the assumptions of ophthalmology, there is a blank area called the blind spot , there is a blank area called the blind spot in our eyeshot, between right and left eye. Accordingly to this phenomenon, we are unable to fully see what is happening around us. We construct the missing image of reality and try to fill the blind spot, relying our knowledge, memory or compelling influence of information. Usually we are not aware of this constant construction of reality. Exception of the rule is the disease, when the blind spot is perceptible and becomes genuine darkness absorbing the reality. Everything may start from small, a gradually expanding black dot or like a tapering tunnel which consequently devours vision as long as everything is obscured. When it spreads about the society, inability or limitations in the vision become the mechanism of human self-defense that brings about unsolicited blindness against escalating violence. There is also another form of blindness - one imposed by the machine of war propaganda which produces a binary vision of reality and creates "us" and "them", "brothers" and "enemies", "citizens" and "aliens". Those divisions do not have any reasonable basis in reality. As we move into the future, it seems that we are destined to 'repeat the mistakes of history' because we refuse to see our past. Tragic events will be engulfed by fading light and our memory will keep only chosen heroes, leaving behind unsung victims. Victims are always omitted, and the price of human life becomes devaluated, while sides of the conflict remain engaged in defending their rightwards. In the „Blind spot" series, photographs taken from a number of reports about the war on the East of Ukraine are interlinked with the phenomenon of gradually going blind and a resulting narrowed field of vision: the imagery is almost completely obscured by black ink.

More photos. No comments:

0protectserve8d81_z.jpg

0i2protectServ8df3fa.jpg
Lavar Munroe, To Protect and Serve, 2012

0i2newelle011a.jpg
Newell Harry, Untitled (Objects + Anagrams for R.U. & R.U., Part II, 2015

0AC_8119_adkins.jpg
Terry Adkins. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i2drumsb6_z.jpg
Terry Adkins, Muffled Drums (from Darkwater), 2003

0lasttrumpet27ba9a_z.jpg
Terry Adkins, The Last Trumpet, 1995

0i2bonviciniDet467.jpg
Monica Bonvicini, Latent Combustion, 2015

0i01M_bonvicini.jpg
Monica Bonvicini, Latent Combustion, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i05_bonvicini.jpg
Monica Bonvicini, Latent Combustion, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i2cannonecomm55.jpg
Pino Pascali, Cannone Semovente (Gun), 1965

0AC_8771_holler.jpg
Carsten Holler & Mans Mansson, Fara Fara, 2014. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0C_8524_xubing.jpg

0i_xubing.jpg
Xu Bing, The Phoenix, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0AC_8730_zhijie.jpg
Qui Zhijie, Jingling Chronicle Theater Project, 2010-2015. Photo by Isabella Balena / la Biennale di Venezia

Bits of untitled, unintentional art in and around the arsenale:

0jellyfis03036.jpg

0i2tantobene85.jpg

All of the World's Futures - The main exhibition of the 56th Venice Art Biennale was curated by Okwui Enwezor. The biennale remains open until 22 November 2015.
More photos? This way!

The Venice Biennale reports. Part 2: Abu Bakarr Mansaray’s UFO and other futuristic flying machines

One of the artists whose work impressed me the most at the Arsenale exhibition of the Venice Art Biennale is Abu Bakarr Mansaray. An autodidact from Sierra Leone, the artist has always been equally curious about practical science, engineering, toy manufacturing and traditional African crafts. He applies this knowledge to drawing futuristic worlds inhabited by flying machines piloted by skeletons, tanks that look like dinosaurs, dangerous computer virus, 'Hell Extinguisher', aliens and other 'sinister projects.' All the machines and scenes of mayhem are annotated with great details about the functioning of his formidable creations.

0AbuANucliairMosquitofromHell.jpg
Abu-Bakarr Mansaray, A Nuclear Mosquito From Hell

0Terrificpoisonousandhostile2011-1024x682.jpg
Terrific Poisonous and Hostile, 2011

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The most dangerous and destructive object

0suphisticatedhellli.jpg
Sufisticated Hell Lizard, 2011

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Beyond Creation, 2004

0h2kaitiric4e06c5.jpg
Kaitiri Watini

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Kaitiri Watini (detail)

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Return of the Xynomoph, 2013

0chamberunknownnin_a_2765.jpg
The Chamber of the Unknown, 2012

0neoftheafrica25b.jpg
One of the African Black Magic. The Witch Plane

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Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Appajax, 2000

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0i2lumbricost523c_b.jpg

0i2detaild39e10cd.jpg
Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell (detail)

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Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell (detail)

0i2maisbo5b_c.jpg
Masibo

0i2infrno1702.jpg
Inferno

0dpguniversal614e_b.jpg
DPG Universal

More photos.

Check out Abu Bakarr Mansaray's drawings at All the World's Futures, the 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice. The shows remain open until Sunday, 22nd of November 2015 at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues.

Previously: The Venice Biennale reports. Part 1: Angels, giant lizards and a Trojan horse.

The Venice Biennale reports. Part 2: Abu Bakarr Mansaray’s UFO and other futuristic flying machines

One of the artists whose work impressed me the most at the Arsenale exhibition of the Venice Art Biennale is Abu Bakarr Mansaray. An autodidact from Sierra Leone, the artist has always been equally curious about practical science, engineering, toy manufacturing and traditional African crafts. He applies this knowledge to drawing futuristic worlds inhabited by flying machines piloted by skeletons, tanks that look like dinosaurs, dangerous computer virus, ‘Hell Extinguisher’, aliens and other ‘sinister projects.’ All the machines and scenes of mayhem are annotated with great details about the functioning of his formidable creations.

0AbuANucliairMosquitofromHell.jpg

Abu-Bakarr Mansaray, A Nuclear Mosquito From Hell

0Terrificpoisonousandhostile2011-1024x682.jpg

Terrific Poisonous and Hostile, 2011

0aamostfrighten90.jpg

The most dangerous and destructive object

0suphisticatedhellli.jpg

Sufisticated Hell Lizard, 2011

0a0beyondcreation1.jpg

Beyond Creation, 2004

0h2kaitiric4e06c5.jpg

Kaitiri Watini

0akaiaitiridetai.jpg

Kaitiri Watini (detail)

0abu_synomophj_419.jpg

Return of the Xynomoph, 2013

0chamberunknownnin_a_2765.jpg

The Chamber of the Unknown, 2012

0neoftheafrica25b.jpg

One of the African Black Magic. The Witch Plane

0i2appajax5f7348.jpg

Abu Bakarr Mansaray, Appajax, 2000

0i2sinisterb1c71_b.jpg
0i2lumbricost523c_b.jpg
0i2detaild39e10cd.jpg

Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell (detail)

0l2nucleard2c4ff_b.jpg

Nuclear Telephone Discovered in Hell (detail)

0i2maisbo5b_c.jpg

Masibo

0i2infrno1702.jpg

Inferno

0dpguniversal614e_b.jpg

DPG Universal

More photos.

Check out Abu Bakarr Mansaray’s drawings at All the World’s Futures, the 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice. The shows remain open until Sunday, 22nd of November 2015 at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues.

Previously: The Venice Biennale reports. Part 1: Angels, giant lizards and a Trojan horse.

The Venice Biennale reports. Part 3: Protests and modern slavery at the Arsenale

0AC_8509_xubing.jpg

Xu Bing, The Phoenix, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

The Venice Art Biennale is 120 years old and i can’t believe they’ve waited that long to give the reins of the event to an African curator. It was high time and bloody welcome.

Okwui Enwezor explained in his curatorial statement:

How can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined, and articulated? Over the course of the last two centuries the radical changes – from industrial to post-industrial modernity; technological to digital modernity; mass migration to mass mobility, environmental disasters and genocidal conflicts, chaos and promise – have made fascinating subject matter for artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, musicians, etc.

The 56th Biennale is thus set against the backdrop of economic, ecological and humanitarian crises. Any kind of art or design event has to pretend that they care for the state of the world these days (unless they are the Frieze art fair of course) but somehow this edition of the biennale demonstrates far more energy, determination and spirit in tackling the sufferings of our world than many much younger and openly socially-engaged events i’ve attended recently. It has both political gravitas and lightness of language. Humour and vigour. It even has music and graphic design.

A bit of a user’s manual wouldn’t have gone amiss though. You find yourself navigating a sea of works, they are accompanied by a title and the name of the author. Nothing else. In some cases you know the work, in others the piece is pretty self-explanatory but far too often you look at something that might or might not appeal to you and you’ve no idea what it represents and comments on.

But let’s get to the works, shall we? First stop of the Biennale was, as always for me, the Arsenale, the city’s former shipyards and armories:

0i550M_gluklya.jpg

GLUKLYA/ Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Clothes for the demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin, 2011-2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0AC_8556_gluklya.jpg

GLUKLYA/ Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Clothes for the demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin, 2011-2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0againstputinfa8_b.jpg
0i2clothePutin9f73.jpg

GLUKLYA Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Clothes for the demonstration against false election of Vladimir Putin, 2011-2015

Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskaya lined up against the Arsenale’s brick wall dozens protest “signs” designed as clothing to represent different groups who are under or misrepresented in the political climate of Russia. The clothes are imaginary but they do reference the 2011 Russian protests.

0calhoun-and-mccormick-angola.jpg

Chandra McCormick, Farming at the Louisiana State Penitentiery at Angola, 2004

0_8647_calhoun_mccormick.jpg

Keith Calhoun & Chandra McCormick, from the series Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

Keith Calhoun & Chandra McCormick have been documenting Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States, since the 1980s. Angola is located in Louisiana, the state that tops the country’s list of states by incarceration rate. Angola’s nickname is The Farm because inmates work in plantations under the supervision of guards on horseback.

0i1paperwork23588_n.jpg

Taryn Simon, Paperwork and the Will of Capital: An Account of Flora As Witness, 2015

0i9503_simon.jpg

Taryn Simon, Paperwork, and the Will of Capital, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i_8165_simon.jpg

Taryn Simon, Paperwork, and the Will of Capital, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

Taryn Simon looked at archive photos documenting agreements, contracts, treaties, and decrees signed by powerful men. Most of the photos showed floral arrangements in the background. The signings involved the 44 countries present at the Bretton Woods conference of 1944. This conference led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Simon worked with a botanist to identify the flowers that marked each signing. Over 4,000 plant specimens were imported to Simon’s studio from the world’s largest flower auction, in Aalsmeer, The Netherlands. Everyday millions of flowers are shipped there from all over the world and are then distributed to the world’s flower shops. These flowers symbolise globalisation. Simon recreated the bouquets from each signing and photographed them against background and foreground colours informed by the colour schemes in the historical records of the original ceremonies.

The installations showed Simon’s usual care and precision but it has far less bite or sense than her previous works. It looked pretty and you can draw parallels between the dried up flowers and the disintegration of any desire to regulate the financial order if you’re so inclined but i couldn’t see the point, to be honest.

0noFoodfor7_b.jpg
0i2dearafrica43a6.jpg
0LoveJesus7be2_b.jpg

Karo Akpokiere, Zwischen Lagos und Berlin, 2015

0tszwischenrmoo1_500.jpg

Karo Akpokiere, Zwischen Lagos und Berlin. Photo by Karo Akpokiere

Karo Akpokiere’s drawings are inspired by his experiences of living in Lagos and Berlin.

0i2craftBrubury90a4.jpg
0i2craftdetail8433.jpg

Maja Bajevic, Arts, Crafts and Facts, 2015

0C_9354_bajevic.jpg

Maja Bajevic, The Unbelievable Lightness of Being, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

Maja Bajevic’s Arts, Crafts and Facts is a series of rugs and pieces of fabrics in which traditional Bosnian embroidery reproduces the fluctuations of the Stock Market indexes around the world, turning intangible financial data into tangible needle work.

0i1blindssspot.jpg
0blind-spot-15-2-web.jpg

Mykola Ridnyi, Blind Spot

0mykola7c7.jpg

Mykola Ridnyi, Blind Spot. Installation views at the 56th Venice biennale for contemporary art, 2015. Photo: Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

I’m going to simply copy/paste the text of the artist:
According to the assumptions of ophthalmology, there is a blank area called the blind spot , there is a blank area called the blind spot in our eyeshot, between right and left eye. Accordingly to this phenomenon, we are unable to fully see what is happening around us. We construct the missing image of reality and try to fill the blind spot, relying our knowledge, memory or compelling influence of information. Usually we are not aware of this constant construction of reality. Exception of the rule is the disease, when the blind spot is perceptible and becomes genuine darkness absorbing the reality. Everything may start from small, a gradually expanding black dot or like a tapering tunnel which consequently devours vision as long as everything is obscured. When it spreads about the society, inability or limitations in the vision become the mechanism of human self-defense that brings about unsolicited blindness against escalating violence. There is also another form of blindness – one imposed by the machine of war propaganda which produces a binary vision of reality and creates “us” and “them”, “brothers” and “enemies”, “citizens” and “aliens”. Those divisions do not have any reasonable basis in reality. As we move into the future, it seems that we are destined to ‘repeat the mistakes of history’ because we refuse to see our past. Tragic events will be engulfed by fading light and our memory will keep only chosen heroes, leaving behind unsung victims. Victims are always omitted, and the price of human life becomes devaluated, while sides of the conflict remain engaged in defending their rightwards. In the „Blind spot” series, photographs taken from a number of reports about the war on the East of Ukraine are interlinked with the phenomenon of gradually going blind and a resulting narrowed field of vision: the imagery is almost completely obscured by black ink.

More photos. No comments:

0protectserve8d81_z.jpg
0i2protectServ8df3fa.jpg

Lavar Munroe, To Protect and Serve, 2012

0i2newelle011a.jpg

Newell Harry, Untitled (Objects + Anagrams for R.U. & R.U., Part II, 2015

0AC_8119_adkins.jpg

Terry Adkins. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i2drumsb6_z.jpg

Terry Adkins, Muffled Drums (from Darkwater), 2003

0lasttrumpet27ba9a_z.jpg

Terry Adkins, The Last Trumpet, 1995

0i2bonviciniDet467.jpg

Monica Bonvicini, Latent Combustion, 2015

0i01M_bonvicini.jpg

Monica Bonvicini, Latent Combustion, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i05_bonvicini.jpg

Monica Bonvicini, Latent Combustion, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0i2cannonecomm55.jpg

Pino Pascali, Cannone Semovente (Gun), 1965

0AC_8771_holler.jpg

Carsten Holler & Mans Mansson, Fara Fara, 2014. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0C_8524_xubing.jpg
0i_xubing.jpg

Xu Bing, The Phoenix, 2015. Photo by Alessandra Chemollo / la Biennale di Venezia

0AC_8730_zhijie.jpg

Qui Zhijie, Jingling Chronicle Theater Project, 2010-2015. Photo by Isabella Balena / la Biennale di Venezia

Bits of untitled, unintentional art in and around the arsenale:

0jellyfis03036.jpg
0i2tantobene85.jpg

All of the World’s Futures – The main exhibition of the 56th Venice Art Biennale was curated by Okwui Enwezor. The biennale remains open until 22 November 2015.
More photos? This way!

The Venice Biennale reports. Part 1: Angels, giant lizards and a Trojan horse

0Voyage - Trokomod 16Photo by Luciano RomanoCourtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

5. Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

I finally made it to the Venice Bienniale this week. I hadn't set foot there for years. My number one preoccupation, as soon as i had dropped my bag at the hotel, was to locate the Pavilion of the Indonesian Republic. It's at the Arsenale, I had seen a photo of it. Some kind of rusty dinosaur with angels flying around it.

It turns out there was no dinosaur but a cross between the Trojan Horse and a Komodo dragon, a large species of lizard found in Indonesia. Called "Trokomod", this 4 meter tall and 7.5 meter long amphibious vessel was created by Heri Dono to explore the place of his country in a globalized world. "Indonesia has for most of the time been a blank spot on the world map, he said, now is the time to speak up."

Visitors can enter the Trokomod, play with a submarine-like periscope and look through telescopes that reveal mysterious scenes of European culture: faces of people wearing eighteenth-century curly wigs, a prosthetic leg used in the First World War, a copy of Karl Marx's Capital, etc. They are presented as exotic pieces in an ethnographic museum. Which makes for an amusing reversal of the roles as it is usually Western museums that collect and interpret 'exotic' artefacts found in distant countries.

Dono's critical vision of the Western world doesn't end there. His installation also denounces Western hegemony of the global contemporary art, the way it dictates its rules, codes and important protagonists.

Voyage - Trokomod and The Telescopes.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod and The Telescopes. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

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Processing of Voyage

His creatures are made out of scrap metal collected in the junkyards of Bandung and Yogyakarta, they were crafted in collaboration with architects and local artisans from Indonesia.

As for the silver flying vessels, they are described in the curatorial text as follows: Angels derived from stories when he was a kid had nothing to do with religion, rather he was inspired by Flash Gordon comic strip, as he asserts that it arrived on the moon before Neil Armstrong, meaning that imagination is faster than reality. Angles became an early metaphor for freedom and dreams. "Angels are free to fly wherever they want". But his angels, made of wood with flapping wings, a low-tech device and gender genitalia that were first created at a time of hopeful freedom, were soon flying in a cocoon, followed by a series caught in a trap and even broken in the next series, and recently facing the future, all in parallel with the social and political situation of the country.

The pavilion of the Indonesian Republic turned out to be far more interesting than i had expected. It presents an art that is capable of being visually attractive to the broad public, an art that has some humour, understands its role in society, is critical of the status quo and attempts to challenge it.

Visitor during Vernissagephoto by Fendi Siregar - Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Visitor during Vernissage. Photo by Fendi Siregar - Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

rtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

esy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

ourtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

TrokomodandThe Telescopes 3.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod and The Telescopes. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

urtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg
Voyage - Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

I took lots of photos.

The Venice Art Biennale 2015 is open at the Giardini and Arsenale in Venice until 22 November 2015.

The Venice Biennale reports. Part 1: Angels, giant lizards and a Trojan horse

0Voyage - Trokomod 16Photo by Luciano RomanoCourtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

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Voyage – Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

I finally made it to the Venice Bienniale this week. I hadn’t set foot there for years. My number one preoccupation, as soon as i had dropped my bag at the hotel, was to locate the Pavilion of the Indonesian Republic. It’s at the Arsenale, I had seen a photo of it. Some kind of rusty dinosaur with angels flying around it.

It turns out there was no dinosaur but a cross between the Trojan Horse and a Komodo dragon, a large species of lizard found in Indonesia. Called “Trokomod”, this 4 meter tall and 7.5 meter long amphibious vessel was created by Heri Dono to explore the place of his country in a globalized world. “Indonesia has for most of the time been a blank spot on the world map, he said, now is the time to speak up.”

Visitors can enter the Trokomod, play with a submarine-like periscope and look through telescopes that reveal mysterious scenes of European culture: faces of people wearing eighteenth-century curly wigs, a prosthetic leg used in the First World War, a copy of Karl Marx’s Capital, etc. They are presented as exotic pieces in an ethnographic museum. Which makes for an amusing reversal of the roles as it is usually Western museums that collect and interpret ‘exotic’ artefacts found in distant countries.

Dono’s critical vision of the Western world doesn’t end there. His installation also denounces Western hegemony of the global contemporary art, the way it dictates its rules, codes and important protagonists.

Voyage - Trokomod and The Telescopes.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod and The Telescopes. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

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Processing of Voyage

His creatures are made out of scrap metal collected in the junkyards of Bandung and Yogyakarta, they were crafted in collaboration with architects and local artisans from Indonesia.

As for the silver flying vessels, they are described in the curatorial text as follows: Angels derived from stories when he was a kid had nothing to do with religion, rather he was inspired by Flash Gordon comic strip, as he asserts that it arrived on the moon before Neil Armstrong, meaning that imagination is faster than reality. Angles became an early metaphor for freedom and dreams. “Angels are free to fly wherever they want”. But his angels, made of wood with flapping wings, a low-tech device and gender genitalia that were first created at a time of hopeful freedom, were soon flying in a cocoon, followed by a series caught in a trap and even broken in the next series, and recently facing the future, all in parallel with the social and political situation of the country.

The pavilion of the Indonesian Republic turned out to be far more interesting than i had expected. It presents an art that is capable of being visually attractive to the broad public, an art that has some humour, understands its role in society, is critical of the status quo and attempts to challenge it.

Visitor during Vernissagephoto by Fendi Siregar - Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg

Visitor during Vernissage. Photo by Fendi Siregar – Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

rtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

esy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

ourtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

TrokomodandThe Telescopes 3.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod and The Telescopes. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

urtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia.jpg

Voyage – Trokomod. Photo by Luciano Romano Courtesy of Bumi Purnati Indonesia

I took lots of photos.

The Venice Art Biennale 2015 is open at the Giardini and Arsenale in Venice until 22 November 2015.