La Biennale Sunday Highlights

After nonstop art excursions on Friday and Saturday, we planned to take it slightly slower on Sunday, but still managed to hit three worthwhile venues.
A morning photo walk in Castello along Fondamenta San Giuseppe brought me to a unique Chinese exhibit. “Indeterminacy” was a collateral event of La Biennale. This curated show included work from seven young Chinese artists.

The most accomplished of the work on show in this small, two-room gallery was by Zheng Jiang.
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Five intricate marker drawings on paper are presented by this artist. I originally thought they were color photographs shot through etched glass, but Zheng Jiang’s realist style works perfectly to give the sense of fading memories.
Look for more from this artist, and the others from this little show, in a dedicated post later this week.

 

Our main destination for the day was The Peggy Guggenheim Collection and their exhibition of Robert Motherwell’s Early Collages.

 

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This unique show runs through September 8th and focuses on his works from the 1940s.

 

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It was Peggy Guggenheim who led Motherwell to experiment with collage and this helped him to discover his own voice in the abstract expressionist movement.

 

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This exhibit offers a great chance to get up close an personal with the snips and clips Motherwell used to create these early compositions of paper. Compositions that would later influence his more well-known canvas paintings and printmaking.

 

Even though we promised ourselves we wouldn’t stray into the Venice Guggenheim’s permanent collection, (having seen it years before and hoping to spend the late afternoon relaxing at Lido Beach,) the lure of the Modern masters, and the iconic terrace proved too strong. We soon found ourselves joining the crowds to gaze at world-changing pieces by the likes of Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Léger, Magritte, Kandinsky, Pollock, Rothko, van Doesburg, and of course my favorite: Mondrian.

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Mondrian – Composition No. 1 with Grey and Red 1938 / Composition with Red 1939

 

 

 

 

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The Guggenheim’s magnificent terrace overlooks Venice’s Grand Canal and allows you to sit beside an Alexander Calder sculpture while enjoying one of the most pleasant scenes of rush-hour traffic on the planet.

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After our abbreviated trip to the beach, and a leisurely dinner back in Castello on Via Garibaldi, we happened across our last little art experience at the Maldives Pavilion and their Portable Nation exhibit focusing on “DISAPPEARANCE AS WORK IN PROGRESS.”   Only allowed to view the works in the entryway due to an evening private party, we were especially intrigued by the interactive work of Patrizio Travagli concerning the memory of disappearance in his piece Pantheistic-Polifacetic.

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Though difficult to see in this photo, shot in the dark, cave-like room, Travagli’s sign instructs viewers to: “1) Photograph the Mirror. 2) Email the photo to the artist.” and then provides an address to send the pictures, which ostensibly will be presented in his Tumblr Blog.

 

Also in near the entrance was a large canvas by Wael Darwesh.

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Titled The Disappearance, it projects the feeling of a passing memory not quite captured. Like a dream you try to try to remember after you wake up but can’t seem to bring into focus.

Perhaps a fitting way to end our Venetian visit? The Maldives is an island chain in the Indian Ocean being heavily threatened by the rising tides of climate change. It is realistically possible that the seas will cover the islands within the next 15 years, forcing the entire population of Asia’s smallest nation to relocate. Of course Venetians are not unfamiliar with rising waters (or sinking lands) and also face an uncertain if less urgent predicament.

So thus we finished our trip to the 55th Art Biennale. And after a sleepless night of fruitful art-making myself, we caught a 4:25 AM vaporetto and cruised the Grand Canal in the starlight one last time, before returning to the real world, where busses, planes and trains carried us to cities that do not have major art exhibits around every corner.

But alas, memories were indeed captured, and I’ll be spending the coming days and weeks recounting them right here. So stay tuned for more!

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ALL IMAGES AND TEXT COPYRIGHT 2013 BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN FOR LABEAURATOIRE.
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About lance aram rothstein

Photographer • Artist • Journalist • Archivist • Vandal View all posts by lance aram rothstein

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