Ahhh, Venice, your humidity was overwhelming. Your vaporettos achingly slow. But your Pavilions, a joy. There are a LOT of pavilions, so I'm listing my Top 5 below:
Dutch Pavilion. Group Exhibition Opera Aperta / Loose Work
Lovely building. Amusing installation. Loved the sound bites near the front door. Gotta love the Dutch.
French Pavilion. Presenting: Christian Boltanski's Chance
The French pavilion is a labyrinth of metal scaffolding with a whirring film strip flying around the structure. A buzzer sounds off, the film strip stops, and an individual baby's portrait shows up on a screen. The pamphlet explained the rather optimistic tone of the work--that this one child, by total chance, has been chosen to have a certain type of life...a good life.
German Pavilion. Presenting: Christoph Schlingensief, Fluxus oratorio A Church of Fear vs. the Alien Within
The pavilion's main building has been turned into a church sanctuary. Large video screens and speakers hang above an altar. You sit in the church pews watching old home movies of a child playing on the beach. I sat in the sweaty darkness and listened to a voice describe how he received a diagnosis of lung cancer. His doctor told him that he was "walking on different ground", now. Heavy, heavy, heavy. The most emotional of them all.
Nordic Pavilion. Sweden Presents: Andreas Eriksson
I liked the pavilion's layout and airy quality more than anything. And I loved that the tiny bronze sculptures were casts of birds that had died crashing into the artist's studio window. I imagine the artist's studio to look a lot like the pavilion itself.
Great Britain Pavilion: Presenting Mike Nelson
This was by far my FAVORITE work. It was enveloping (as you can see by the video above). I was no longer in the British Pavilion--I was in a bombed out shelter of some sort...a forgotten apartment that perhaps housed fugitives or victims of war. It was sensory overload. Read the Telegraph's take on the installation/"intervention" here.
That about wraps it up for my Venice rundown. Until next time--a presto!