Venice Biennale 2013 Highlights

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The 55th International Art Exhibition attempts to capture the rich diversity of the art-world, with all it’s unexpected sights and sounds. Established in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the oldest and most important event on the international contemporary visual arts calendar. It is also the world’s largest non-commercial art exhibition, and this year it features shows from 88 countries across the entire city. More than 150 artists are taking part in the Biennale, and the event attracts more than 350,000 world-wide visitors – from artists, art-lovers and collectors.

This year the event was directed by Massimiliano Gioni, a highly acclaimed contemporary art curator. Artistic Director of Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan since 2003 and Associate Director of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York since 2007, Gioni brought together the even titled “Il Palazzo Enciclopedico” which takes place in Venice from June, 1st to November, 24th 2013.

Here is a selection by Yellowtrace.

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Ai Weiwei, Bang, 2010-2013, 886 antique stools. Installation view.

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Xoo-ang Choi, The Wing, 2008, Oil on Resin, 56x172x48 cm.

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Ai Weiwei presents a sculptural installation ‘Straight’, composed of 150 tons of steel bar recovered from the sites of the collapsed schools in Sichuan following the earth quake in 2008, which took the lives of more than five thousand school children. The Chinese artist has had all of the retrieved metal parts straightened as if new, and arranged in stacks. The installation creates an eery feeling of sadness in memory of those whose lives were lost – the action of adjusting the pieces serving as a metaphor of the artist trying to make things right.

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Belgium Pavilion featured the work of artist Berlinde de Bruyckere titled ’Cripplewood’. This large scale wax installation that accurately reproduces a vast fallen tree trunk, with a disturbing resemblance to the bones, muscles and tendons of the human form.

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Italian Pavilion was a series of site-specific installations by various artist. Above installation was by Elisabetta Benassi.

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Trafaria Praia (2013) is a project by Portuguese representative Joana Vasconcelos. Finding herself without an exhibition space, the artist transformed the exterior and the interior an old Portuguese ferry, fitted it out with her installation. This is such a fascinating and incredibly complex project. I urge you to have a look at thephotos of it’s making and the video. EPIC!!

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Collaboration between Swarovski and architect John Pawson resulted in an artwork which highlights the material qualities of company’s crystal. ‘Perspectives’ is the largest ever meniscus lens to be fabricated (40cm wide) and it sits on an even larger reflective surface, installed within the central cupola of the Basilica di San Giorgio Maggiore, offering viewers a new architectural perspectives of the 16th century church.

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Spanish pavilion featured work of a present-day archeologist, Lara Almarcegui. Curated by Octavio Zaya, Almarcegui’s installation was a towering mountain of construction materials – roofing tiles, cement rubble and bricks turned into gravel. Almarcegui’s practice is informed by her heightened awareness of the city, investigating urban transformation. She focuses on studying the often overlooked elements which make up a place.

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Brazil pavilion presents ‘Inside/Outside’ featuring the work of five artists. Odires Mlászho specifically created a series of book sculptures in an attempt to re-invent the possibilities of collage, particularly its developments in our digital world.

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Rudolf Stingel at the Palazzo Grassi, installation view.

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Sarah Sze, Triple Point (Gleaner), 2013

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Simryn Gill, Naught, 2010
Objects in the shape of zeros found on walks.
Photo by Jenni Carter.

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“The Garbage Patch State” by Italian artist Maria Cristina Finucci.

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Danaë by  Vadim Zakharov. Installation view.