A Walk Through The Art. Venice Biennale 2017


Adelita Husni-Bey, Venice Biennale, Venice Biennale 2017, Biennale di Venezia, Italian Pavilion, Biennale, Venezia, Padiglione Italia

Adelita Husni-Bey: The Reading (2017), video installation at the Italian Pavilion


This year’s Venice Biennale – the 57th edition, titled Viva Arte Viva and curated by Christine Macel – is open to the public through Sunday, November 26th, 2017, as usual in several locations in Venezia, but mainly at the Arsenale and at the Giardini.

Of the 86 National Participations in the Venice Biennale 2017, the most remarkable are the German Pavilion – winner of the Golden Lion this year – at the Giardini, and the Italian Pavilion at the Arsenale. At the German Pavilion, performance piece Faust by Anne Imhof takes places in an antiseptic scenario whose complexity is cracked open to allow the viewer complete vision. At the Italian Pavilion, three artists successfully welcome the visitor to 3 completely different (alternative) universes. Roberto Cuoghi: Imitation of Christ is an alchemic experimentation that envelopes the viewer in its miasmas, a result of the artist’s probing exercises into mortality, decay and transformation, with powerful aesthetic references. Adelita Husni-Bey’s The Reading is a video (and props) installation that resulted after a workshop, for which the artist created a new – magical/transformative – environment and a set of tarot cards to ease a group of young New Yorkers into creatively discussing important issues and conceptions of our contemporary world. Giorgio Andreotta Calò: Untitled (The end of the world) is a surprise for the viewer, visible only after a dark flight of stairs and a body-reorientation – a world beyond the mirror, a portal accessible only at certain magic places of transcendence.

Among the most distinguished exhibitions happening in town during this Venice Biennale 2017 (and that are not technically collateral events), the most honorable mention goes to Palazzo Fortuny, where the curatorial board that has turned the Palazzo into the perfect contemporary art venue presents yet another success. Intuition – a group show curated by Axel Vervoordt and Daniela Ferretti around a theme resonating with concepts of ephemerality and invisibility – unravels throughout the Palazzo’s 4 floors of unique architecture, masterfully interlacing Mariano Fortuny’s (1871-1949) eccentric historic collection with contemporary artwork.
Another remarkable show, even if controversially so, is Damien Hirst’s Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable at two different – and magnificent – venues, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana. The overwhelming quantity of sculptural objects presented, although spurring from a valid concept, isn’t able to meet the high expectations of a more “professional” public, also because – although with exceptions – the sculptures generally lack of artistic quality or care; thus, their immaterial value isn’t enough to justify the “artifacts” overproduction in this show.

All photographs © Matilde Soligno/Droste Effect magazine.








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by Matilde Soligno
in A Walk Through The Art

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